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Root Vegetables Don't Have to Be Boring

Root Vegetables Don't Have to Be Boring


When the weather turns cooler and the juicy, sweet tomatoes, peaches, and berries are long gone from farmers' markets, replaced by mysterious-looking root vegetables, cooking seasonally can become a challenge for some people. After all, it's easy enough for anyone to work more fruits and vegetables into their diet during the summer, because that summer bounty requires little to no cooking, and that's also often the best way to show it all off (shoot, we're already pining for those divine heirloom tomato and burrata salads again). But, root vegetables are a different story.

Diane Morgan, award-winning author of 14 cookbooks, makes root vegetables accessible to the home cook in Roots, with a comprehensive guide to cooking with the familiar — parsnip, radish, and rutabaga — as well as the not so familiar — burdock root, malanga, and crosne, to name a few examples.

The recipes are diverse and cater to a variety of tastes, from the Asian-inspired Soba Noodles in Mushroom Broth with Taro and Kabocha Squash, to root vegetable twists on traditional dishes, as in the Rutabaga Hash with Crispy Onions and Bacon. If there's anything one might wish for, though, it's probably more photos of the recipes in the book. While there are more than 225 recipes, and the book is already hefty at 431 pages, readers might find themselves wishing for photos of some recipes they're likely to make, such as the Celery Root Gratin; Tom Kha Gai, a quintessential Thai galangal-based chicken soup; Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps; or Domenica Marchetti's Pot Roast with Honey-Roasted Rutabagas.

But this isn't a huge flaw, and it doesn’t take away from the book's comprehensive yet accessible approach — Morgan wants home cooks to know the key facts about each of the root vegetables featured in the book, organized into 28 chapters, including shopping tips, storage tips, cooking tips, history, and nutritional information. She also includes general advice on things to watch out for when using these vegetables — taro and malanga must be cooked, for example. So, if you've never cooked root vegetables before, but are curious and want to try, you'll be in good hands with this book.

Celery Root, Celery Heart, and Celery Leaf Salad
This brilliant and easy recipe makes use of celery parts that most cooks often ignore — much to their loss, of course.

Jewel Sweet Potato Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Fresh dough is the way to go with this elegant main course.

Soba Noodles in Mushroom Broth with Taro and Kabocha Squash
Tuck into this hearty, nourishing soup to ward off the cold — it may just become a new favorite alternative to chicken soup.

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.


The 30 healthiest vegetables that you can eat

It is certainly no secret that vegetables are nutritional powerhouses. Eating them brings about many health benefits, which is why experts recommend that a large part of your diet should consist of veggies. Vegetables are also an extremely affordable and versatile type of food that can be incorporated into hundreds of delicious recipes.

Luckily for you, there’s plenty of vegetables out there to enjoy, so you don’t have to get bored of eating the same old thing over and over again. Below is a list of the 30 healthiest vegetables that you can eat, arranged in alphabetical order.


11 Celeriac Recipes That Will Have You Going Back to Your Roots

Root vegetables don’t do sexy. In fact, you could say they’re the edible equivalent of an ugly sweater party. And if there is a scuzzy, drab, bizzarely patterned, ribbon-embellished member of the bunch, it would be celeriac (also known as celery root, turnip-rooted celery, or those knobby things in your CSA box that bear a passing resemblance to Jabba the Hutt).

What celeriac lacks in physical charm, it makes up in purposefulness. Big, hardy, and robust, it has many of the same workhorse qualities as potatoes, but with less starch and a nuttier, more savory flavor. This means that it will give you fries that are lighter and more ethereal, mashes that don’t devolve into a lifeless paste, and soups that glide across the tongue without being gluey.

As celeriac’s name suggests, it is part of the same botanical family as celery. The two come from different but related plants, however. The root sprouts edible leafy stalks, which resemble celery, but they are often trimmed close before reaching market, leaving bumps and pockmarks at the crown that often pack in residual dirt between their crevices.

