As the weather gets colder and fresh produce becomes harder to find, root vegetables are my go-to for an easy, healthy meal. Because they grow underground, they absorb lots of nutrients from the soil, and unlike most vegetables, their season lasts well into the fall and winter. In fact, many root vegetables actually taste sweeter after a few frosts, when they convert their starches into sugars.
Turnips and parsnips can be mashed, similar to potatoes — give it a try and see if your family can tell the difference. Potatoes, beets, turnips, and parsnips are all delicious chopped into bite-size pieces and roasted along with some sage or rosemary and a few whole garlic cloves. I usually make a large batch, and eat them throughout the week in burritos, with pasta, or cold on salads. They can also be thinly sliced and baked into “chips” to eat with our featured recipe — Beet Hummus. It’s just as delicious as plain hummus, but extra healthy (and pink!).
(Recipe by Gabrielle Chronister)
1 medium beet
1 19-oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
juice of ½ lemon
1 small clove of garlic, minced
¼ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. water or olive oil
Wash beet well, pierce with a fork, wrap in tin foil, and roast in a preheated 400° oven for one hour. Let cool, then remove the skin. Chop beet into small pieces.
Combine chopped beet and all other ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Scrape sides down and process another minute until creamy. Add more water or olive oil if you need more liquid to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste if need be.
Serve drizzled with olive oil and a light dusting of cumin, and enjoy!
Ava Castro is the preschool and M.V. Public Charter School educator for Island Grown Schools.