Recipes to brighten up root vegetables

Parsnips are great to add to winter dishes. (Supplied)

Parsnips are great to add to winter dishes. (Supplied)

ELIZABETH BAIRD, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

Now that we’re into the thick of winter – storms, cold and snow, and the occasional warming spell — let us think of the vegetables that accompanied us from sunny summer into this grey season. They would be carrots, beets and parsnips, all root vegetables that store well, and are often the best value at the market. But rather than simply boiling and buttering these vegetables, here are a few ideas to brighten them for our mid-winter table.

Puree of Parsnips with Cumin

Cumin and parsnips are not an obvious pairing, but it is combination that will have you upping your appreciation of this ivory coloured vegetable.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large parsnips (1 lb./500 g)
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) hot
  • Tbsp. (60 ml) butter
  • 3/4 tsp. (4 ml) ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper

Directions:

Trim, peel and cut parsnips into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) cubes.

In pot of gently boiling water, cover and cook parsnips until fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well.

In food processor or with potato masher, puree parsnips until smooth.

Add milk, butter, cumin, salt and pepper; whirl or mash to combine.

Makes 4 servings.;

Carrots with Dill and Capers

Tangy capers balance the natural sweetness of carrots.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large carrots, about 1 lb. (500 g), peeled
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) butter, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) each salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) finely chopped capers

Directions:

Cut carrots into finger-size sticks.

Cook, covered, in boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.

In same pot, melt butter with salt and pepper.

Return carrots to the pot; toss with seasoned butter. Cover and heat through.

Toss with dill and capers.

Makes 4 servings.

 

Now that we’re into the thick of winter – storms, cold and snow, and the occasional warming spell — let us think of the vegetables that accompanied us from sunny summer into this grey season. They would be carrots, beets and parsnips, all root vegetables that store well, and are often the best value at the market. But rather than simply boiling and buttering these vegetables, here are a few ideas to brighten them for our mid-winter table.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Lemon Parsley Gremolata

The gremolata adds a nice dimension to this comforting dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 Tbsp. (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) crumbled dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper
  • Gremolata:

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) minced fresh parsley

Directions:

Cut carrots and parsnips into finger-size sticks. Peel onion, leaving stem ends intact; cut onion into 6 wedges. In a bowl, toss vegetables with oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Arrange in large shallow roasting pan. Roast in 400F. (200C.) oven for 20 minutes. Turn vegetables and roast until vegetables are tender and golden around edges, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Gremolata: Meanwhile, place garlic, lemon rind and parsley on cutting board. Chop together to combine flavours. Transfer roasted vegetables to a warm bowl; sprinkle gremolata overtop and toss to combine. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Balsamic Glazed Beets with Garlic and Green Onions

Ingredients:

    Precooked beets (see instructions following recipe)

  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) crushed dried thyme
  • 3 cups (750 ml) diced cooked beets
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 green onion, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) minced fresh parsley

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat; add the garlic, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook, stirring, until the garlic softens, about 4 minutes. Add the beets and vinegar; toss to coat the beets with the seasonings. Cover, increase heat to medium and heat through. Just before serving toss with the green onion and parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Ginger Orange Beets

There’s a natural affinity between beets and citrus - a sweet and tangy combo that dances on our taste buds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) butter
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) finely grated orange rind
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) orange juice
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) liquid honey
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) grated fresh gingerroot or 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) pepper
  • 3 cups (750 ml) cubed cooked beets
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) minced fresh coriander (cilantro), optional

Directions:

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; add orange rind, juice, honey, ginger, salt and pepper. Heat until bubbling; add beets. Toss well to coat beets with seasoning. Cover and heat through. Toss beets one more time. Scrape into a warmed serving bowl and sprinkle coriander, if using, overtop.

Makes 4 servings.

Beet Preparation: While beets are not a quick vegetable like green beans or broccoli, even carrots, there are ways to fit this colourful vegetable into weeknight suppers. When you have time, precook the beets so they’re ready to toss with your favourite salad dressing, or to season and serve hot:

— Scrub 4 good-sized beets, about 1 lb.(500 g); place in an ovenproof saucepan just large enough to hold them in 1 layer. Add 1 cup (250 ml) water. Or, enclose beets on a piece of heavy foil large enough to enclose them comfortably, adding a drizzle of canola oil. Setwrapped beets in a shallow metal pan. Bake at 375F. (190C.) until fork tender or skin slips off easily, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool; refrigerate for up to 4 days. Makes about 3 cups (750L) peeled diced beets, enough for 4 servings. — Or, cook scrubbed beets in a covered saucepan of boiling lightly salted water until skins slip off easily, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Makes about 4 cups (1 L) peeled and diced beets.


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