It’s important to wash celeriac thoroughly before using it, to get rid of anything that might be hanging out in those nooks and crannies. You can feel free to slice off and discard most of that rough and bumpy top and focus on the smoother bottom portion. The outer layer tends to be tough and chewy and should be stripped off—it’s best to use a paring knife here and not a vegetable peeler, since the latter’s flimsy blade is no match for the hardy surface. Once you’ve removed the peel and have a nice, white bulb in your hands, make sure to break out your sturdiest kitchen knife: the stubborn root doesn’t give itself up easily, demanding a bit of upper body strength to chop it into pieces.

As rugged as celeriac is in its raw state, it can also be meltingly tender, sweet, and smooth when cooked through. The recipes below run all shades to and in between—check them out for a glimpse into the many possibilities that come from this humble vegetable.

1. Celery Root Latkes with Pastrami

Latkes get an extra dash of chutzpah when you swap out plain potatoes for the earthy tones of celeriac. Get our Celery Root Latkes with Pastrami recipe.

2. Celery Root Soup

This is about as close as you’ll get to creamy without having to reach for the milk: celeriac, potatoes, and tart apple are pureed together to give this soup its luxuriant feel and rich flavor. Get our Celery Root Soup recipe.

3. Winter Vegetable Soup with Watercress Pistou

If you prefer your soup on the chunky side, this brothy version features cubes of celeriac, parsnips, and turnips garnished with a peppery watercress pistou. Get our Winter Vegetable Soup with Watercress Pistou recipe.

4. Shaved Celery, Celery Root, and Radish Salad

It’s crunch time! Raw celery, celeriac, and radishes make for a salad worth chewing on while a champagne vinaigrette and wisps of parmesan add a bright and perky accent. Get our Shaved Celery, Celery Root, and Radish Salad recipe.

5. Garlic and Herb Celeriac Fries

Since celeriac has low levels of starch, it doesn’t crisp up quite as much as potatoes do when you bake or fry it. But it does get nice and tender on the inside, making it ideal for steak-cut style fries. Get the recipe here.

6. Celery Root Purée

When you’ve had your fill of potatoes, puréed celeriac can be a brilliant alternative. The mash goes equally well next to light poultry or seafood as it does heavy and saucy braises or stews. Get our Celery Root Purée recipe.

7. Celery Root and Mushroom Stuffing

So many stuffing recipes quickly dissolve into an unappealing, mushy paste. Not this one: here, chopped celeriac and mushrooms provide a chunky base while the pre-toasted cubes of bread are allowed to get crisp and crunchy in the oven. Get our Celery Root and Mushroom Stuffing recipe.

8. Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Root vegetables take the place of beef in this vegetarian version of the classic dish that’s just as hearty and savory as the original. Get our Easy Shepherd’s Pie recipe.

9. Bockwurst and Mushroom Noodle Bake

German-style sausages go with way more than just vinegary potatoes. This recipe mixes things up by pairing bockwurst with a egg noodle casserole studded by pieces of diced celeriac. Get our Bockwurst and Mushroom Noodle Bake recipe.

10. Golden Beet and Celeriac Remoulade

Celeriac is a relatively obscure vegetable in the states. Yet in France, it’s a superstar, popping up most notably in céleri rémoulade. The creamy slaw features shreds of the root in a mustard-spiked dressing. Get the recipe here.

11. Tartine with Celery Mousse, Caramelized Bacon and Rosemary

The brilliance of these open sandwiches lies in their simple sophistication: the celeriac is quickly blanched and puréed, then spread on slices of bread and topped with bits of bacon and rosemary, delivering maximum impact with minimal effort and technique. Get the recipe here.


30 Creative Recipes to Help You Eat More Vegetables

I’m hearing right and left that people WANT to eat more veggies right now. This is something I hear all the time – an ongoing problem for most of us – but it’s become especially important this spring when we’ve all been in quarantine and limiting our visits to the store. I’ve got clients messaging me to ask if tomatoes are safe and anti-inflammatory or if they should be avoided and if it’s ok to eat the same veggie over and over instead of mixing it up. I get a lot of questions about whether frozen or canned counts towards veggie intake (YES!) and how to incorporate them. All these great questions led me to reach out to my dietitian colleagues and ask them to contribute their best recipes with veggies that either last a long time (cruciferous or root veggies, often), or feature canned, jarred or frozen vegetables. Now I’ve got 30 Creative Recipes to Help You Eat More Vegetables that you can use now and long into the future.

