Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Delicious Ways to Use Root Vegetables

If you or your children need to eat healthier but are not exactly fond of the taste of most vegetables, you should be happy to learn there are many flavorful ways of preparing them. Root vegetables in particular, including beets, carrots, celery root, potatoes, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, and turnips, are rather versatile and can be used for creating a number of delicious dishes.
Root vegetables are great for grilling, as they will become tender inside with a crunchy exterior especially when brushed with generous amounts of olive or vegetable oil. If the vegetables are on the small side, grill them as is while larger ones should be thickly sliced or cut in half first. Some root vegetables you may want to grill include beets, onions, and potatoes.
This type of vegetable is also good for baking, frying, and roasting. Instead of snacking on unhealthy junk food why not make your own root vegetable fries or homemade chips from beets and potatoes? Thinly slice the root vegetables and deep fry in a single layer in hot oil then sprinkle with salt or the seasonings of your choice.
Root vegetables can also be braised, mashed, and roasted.
Root vegetables are the ideal addition to soups as they not only add a lot of bulk and flavor but also an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals as well. Unless you are making a creamy, pureed soup, add bite sized pieces of root vegetables to the pot approximately 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time. This will help to keep them from getting too soft and mushy.
To use root vegetables as a base for a creamy soup, cook them until just tender then puree along with ingredients like buttermilk, cheese, cream, sour cream, and yogurt for delectable results. Some vegetables perfect for creamy soups include carrots, leeks, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Ginger Vegetable Soup Recipe
What You Need
  • 1 3/4 quarts low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 3/4 pounds parsnips, chopped
  • 2 inch piece fresh root ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
  • 1 cup smoked bacon, cooked, chopped
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 sprigs of fresh cilantro, stems removed, leaves chopped
How to Make It
In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
Meanwhile, in another large saucepan with a lid, add the olive oil followed by the sliced carrots and celery, the chopped onions, parsnips, and ginger and the sliced garlic. Mix the ingredients well with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat with the lid half on for about 10 minutes or until the carrots are soft and the onions are a light golden color.
Carefully add the boiling chicken broth to the saucepan with the vegetables, stir, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, put the lid on, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to the pot and heat over low for about 5 minutes.
Pour the mixture into 6 bowls then garnish each with the chopped smoked bacon, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste followed by the chopped cilantro leaves.
Serve the ginger vegetable soup while hot.

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