Root Vegetables Don't Have to Be Boring

When cool weather sets in, it's time to dig deep and get back to our roots

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.

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