I have tips embedded throughout the recipes below so you can choose whatever way you want to incorporate veggies this week: soups and stews, main dishes, salads and sides, veggie breakfast and snacks, and even veggie-based beverages! If you want some specific information about exactly which veggies to buy that will keep fresh the longest, I was in an interview with MSN.com this week sharing my tips here.

I really love all the great advice my colleagues have. Valeria Mallett, RD, LD, CSCES has some tips to share with me on how she works with her patients: “I recommend my patients with diabetes make half of their plate non-starchy vegetables. In reality, this recommendation is for everyone. Vegetables nourish our body and our gut microbiome. Eating a variety of plants is fundamental to disease management and prevention. Besides the health benefits, vegetables are delicious. I advise my patients to be mindful to include vegetables in each meal — whether they are raw or cooked. Even at breakfast? Yes. Adding a few handfuls of dark leafy greens to morning scrambled eggs will deliver a mountain of nutrients to support a variety of body functions, including your immune system, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Vegetables are rich in fiber, which promotes the feeling of fullness: better insulin sensitivity and improved blood cholesterol. Some studies have associated diets rich in vegetables to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as cancer prevention.” She adds in that during COVID-19, her favorite inexpensive, versatile, and nutritious option for veggies is cabbage because it’s a cruciferous, sulfur-rich vegetable that brings nutrition with a small price tag. Cabbage salad is her family’s favorite: shredded with salt, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. I’ve got several cabbage recipes below so make sure to check those out.

30 Creative Recipes to Help You Eat More Vegetables

Soups and Stews

Instant Pot White Bean and Spinach Soup by Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD, Owner Sound Bites Nutrition, LLC explains why she uses frozen veggies. “I love the versatility of frozen spinach. We use it as a side dish with a dash of garlic, olive oil and salt or add it to leftovers like pasta to increase serving size for a family of four. I also love using it in soup!”

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili by Megan Byrd at The Oregon Dietitian

Celery Root and Parsnip Soup by Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RDN at Hasala Nutrition. I’m loving this recipe and she’s got tips on root veggies: ‘I’ve been loading up on root veggies, which tend to have a longer shelf life. With a variety of roots on hand dinner never gets boring, and we rotate between delicious options such as sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes, sliced carrots sticks, roasted beets, and celery root and parsnip soup.’

Red Lentil Stew with Root Vegetables by Sharon Palmer, the Plant-powered Dietitian, explains how she’s cooking these days, “I’ve been using lentils a lot, which are quick cooking, along with root veggies when I run low on produce.”

Taco Soup by Kathy Levin RD, CDE, DipACLM at Nutritiously Simple gets creative with her recipes. “This soup is an easy way to get in a variety of vegetables in one pot. It’s so easy to make and is a fan favorite at any gathering. Drain and rinse the canned veggies. Look for “organic” or low sodium versions when buying your veggies canned. You can always enhance the taste with different herbs, spices, and seasonings.”

Main Dishes

Enchilada Casserole with Frozen Spinach and a Can of Bean Chili by Liz Weiss, MS, RDN at Liz’s Healthy Table (check out her podcast!) really utilizes those frozen and canned veggies. She tells me: I’ve been turning to frozen vegetables more than usual in an effort to stretch my produce supply to last a week or more. For a simple side dish, I combine frozen petite peas and corn kernels in a bowl, drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with kosher salt and heat in the microwave. For snacks, I use frozen berries, pineapple, and mango in fruit smoothies. And for dinner (and leftovers for lunch the next day), I recently created this recipe for Enchilada Casserole with Frozen Spinach and a Can of Bean Chili. It’s super easy and comes together quickly thanks to that frozen spinach. (I have a few bags in my freezer right now!)

