Root vegetables: friend or foe? While some of them are a little intimidating, these strange-looking vegetables that emerge from the ground are actually packed full of flavour and nutrients.
Full of antioxidants and vitamins, root vegetables are said to help cleanse your system. The balance of slow-burning carbohydrates and fibre also helps to regulate your digestive system, while keeping you feeling full. On top of that, these superhero vegetables are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. With winter in full swing, and these beauties fresher than ever, it’s the perfect time to try your hand at cooking up a root vegetable storm. Here are five delicious recipes to get you started.
Sweet Potato Rosti served with zucchini ribbon, tomato sugo, poached egg and halloumi
For something a little sweeter, this recipe for sweet potato rosti from Fordhams Milkbar is sure to put a smile on your face. As an excellent source of vitamins, sweet potato can play an important role in digestion.
After cooking both types of potatoes in water until they’re just over halfway cooked through, grate both the sweet potato and potato into a mixing bowl with spring onion, thyme, corn flour, chickpea flour, olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a large frying pan, and drop four portions of the mixture into the oil to cook on both sides until golden brown.
Layer up the sweet potato rosti with tomato sugo, herb oil, zucchini ribbons, grilled halloumi and poached eggs. Sprinkle with some micro mint and baby sorrel and you’ve got a delicious, colourful breakfast.
Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes served with confit parsnips, truffled white onion puree, parsley oil, spring onion ash and chips
Jerusalem artichokes are fleshy, bumpy root vegetables from the sunflower plants family, which boasts a slightly nutty flavour. This recipe from Transformer combines the Jerusalem artichoke with another of its root vegetable friends, the parsnip.
Respectively known for their high amounts of potassium and folic acid, Jerusalem artichokes and parsnips are a match made in heaven, especially when prepared with white onion, parsley and spring onion. Roast the artichokes in a little oil, salt and pepper for 45 minutes, and then heat the parsnips in oil with peppercorns, fennel seeds and orange zest to let the spices and aromas infuse into the vegetable.
Following this, add the parsnips and a knob of butter to a pan over high heat, followed by the artichoke, spices, and salt and pepper. Let the grapeseed oil and onion come together over medium heat, and then blend, adding butter, salt and pepper and truffle oil to create a beautiful onion puree.
For the final elements, allow parsley and silverbeet leaves to infuse into the oil for the dressing, and roast some spring onions at the highest temperature until they are completely black. Zig zag the artichoke across the onion puree and lean the parsnips across the artichoke for a dish that’s more art than food.
Spiced Heirloom Carrot with wattle crumb and yogurt
Carrots would have to be one of the root vegetable family’s most popular members. These beauties are crisp, sweet and packed with nutrients to help you out.
To warm up this winter, try out the Spiced Heirloom Carrot recipe by Yellow Restaurant. Wondrously bright and bold, this dish uses three different coloured heirloom carrots that are oven-baked in a paste of coffee, cocoa, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and bay leaves.
In a separate pot combine carrot juice, shallots, garlic, bay leaf, ginger, cardamom, all spice, cloves, cumin and coriander seeds to create an exotically infused soup.
Blend macadamia and sunflower seeds together, add ground, whole wattle and barley flour and blend some more. Create a dough by adding flour, salt, chilled butter and egg white, before baking it in the oven to make fine crumbs to top the carrot bonanza. Pipe yogurt into pieces of dehydrated olive and roll to form gnocchi-like shapes.
To serve, pour the carrot soup into the bottom of the plate, with the spiced carrots next to the yogurt-stuffed olives, and decorate with herbs.
Firepit Pumpkin served with wattleseed chevre and spiced macadamia
Step right in and meet our good friend, the pumpkin. Although not technically a root vegetable, it’s in good company with the rest of the tubers, often appearing next to them in recipes and benefitting from many of the same cooking methods.
Street ADL in Adelaide has created a recipe that heroes the pumpkin in a way like no other. Simply place a whole pumpkin in the oven to cook until soft, before charring it on the BBQ to produce that beautiful smokey, caramelised flavour.
To complement the texture of the pumpkin, mix some macadamias through chilli powder and cayenne pepper for a hit of spice. The addition of chèvre rolled in wattleseed and olive oil, and some saltbush brings the dish together.
For a finishing touch, dehydrate some parsley before combining it with grapeseed oil to create a deep green dressing to dot around the plate. Deceptively simple, this spectacular dish is a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds, and will leave you wanting more.
A superfood among superfoods, beetroot is the dark horse of the root vegetable family, in addition to its deep purple colour it is full of antioxidants. Best roasted, steamed or shredded raw, beetroot has a beautifully earthy, sweet flavour to warm the cockles of your heart.
From Stray Neighbour, this recipe calls for both red and golden beetroot served with goat’s curd and sesame tuile. Cook the beetroots until tender, and then peel them by hand, or with a paring knife if needed. Create some magic by preparing beetroot four ways.
Firstly, boil some beetroots with vinegar, verjuice, caster sugar, mustard seeds, cinnamon, star anise and water to create pickled candy beetroot. Then, slice the baby red beetroots in quarters, and set their leaves aside to be pickled in the remaining pickling juice.
Slice golden beetroots into quarters and dip them in a marinade of hazelnut oil and sesame seeds. Finally, cut the remaining red beetroot into cubes, and place them into a small pot with smoke powder and Cointreau until the liquid has evaporated.
Serve with goat’s curd and sesame tuile, and ta da! A delicious, artfully presented dish that is good for you inside and out.
Words by Jesse Thomas