Classic ways to cook root vegetables

Now’s the time to enjoy the many wonderful fruits and vegetables of Autumn! The produce sections are overflowing this time of year with root vegetables in a wide variety of colours, flavours and appearances. They add beautiful colour to your cooking as well as a lovely sweetness. And they’re nutritious to boot!

Root vegetables include beetroot, carrots, celeriac, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, rutabaga, onions, parsnips, radishes, turnips and, of course, potatoes. They’re super-easy to prepare and delightfully versatile in the kitchen. Serve them boiled, oven roasted, mashed or au gratin, in stir-fry, soups or casseroles, or raw or cooked in salads. You can even use them in juices and smoothies. Here are my simple and basic tips for preparing delicious root-veg dishes.

Soup

Soup is an autumn classic. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a hot bowl of delicious soup on a cold and rainy autumn day. Make a classic veggie soup with rutabaga, parsley root, celeriac, carrots, potatoes and leeks. Cut the vegetables into small cubes or pieces and boil in vegetable or chicken stock until tender. Season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs and you have an easy and nourishing soup for dinner! Another popular root vegetable is beetroot. They’re full of antioxidants and give dishes a fantastic red hue. For a tasty beetroot soup, bake them in the oven, bring some vegetable stock to a boil, give everything a blitz in the blender, season with salt and pepper and you’re done. See my recipe for beetroot soup here.

Root-veg mash


Instead of serving rice or the usual boiled potatoes for dinner, try a simple root vegetable mash – it tastes heavenly! Peel any root vegetables you like, such as rutabaga, turnips, celeriac, carrots and potatoes and cut them into large pieces. Boil until tender, then mash. Add a little unsalted butter, salt and pepper and serve for dinner with any kind of meat or fish. Mashed root vegetables also make great baby food, especially carrots and rutabaga, which have a slightly sweet taste.


Oven-roasted or pan-fried


Another easy way to prepare root vegetables for dinner is to roast them in the oven. Peel the root veg and cut them into large pieces or sticks. Sprinkle with some oil and season with fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Bake until they’re tender and golden. You can also pan-fry your root vegetables, but it’s a good idea to boil them in salted water first until just tender and then finish them up in a frying pan with some butter until golden.


Au gratin

Au gratin vegetables are popular with kids and adults. Why not experiment with other root vegetables besides potatoes? Try a version with Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, celeriac and carrots. Boil them in cream and milk in a large pot until just tender. Then pour everything into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with as much cheese as you like and bake until the cheese is golden!

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