Instant Pot Lentil Cauliflower Curry by Ginger at Champagne Nutrition is the easiest way to quickly make a large batch of healthy, veggie-based food that will last you the week. Bonus: get that Instant Pot out and USE it!

Vegan Shepherds Pie by Shahzadi Uzma Devje made this family-friendly and satisfying Vegan Shepherd’s Pie recipe with an Indian twist. It’s loaded with flavour-packed green lentils simmered in a tomato sauce infused with traditional South Asian spices, and topped with velvety mashed potatoes. She gives a heads up, it’s so Desi

licious that you’ll want more than one helping!

Cauliflower Fried Rice by Ginger at Champagne Nutrition features frozen or fresh cauliflower which lasts in the refrigerator for a very long time. Add protein of your choice but a simple baked tofu is my personal favorite.

Sheen Pan Miso Ginger Tempeh by Kelly Jones at Kelly Jones Nutrition has meal prep tips for you. This sheet pan meal comes together with frozen green beans, long-lasting sweet potatoes and tempeh, and a sauce made of shelf stable ingredients. It’s balanced, delicious and clean up is easy! Double the recipe so you have leftovers.

Farro Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage by Ginger at Champagne Nutrition uses squash which is a vegetable that keeps for a long time in a cool, dark place.

Salads and Sides

Beetroot Salad by Shahzadi Uzma Devje explains that this healthy Beetroot Salad Recipe, aka Poriyal, in South Indian cuisine, may look fancy – but it’s simple to pull off. Done in 35 minutes, and perfectly balanced with cumin, onion, fresh ginger and lemon. Garnished with crunchy sliced almonds to create a stunning presentation, that tastes as good as it looks – SO DELICIOUS and piquant! Why not shake up your lunch and dinner routine, by enjoying this as an alt to typical grains like bread, rice and pasta.

Vegan Spiced Baked Beans by Ginger at Champagne Nutrition Salads uses a very obvious pantry essential: canned tomato! Maximize your plant-based proteins in a delicious way, using lots of simple herbs and spices, too.

Easy Roasted Spiced Cauliflower by Chef Vahista Bharucha Ussery, MS, MBA, RDN has some great tips on how to use this veggie. ‘This is my favorite way to eat cauliflower! Crispy on the outside, just the right amount of spice, and tender on the inside, this side dish should be why the cauliflower craze exists! Cauliflower is a hearty veggie that keeps in the fridge for a long time, provides filling fiber, and has many beneficial phytonutrients. This recipe is super easy to mix up for a quick and healthy side.’

Roasted Frozen Broccoli 5 ways! by Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD of Its a Veg World After All

Brussels Sprouts with Grape Honey Glaze by Amy Gorin tells me that she made this easy veggie recipe with frozen Brussels sprouts. She suggests keeping a bag of the vegetable in her freezer at all times so she can easily whip this up!

Simple Roasted Root Veggies by Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RDN at Hasala Nutrition

Baked Crispy Artichoke Hearts with Greek Yogurt Aioli by Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD of Its a Veg World After All

Celeriac and Apple Salad with Vanilla Honey Dressing by Ginger at Champagne Nutrition features an unusual root veggie: celeriac and also includes apples which can be stored for a long time as well. Check out the celeriac soup in the earlier section for more ideas on how to use this hearty vegetable.

The Best Roasted Frozen Brussels Sprouts by Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD of Its a Veg World After All offers her tips for reducing trips to the store but keeping veggie intake high. ‘As the trips to the store become less frequent, we’ve been purchasing more frozen and canned veggies and experimenting with different seasonings and methods of cooking. For example, if you don’t love the texture of steamed frozen veggies, roasting them is also an option. When we do purchase fresh veggies, we use what we need right away and then pickle the rest.’

Healthy Pumpkin Pasta for Toddlers by Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN of Mama Knows Best has amazing tips for canned pumpkin. “It doesn’t have to be pumpkin spice season to make a pumpkin packed recipe! I love baking with canned pumpkin, but right now I’m especially obsessed with this protein packed, plant based pumpkin pasta recipe! I created it with my toddler in mind (since she will eat anything with noodles) and it’s a great way to sneak in a serving of veggies.’

