I don’t know about you but I feel like we easily forget those dirty-looking root vegetables at the bottom drawer in the fridge (or never even invite them home from the farmers market/grocery store for that matter!). I’ve noticed among friends and family that the slightly off-putting appearances of root fruits lead to more “what the heck should I make with you” rather than spontaneous ‘ohhlala’s’. Well, no more!
It’s March and delicate shoots and blossoms are very far off but I’m here to redefine the earthy treats that are here in abundance right now. Be it Rutabaga, Salsify, Carrot or Chioggia Beets, the whole gang is just begging for a fresh start, a clean slate and for us to enjoy them fully. So go gather the most intimidating, scary and weird looking roots you can find, slice them really thinly and hold them up to the light. Notice the perfect patterns? The delicate stripes? The intricate details? Then take a bite. Crisp, fruity and rough at the same time.
Any kids in your life will adore getting to know those roots in a new and exciting way such as with this recipe. The question is if you’ll even have time to say “Who’s up for chi..” before you’re interrupted by a “meeeeee!”. Or why not a “hey, guys - let’s make chips!”. You’ll be named best parent/friend/auntie/bff in no time at all.
So I’m sorry to mess up your safe patterns here but I secretly (or not so secretly) hope this recipe + photographs will absolutely transform the way you look at (but mostly eat) root fruits. We’ll blame it on my gardeners heart that beats for anything and everything that’s pulled straight from the earth, still dusted with that fertile, rich organic soil. On the upside, you’ll now get to enjoy a sensational palette of gorgeous veggies bursting with good-for-you-ness and love.
Oh and these guys were begging me for an introduction + your number so get ready for plenty of hot dinner dates in the near future.
Beet roots are widely known for their detoxifying properties and a favourite ingredient in healthy fresh pressed vegetable juices. An ancient aphrodisiac food (oh those romans..) and a powerful blood cleanser. Beets seems to just about have it all. The three most common beet varieties are Red Beets, Yellow Beets and Chioggia Beets (the striped ones) and all three can be enjoyed in tons of different ways. I love to slice beets on a mandoline, marinate them in a juicy dressing and enjoy raw but slow baking whole beets in the oven makes for a truly mind blowing treat too. Tip! Eat the beet greens too!
Salsify (or oyster plant)
This cool and quite uncommon root is best harvested and eaten after a couple of frost nights (now!) as it’s taste is then a bit sweeter. When cutting up Salsify you’ll notice a milky fluid resembling the one you get on your hands when picking daisies - well these two are actually botanically related! I love steaming and puréeing salsify with a splash of plant based milk, good quality salt and some garlic. Note that most salsify needs to be peeled to remove a slight bitterness.
Rutabaga (or swede)
This gold fleshed root is gaining in popularity and rightly so! Rutabaga may me one of the least appetizing looking roots but the taste is amazing and the ways to eat rutabaga are almost endless. As a part of the cabbage family (cruciferous vegetables) the rutabaga has plenty of medicinal properties such as balancing and supporting our hormonal balance (important for everyone, not just women looking to get pregnant!) and a good amount of Vitamin A which supports good eye health.
This trusty bright orange root is a total lifesaver and a part of my everyday snacks/meals but still, the first time I held up a thin slice of carrot to the light I was blown away. Moments of magic in the everyday life. Carrots pack an impressive amount of beta carotene that converts to Vitamin A in our body. They are great for good digestive health (imperative for a well functioning body) and tastes plain awesome.
Jerusalem Artichoke (or sunchoke)
When everything else in our garden have been harvested we can still rely on those delicious Jerusalem Artichokes to fill our bellies in the form of hot soups, whole slow roasted, thinly sliced and pickled or as a part of hearty gratins. Unlike other root vegetables Jerusalem Artichokes does not have the starchy carbohydrates but are still really satisfying and creamy once cooked. Jerusalem Artichokes is said to relieve asthmatic condition and it is full iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Munch away!
Ps. Did you know root fruits are one of the easiest most low maintenance crops to grow?
Baked Root Chips
Let’s take weekend snacking to a whole new level and serve these chips straight out of the oven. A fun after-dinner project that require a little preparation but lots of reward. Use whatever organic root vegetables you can find and fill two baking sheets with thin and seasoned slices. Note that they should absolutely not be overlapping. Also, a word of advice: Do not leave the oven during the last minutes of cooking or you might burn the whole batch. Take it from me..
¼ cup virgin coconut oil, gently melted in water bath
1 tsp garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp good quality salt
a pinch cayenne
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar and let sit while preparing chips.
1 Salsify, peeled
1 Carrot, scrubbed
3 Beets, scrubbed (different colours are fun!)
1 Jerusalem Artichoke, scrubbed
¼ Rutabaga, scrubbed
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a mandolin, thinly slice (2mm slices) your roots of choice and add to a large bowl of cold water.
Let sit for 10 minutes. Note that this step is not mandatory but will make your chips really crisp.
Put a few vegetable slices on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry (yes, all of them).
Divide slices in two batches and add one batch at a time along with half of the marinade to a ziplock bag.
Close bag and shake until chips are coated then spread them out on the baking sheet without overlapping.
Repeat with the other batch.
Bake for 4 minutes then remove from to oven to flip them over (easily done with your hands).
Bake for 3-5 more minutes depending on oven and thickness of slices.
Watch the process closely these last minutes as the chips burn easily.
Enjoy straight out of the oven while they are hot and crisp!
About our guest blogger:
Elenore Bendel Zahn is the founder of foodie favorite website Earthsprout.com and creator of the Nordic Superfood Mix and celebrated Raw Food Iphone App “30 Raw Breakfasts”. Elenore, a health coach, organic gardener, writer and photographer makes living the Greenylicious lifestyle fun, fabulous and soulful. Weekly flavor explosions and tips comes hand in hand with that ecstatic in-love-with-life attitude that we all crave. Earthsprout is a haven for whole living inspiration that’s both sassy and kind for the earth.