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Embrace the End of Winter with Root Vegetables, the Candy of the Underworld

“There’s a party in my tummy – so yummy, so yummy!” Anyone with kids or a child-like sense of humor might be familiar with the Yo Gabba Gabba skit that encourages kids to eat carrots.

In my house we sing this song and do a little dance whenever my 5 year old tries and finally enjoys a food that she didn’t previously like. Typically, I preach the idea that if she doesn’t like something it’s because she hasn’t tried it enough – something true for both kids and adults. Recently the same happened with parsnips, which she liked in the form of parsnip fries. Being a health coach and lover of all vegetables, I wish I could say this song-and-dance happens more often but for now it is a rare occasion that I relish.

With winter coming to an end, spring will bring us its delicate prizes of fava beans, spring onions, asparagus and more. Before these start arriving at your local market, I encourage you to send out the coldest season with a bang by enjoying winter root vegetables.

Carrots, beets, parsnips, onions, radishes, sweet potatoes and turnips are a few root vegetables you are probably familiar with. These veggies tend to get overlooked because they are dirty (literally covered in dirt) and don’t shine like the crisp, clean vegetables that grow above ground.  Despite their dirty reputation, root vegetables are like the candy of the underworld, especially when roasted. And because they grow underground they absorb more nutrients and minerals directly from the soil.

Here’s even more good news: Root vegetables are also incredibly easy to cook with.

Scrub them, peel them if you so wish, and cut them into chunks. One option is to then toss them with olive oil or vegetable oil, a little salt and pepper or other herbs, and roast them at 375-425 degrees F until they are tender (or approximately 30 minutes, depending on the size of the veggies). Another option is to simmer them in a covered pot with ½ cup to 1 cup broth until they are tender and starting to brown (approximately 20 minutes).  And yet another great way to eat root veggies is grilled. Brush them with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook them on a medium hot grill until tender – about 10 minutes each side.

Each month I host a healthy living meet-up at True Nature Foods. For March 2014 we’ll celebrate the end of root vegetable season with tastings prepared by their in house chef, Chef Dacia.

These meet-ups are a great way to learn more about improving your health through incorporating healthier foods and habits into your life. Please come join us at the party! Learn more and sign up here.

Jen Loboda writes weekly for Edgeville Buzz. You can discover more delicious and nutritious food ideas on her Nutritious in the City Facebook Page or at www.NutritiousInTheCity.com


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