How to Make Cancer Fighting, Heart Healthy Brussels Sprouts by dietitian Judy Barbe, author of Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest

Vegan Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw by Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN is a side-dish using veggies that store for a long time. She explains: ‘Cabbage can last about 4-5 weeks in the refrigerator and carrots can last about 3-5 weeks in the fridge. This Vegan Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw is delicious to make and easy to keep so you don’t have to run to the store for a week.’

Veggie Breakfast and Snacks

Sweet Potato Nachos by dietitian Judy Barbe, author of Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest, look SO GOOD. She tells how she’s maximizing veggies: ‘These are seriously simple Sweet Potato Nachos loaded with black beans, corn, and avocado. No chips required!’

Quick Pickled Radishes with Sherry Vinegar by Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD of Its a Veg World After All

Cauliflower Oatmeal by Colleen Christensen at Colleen Christensen Nutrition takes the cake for creativity! Her tip? ‘Adding rices cauliflower to oatmeal is a fool-proof way to eat more veggies! You can’t taste it, plus you can add in some fruit, nut butter, or even a scoop of protein or cocoa powder to add more flavor!’

Beverage Bonus

Ginger Turmeric Carrot Mimosas by Ginger at Champagne Nutrition keeps your brunch cocktail a little healthier. Add in anti-inflammatory fresh herbs mixed with real carrot juice for that gorgeous flavor and earthy taste.

Healthy Smoothies by Melissa Nieves, LND, RD, MPH Fad Free Nutrition Blog tells me: I find that smoothies are excellent vehicle for adding more high nutrient foods to our diet. This is especially helpful for those of us who aren’t getting enough foods like fruits and vegetables daily. Maybe because of food preparation constraints or simply because we just don’t like how they taste. For example, blending spinach into berries and some Greek yogurt can be a more favorable option for people who can’t bear to eat it in a traditional vegetable form. They’re still getting all the needed nutrients, but in a tastier package. How’s that for a win-win?

Gin Ginger Beet Cocktail with Thyme by Ginger at Champagne Nutrition uses fresh beets to create a vibrant color in this delicious cocktail. Now THAT’S using your veggies!

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up of 30 Creative Recipes to Help You Eat More Vegetables to support your health without having to pop out to the store more than once every week or two. There are so many options and you can feel free to utilize frozen, jarred, and canned varieties as well. Let me know if you have any favorites to add to this list.


Root Vegetables in a Slow Cooker

A Hot Thing in the last few years has been Roast Vegetables. Put all sorts of root vegetables – and sometimes sturdy green vegetables, too – in a pan and put it in the oven… The cooking concentrates the flavor, and you taste the natural sweetness of the vegetables. It’s also easy to make a large quantity at once, and then use them in other meals – either just reheat, or use them for soup. I wrote about it last year…

But sometimes you don’t want to put something in the oven for an hour… You don’t want to put it on in your overheated apartment (I’ve been there!) or it’s already full of something else, or – probably the most common – you just want something that will be ready to eat soon after you get home. So then – cook your root vegetables in a slow cooker!

The results won’t be exactly the same – this is a moist, not a dry heat – but they are similar enough that you can use them in the same ways. And sometimes it is nice to not have to fuss with stirring, and watching to be sure something doesn’t burn, and so on… And I do not recommend green vegetables such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts in here – they just cook to a bitter mush in a slow cooker…

The basic recipe here is for one and a half pounds of mixed root vegetables, with one large (or two medium) onions, mostly because that’s what I happened to have on hand… and I just used carrots and parsnips because (sing it with me) that’s what I had… But measurements are far from precise, you could easily double it in my five quart slow cooker, or triple it in a larger one, and it would be well worth it, because it reheats beautifully.

