A Case for Root Vegetables
“I'm just a girl, standing in front of a salad, asking it to be a doughnut." Anon.
When people tell me they're going to start eating healthy, they often start by saying how they ate a salad for lunch. Don't get me wrong, I love a good salad, but there are SO many other ways to eat healthfully.
For example, root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and turnips, are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods do, they help regulate them.
Why Eat More Root Veggies?
Long roots – carrots, parsnips, burdock, and daikon radish – are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body. Round roots – turnips, radishes, beets, and rutabagas – nourish the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and reproductive organs.
Which root vegetables do YOU eat most?
If you’re like most of the world, it’s carrots and potatoes. Here are a few others to explore:
- Beets contain an abundance of antioxidants and are highly detoxifying.
- Burdock is considered a powerful blood purifier. This long, thin veggie is a staple in Asian and health food stores.
- Celeriac, also known as celery root, is rich in fiber and with a respectable amount of antioxidants.
- Jicama is crunchy and refreshing and contains a generous amount of vitamin C. It’s a favorite in its native Mexico and South America.
- Onions are rich in antioxidants and other phytonutrients, making them prized for their ability to strengthen the immune system.
- Parsnips boast a sweet and earthy taste, plenty of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium.
- Radish is an excellent source of vitamin C. It’s also rich in calcium, molybdenum, and folic acid.
- Sweet Potatoes contain unsurpassed levels of beta-carotene and are also rich in vitamin C, phytonutrients, and fiber.
Excited to add more roots to your diet? Here’s a fun, easy recipe:
Roasted Root Vegetables
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-35 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 beets, any color
- 2 parsnips
- 2 carrots
- 2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga
- 1 daikon radish (or substitute/add in other favorites, like squash)
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- herbs: rosemary, thyme or sage (fresh if possible)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash and dice all vegetables into bite-sized cubes.
- Place in a large baking dish with sides.
- Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
- Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden brown, checking every 10 minutes to stir and make sure veggies are not sticking.
Pro Tip: Any combination of vegetables will work. Don't like beets, bag 'em and try something else.
Pro Tip 2: If you're doing one full tray of veggies, take an extra 5 minutes and make
Pro Tip 3: Use your meal prepped veggies with eggs, on a salad, as a side dish, or as your main.