Root vegetables, why not try these cold winter staples


Root vegetables, eat them while they are in season. As the colder weather arrives, the leaves on the trees begin to change and fall away. Now that autumn is upon us, root veggies, pumpkins and gourds show up at the local farm stands and markets. They have interesting shapes and colors. Fall veggies can be delicious especially, roasted squash, beets, carrots and sweet potatoes or yams. But those same vegetables can often be intimidating.

Preparing Root veggies

If you have been avoiding cooking these root veggies because you are not sure how to cut them or prepare them, no worries. I have found the best way to roast these veggies is to just cut them into small pieces, season them separately and roast them on different trays. White potatoes seem to cook the fastest, where some of the other veggies take quite a bit longer, especially beets. Beets can take at least an hour if not more depending on how hard they are. To season the root veggies, I use a Tuscan herb oil that I get at a local winery that has all the herb seasonings in it, then just add salt and pepper.

Here are some tips for prepping fall and winter root veggies along with recipe ideas. These vegetables can be eaten in just about any way imaginable, and still taste good. The wide variety of flavors work well in a hearty vegetable soups, stews or casseroles. You can bake, steam and roast and puree them, and serve them as a side dish with your favorite meat. By eating sweet potatoes and yams, they have a much higher nutritional value than white potatoes.

Health Benefits:

You will be adding healthy complex carbs to your diet along with vitamins A and C.  Turnips, parsnips, and rutabagas are pretty bland in taste though they are high in fiber and vitamin C.  By adding the right seasonings, they can be a delightful addition to soups and veggie medleys. Its taken me quite a number of years to acquire a taste for these vegetables including beets. It is said that beets are a sugary root vegetable that is packed with vitamins, but it also serves as a natural cleanser for the liver and bloodstream. At times they can be as sweet as candy, though they are low in calories and they go well on salads or served as a side dish.


Ginger winter squash soup: 

This soup is from the website of ( My which includes parsnips, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash 



  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 6 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed peeled sweet potato (about 3/4 pound)
  • 3/4 cup (1-inch-thick) sliced parsnip
  • 5 (10 1/2-ounce) cans low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup skim milk

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and next 8 ingredients (onion through red pepper); sauté 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add squash, sweet potato, parsnip, and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes or until tender.

Place one-third of vegetable mixture in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Pour puréed vegetable mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining vegetable mixture. Return puréed mixture to pan; stir in milk. Cook over low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Makes 11 cups of soup.