And use whatever firm root vegetables you have. For this method you do pretty much need the onion – but other than that – carrots and parsnips, obviously – but turnips, rutabaga, kohlrabi, daikon are all good. And this time I chose to avoid any sort of potato, but either regular or sweet potatoes are great in this. This variation makes it the sort of thing that tastes a bit different every time you make it – carrots and parsnips are sweet, rutabaga is peppery, daikon or black radish are sharp (I wouldn’t use more than, say, a quarter of them, myself…)

Peel the onion… and slice it fairly thin. Then strew half the onion on the bottom of the slow cooker… as it cooks, it will give up moisture, and that will help start the cooking.

Anyhow – scrub the roots and if necessary peel them. Obviously you’ll peel rutabaga… I usually don’t peel carrots, but they need serious scrubbing, and I will peel if they are too gnarly and hard to clean, or if the skin looks tough. And so on, depending on the vegetable. Cut the vegetables into small chunks. Put that in the slow cooker on top of the onion. Then add the rest of the onion over the roots. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over all.

I added several peeled cloves of garlic – just dropped them into the mixture. They cook to a delicate, soft and sweet flavor, and add a note to the rest. Use as much or as little as you like.

I did not add any liquid. You might want to add a splash of water if the onions are older and dry. That would also be another way to vary the flavor – a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar, or broth, or soy sauce… Don’t use more than two tablespoons, though – this is not a braise, and the vegetables themselves have enough moisture to cook.

I cooked these on high for five hours. Low for seven or eight would be fine as well… Longer would also work, though the vegetables would soften even more.

This amount gave us enough for several meals. We ate it plain that night. I mixed it with broth and some cooked chicken to make a delicious and very easy soup for lunch the next day. The rest is in the refrigerator… and will probably just be reheated.


Spiralized Potato Recipes

How to Spiralize Potatoes

We didn’t want to leave out regular white potatoes from our spiralizer recipe list, since they too can be made into their own delectable dishes. Like sweet potatoes, you don’t need to be so soft during the spiralizing process, but handle the spiral noodles with lots of care when you are cooking them.

The process for spiralizing regular potatoes is not much different from how you would handle sweet potatoes. Just follow the same tips from our prior post on spiralized sweet potato recipes.

Potato noodles recipes

Spiralized Chips

If you love Hasselback potatoes or potato chips, then you’ve gotta try this super easy recipe. The recipe itself is for basic salted chips, but feel free to add your own blend of seasonings to create flavored chips. (via Taste of Home)

Potato Bun Sandwich

If you think outside the pasta box, you really can substitute spiralized vegetable noodles for practically anything. This recipe uses potatoes to create bread for a yummy sandwich. (via Inspiralized)


Plant-based eating need not be boring. Read this curious omnivore’s guide to vegan cooking

One of the most viral food TikToks in recent memory turns just two ingredients — water and flour — into incredibly convincing-looking chicken. (If you can’t envision such a feat, search #seitanrecipe, a hashtag with 15 million views and counting.) Many of us, it seems, are intrigued by vegan cooking, even if we’re not committed to the 100 per cent plant life.

It’s undeniable that eating more vegetables is the virtuous thing to do, for both personal and planetary health. On Earth Day, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that meat and dairy, especially from cows, have a particularly egregious carbon footprint, with livestock responsible for around 14.5 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases annually, according to the UN. Only fossil fuels rank worse for the environment.

The main counter-argument (one I use myself) is that steak is delicious. But what if — hear me out — veggies could be just as appetizing? I called up three Toronto food experts to pick up techniques that’ll make consuming plants feel like less of a bland chore. Read on for ideas, whether you’re a curious omnivore, casual Meatless Monday dabbler or new vegan convert.

Don’t blame the veggies. Allow chef Matthew Ravenscroft, known for his vegan Mexican fare at Rosalinda, to serve up some (non-judgey) real talk: “When people say, ‘Vegetables don’t taste good,’ it just sounds like they’re not doing something right,” he explains. “It’s not the components. Something happened along the way.”

For starters, people tend to overcook and under-season, he notes. Broccoli need not be a bore, but if plain boiling is all you do, it will be. To embolden people to experiment more, Ravenscroft recently started his own plant-based recipe site, thedirtyraven.com bookmark it to spark your kitchen creativity.

