Katie’s Healthy Bites: 3 Under-Appreciated Veggies

by in Uncategorized, April 3, 2011
Root Veggies
Root Vegetables

Bored with your veggie routine? Reach outside those familiar veggie bins at the grocery to create simple, delicious meals with these under-appreciated (but very delicious) veggies.

Parsnips
A great substitute for the well-known carrot, parsnips are at the height of their season in fall and winter so there’s still time to enjoy this hearty root vegetable. Once considered a luxury in ancient Roman times, they’re definitely worthy of more table time!  They are nutritious (full of fiber and potassium) with a nutty, sweet flavor and easy to incorporate into your diet. Look for parsnips that are small or medium in size, about 5-10 inches long, with even coloring and a firm flesh. Store raw parsnips up to 2 weeks — wrap them in a paper towel and tuck inside a plastic bag.  To enjoy parsnips year-round, steam them in 1/2 inch slices and seal in a freezer-safe container for up to 8 months.

Turnips
Turnips are a great way to add some zest to a dish while also adding fiber and vitamin C. Typically considered a close relative to the potato, they are actually more closely related to the mustard family, which is where they get that mild spiciness. You want to choose turnips with a cream (or white) colored bulb and a purple ring around the top that are fairly heavy for their size. Fall and spring are prime time for the turnip, so opt for ones with their greens still attached to reap the 2 for 1 benefit (this will also ensure they are fresh.) Store turnips in a plastic bag in your veggie drawer for up to two weeks.  Or, blanch and freeze for up to 9 months.

Rutabaga
Rutabaga are considered to be a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, with a mildly sweet flavor. Rutabagas are cold weather veggies, but you can find them year-round because they can be stored for long periods. When buying rutabaga,  look for yellow or cream-colored bulbs with a purplish rings around the stem. It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between rutabagas and turnips; a good rule to follow is that rutabagas are larger and more yellow. Storing rutabagas as you would a turnip, though they’ll last a little longer — up to a month — in the refrigerator.

Try a few of these simple recipes and you’ll see how easy and tasty it can be to cook with these unique veggies:

TELL US: What under-appreciated veggie do you fill your plate with?

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie’s full bio »

This post was co-authored by Gillian Pianka.

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Comments (6)

  1. feastonthecheap says:

    Radishes…spicy, crisp and crunchy, yet totally under-appreciated.

  2. Julie says:

    Celeriac. It behaves a lot like a potato, but has a fresh, almost mintlike hint of flavor to it.

  3. Ashley Moore says:

    Malanga and Yuca are my favorites. They are starchy like potatoes but have a creamy and delicate texture perfect for a hearty Cuban vegetable soup or added to this Cuban chili recipe at http://saborlatinorecipes.com/recipes/cuban-chili

  4. Maryam says:

    Very cool article! Thanks Katie!

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