As winter comes upon us and many fruits and vegetables go out of season, eating healthy meals with fresh, local food can be hard.
Luckily, there are still many seasonal root vegetables that can be used in delicious, affordable meals. Because root vegetables grow underground, they absorb vitamins and nutrients from the soil, making them a healthy option. Some examples include carrots, onions, garlic, celery and beets.
The brilliant thing about most root vegetables is that you don’t have to be an experienced chef to cook with them, as they are very robust and easy to use! They also taste great, which is a nice bonus. If you are inexperienced cooking with a lot of these, you could look for some training or cooking classes where you could gain some experience. As winter arrives, these classes will be sure to look at classic winter vegetables. CocuSocial is the best place to go to find cooking classes near me, if that’s what you’re after.
We have included our favorite recipes for cooking with root vegetables below. Stop by your local grocery store to pick and pick up a few veggies, or purchase a Growing Power Market Basket and receive a variety of homegrown produce. Each recipe is only 5 ingredients or less!
Squash-Mashed Potatoes with Cranberry Sauce
What you need:
1 Butternut squash
4 (or more) large potatoes
1.5 sticks of butter
1 cup of half-and-half (or milk)
Salt, pepper and garlic (if desired)
- Begin by peeling the potatoes and squash. An easy way to peel squash is to cut off the top and bottom, poke holes around the squash using a fork, and microwave for 3-4 minutes. This softens the skin and makes it much easier to peel the otherwise very-hard skin. Make sure to remove the seeds from the squash once it is peeled and cut open.
- Cut the potatoes and squash into 2-3 square inch sections.
- Place the squash and potatoes in a large pot and cover with slightly-salty water by 1 inch. Bring the water to boil, then let simmer at a lower heat for 20-30 minutes (until squash/potatoes are easily penetrable with a fork or knife)
- Drain the water and let the vegetables dry by stirring them on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- In a smaller pan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter (a stick and a half), a cup of half-and-half or milk, salt and pepper, and garlic (if desired).
- Pour the melted butter mix onto the squash and potatoes and mash the vegetables by using a beater or fork until creamy
- Combine a cup of water and a cup or sugar (or less) in a saucepan and bring to boil so sugar dissolves.
- Add the bag of cranberries (~3 cups) to the water and let cook at medium-heat until cranberries pop (~10 minutes)
- Let the sauce cool so it thickens. If desired, squeeze juice from the oranges into the sauce to add extra zest
- Place over mashed squash-potatoes and enjoy!
Roasted Root Vegetables (Beets, Turnips and Carrots)
Desired number of beets, carrots, and turnips (or other root vegetables)
Salt, pepper, and sugar (if desired)
Honey and Balsamic/Red Wine Vinegar (if desired)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Begin by peeling the beets, turnips, and carrots and cutting them into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the vegetable. Make sure they are cut into similarly sized pieces so they cook evenly.
- Place the vegetables in a bowl and add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic or red wine vinegar (if desired), salt, pepper, and sugar (to taste). Mix the vegetables and seasoning until they are evenly covered.
- Place a single-layer on a roasting pan and place in oven. Let cook for 45-60 minutes, or until vegetables appear browned and roasted. Stir/flip the vegetables occasionally while roasting
- After they are done cooking, glaze with a small amount of vinegar and honey for extra flavor (if desired).
What You Need:
1 whole pumpkin
1 onion (additional vegetables if desired)
¼ to 1/2 cup of olive/vegetable oil
5 cups of vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper (additional seasonings if desired)
- Preheat your oven to 450°F.
- Begin by cutting the pumpkin into 2-inch sections and removing seeds. Peel an onion and cut into thin slices or dice if preferred. Combine in a bowl and cover with a half-cup or olive or vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons of salt.
- Place the pumpkin and onion on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for ~3o minutes. Rotate and toss vegetables halfway through. Let cool and remove the skins from the pumpkin by peeling off.
- Transfer to a pot and heat over medium heat. Add 2 cups of vegetable-based broth.
- Puree the pumpkin with a whisk or blender.
- Slowly add another 3 cups of vegetable broth and simmer over medium heat.
- Continue to season with salt and pepper to taste and serve while hot.
An Easy Way to Prepare Green Beans
- Place green beans in a large pan with 1/4 cup of water.
- Cook on high heat until water boils, cover the pan and continue to cook for 3 minutes
- Uncover the pan and add 1 tablespoon (1/4 stick) of butter or olive/vegetable oil. Cook on medium heat until water evaporates and the beans are crisp-tender
- Add salt, pepper, and other desired seasonings and enjoy!
You can also easily add greens beans to the roasted root vegetable mix.