Treat plants like meat. The same techniques — marinating, seasoning, grilling — can still apply. “You can roast a piece of celeriac in salt, like you would with fish,” says Ravenscroft. “You can grill a head of cabbage or a carrot like it’s meat, and it’s amazing.” He’ll treat an eggplant wholeheartedly like a steak, throwing it on a flame and covering it in a mushroom Bordelaise.

If you want to intensify the flavour of a vegetable, coat and rub it in a bit of salt, he suggests, then let it sit out for an hour to pull out excess moisture, rinse off and reseason. Ravenscroft is also fond of slow roasting, which you can do with an entire pineapple. “Just take the green off and pop it in the oven for an hour or two at 325 degrees. It’ll be the most pineapple-y pineapple you’ve ever had.”

Procure your pantry essentials. Sam Turnbull, the recipe blogger behind “It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken,” was once an avid meat eater turned reluctant vegan (from a family of chefs, butchers and hunters, no less). When she made the switch to be true to her animal-lover ethics, she wasn’t stoked to subsist on sprouts and kale — so she learned to veganize comfort foods instead.

“One of the biggest things for me was really building up my spice and condiments cabinet,” says Turnbull, who just released her second cookbook, “Fast Easy Cheap Vegan.” Among her staples: nutritional yeast, a “secret weapon” for cheesy nuttiness soy sauce for a dash of umami on broccoli, tofu or beans and white miso paste, a go-to in dishes like her no-dairy mac and cheese.

Chef Nick Liu of the popular New Asian restaurant DaiLo, which recently introduced a plant-based tasting menu on select days, also counts smoked paprika and cumin as essential enhancers. “When you’re working with just vegetables, the smokiness kind of makes your dish more three-dimensional and gives it layers of flavour, which is what your palate craves,” he explains. Try either spice with garlic and olive oil to give a lift to the most ordinary potatoes.

Consider the copycats. The idea of mock beef or pork made of peas may be polarizing, but for those who want straight substitutes for their favourite recipes, more off-the-shelf options are popping up. You could do as Liu does, for instance, and make your usual potstickers and just swap in PC Plant Based sweet Italian sausages — an ingredient that he says cooks up the same way. (Full disclosure: the self-described flexitarian is a spokesperson for the line.) “The bind quality is pretty incredible. I don’t know how they did it. I’ve actually been trying to figure out,” says Liu.

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For Turnbull, the more meat alternatives we have, the better. “It makes eating more plant-based really easy and familiar. It doesn’t have to be leaps and bounds different — you could go from a meat burger and fries to a vegan burger and fries,” she says. “It can literally be that simple.”

Play with contrasting flavours. Some vegetables are high in sugar, so they lean sweet. Once you understand the character of an ingredient, however, you can push against it with contrasting flavours, explains Ravenscroft. If you’re working with squash, say, blend some tangy, sour kimchi into a paste and brush it on. Take your root vegetables and braise them in a savoury mushroom stock. When he’s charring a head of broccoli on a grill, which brings out an unctuousness smokiness, he’ll want to add something bright, like lemony herb salsa. If you’re looking for the kitchen equivalent of training wheels in this area, “The Flavor Bible” is a great straightforward guide, Ravenscroft recommends.

Don’t fret about being a plants-only purist. If you’re ready to quit meat cold turkey, cool. If you simply want to eat a little less meat in a low-key way, also cool. After all, a small change multiplied by many of us still equals a big impact. “I became really interested in asking the question, ‘How can we get people to eat the damn veggies?’ Just a little bit, maybe like one more dish a week,” says Ravenscroft. The answer of course isn’t guilt it’s making the choice irresistibly delicious.


Vegetables to add at the last minute

Here at The Smart Slow Cooker our focus is getting family dinner on the table, with this in mind, some of the best vegetables for slow cookers are the ones that get added at the last minute to easy one-pot dinners. Remember, when you add vegetables to an already hot dish they require a shorter cooking or heating time versus when started in a cold slow cooker.

