Carrots and beets might be regulars at your dinner table. But with slimmer pickings in the produce aisle during the winter months, it’s a good time to venture out and treat your taste buds to other root vegetables, such as sweet and nutty parsnips and rutabagas (a cross between a turnip and savoy cabbage). And don’t be put off by the gnarly looks of jicama (pronounced HICK-a-ma) and celery root. Those versatile veggies are as tasty eaten raw in salads as they are mashed like potatoes. And root vegetables are heavy on nutrients and light on the wallet.
This large, turnip-shaped root has a thin brown skin. Subtly sweet and nutty, raw jicama can punch up crudités; you can also steam and mash it. Just be sure to peel it before serving. Jicama is great with Mexican seasonings, like cilantro and chills. For a low-cal snack, top raw slices with lime juice, salt, and chili powder.
This Asian radish is known for its smooth, white skin and carrotlike shape. The white flesh has lots of crunch and peppery bite. Slice daikons into a salad or use as garnish. For an alternative to crostini, slices peeled daikon and tops it with diced avocado tossed in soy sauce and sesame oil.
The common radish is red, small, and round. Other varieties include the bicolored French breakfast radish and the long, white icicle radish. Serve them French-style: raw, with butter and coarse sea salt. (Sounds strange but tastes great!) cuts stunning watermelon radishes – pale green with a fuchsia interior – into wedges to serve with party dips.
The round, smooth orbs come in many colors (garnet, golden, and striped) and sizes (from tiny to grapefruit-sized). Try them roasted, steamed, or grated raw into salads. Their earthy sweetness pairs really well with goat cheese. Sautés the greens and they have a Swiss chard-like flavor.