These vegetables help long-cooking dishes finish on a fresh note and give your meals texture. Fold these veggies into the slow cooker 5-10 minutes before dinner time. Cook on HIGH until everything is heated through.

Artichoke Hearts — Rinse, drain, and halve or quarter before adding to the slow cooker.

Bok Choy / Baby Bok Choy — Bok choy is quick cooking, healthy, and crunchy. Add bok choy or baby bok choy leaves to almost any Asian-inspired crock pot dish.

Corn — Use fresh or frozen corn kernels for a burst of sweet flavor and color.

Greens — Fold tender baby spinach or other greens into slow cooker soups, curries, or pasta sauces at the last minute to up the nutritional value. Some will require a few more minutes of cooking.

Green Peas — Add fresh or frozen green peas to slow cooker curry dishes.

Hominy — Add to Slow Cooker Pozole or other soups near the end of cooking.

Mushrooms (sautéed) — If mushrooms cook too long in the slow cooker, the texture becomes rubbery. The best method is to sauté sliced mushrooms ahead of time and add them at the end of cooking. If a dish needs to cook with mushrooms for flavor, then use dried and rehydrated porcini mushrooms.

Snow Peas & Sugar Snap Peas

Tomatoes — Fresh or canned diced tomatoes work to give your dishes a burst of flavor.


13 Fruits & Vegetables That Don’t Need Refrigeration

A walk through your local grocer's produce section can give you a good idea of how to hold your home grown goodies, with one exception.
First get past the produce they are trying to turn over. They do this by putting it on special, and placing it where you first walk in.
Once you have hurdled this gauntlet, take a look at what is not in cool holding:

1. Tomatoes, refrigerate only after they are sliced or if they are bruised.
2. Potatoes do not need to be kept cold.
3. Winter squashes have hard rinds that protect them for months.
4. Garlic. Did you ever see a garlic braid? Enough said.

Garlic and onions, happy together.

5. Onions should be cured outside for a few days, then stored. We do actually refrigerate ours, even though we know they don't need it. Since we pretty much use some every day, it's actually handier and less messy to keep them in the fridge.
6. Melons will continue to ripen if not refrigerated, but otherwise they don't need to be kept cold. Definitely refrigerate after slicing.
7. Apples give off a gas that can cause other fruits to ripen faster. Store them at room temperature, but not in close proximity to any other produce.
8. Avocados also do not need to be kept cold. We are so looking forward to trying this with our own homegrown!

Do we see avocados in our future?

9. Bananas are probably one fruit you are not growing, but then again, you just might be. Leave them out to ripen, the darker they get the better they are for you.
10. Hot peppers will dry beautifully when left out of refrigeration, and can be crushed to use as pepper flakes. For long term cold storage, just toss them in the freezer.
11. Sweet potatoes need to be carefully harvested and gently allowed to cure in fresh air. After that they are pretty darn strong and do not need cold holding.
12. Dry beans cure themselves in the garden. Simply shell, allow them to air out and then store in a jar. It doesn't get much easier than that.
13. Tree fruit such as peaches, pears, apricots, nectarines and plums can be refrigerated, but really don't need to be. In this case they will ripen more slowly if kept in the fridge.

The last store bought tomato for the summer.

A refrigerator is not only a cool environment, it is also a moist one. Carrots and celery love that, but it may cause other foods to go bad sooner.
Wherever you are holding food fresh, keep an eye on it. You wouldn't want all that hard work to go to waste.

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How to store roasted vegetables

  • If you are busy, roast a batch of vegetables for future days or as part of your meal prep.
  • Leave the roasted vegetables to cool down completely before storing them.
  • Put the veggies in an air-tight container and store in the fridge. They will be good for up to 5 days.

When you want to use the stored roasted vegetables, reheat them in a heated oven for about 10 minutes.

I hope that this simple fall roasted root vegetable recipe will help you appreciate root vegetables. For serving options, you can use hummus or serve alongside a green salad.

Thank you for your presence here. I am honored that you took your time. Many blessings. Please sharing this recipe.


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