Root Veggie Recipes

Rutabaga, parsnips, taro—their names are familiar, but how do you prepare them? Renowned cooking teacher Joanne Weir demystifies the lesser-known, plucked-from-the-soil veggies

by Joanne Weir
root-vegetable tagine image
Photograph: Christopher Testani


  • Root-Vegetable Tagine
  • Taro Chips With Hummus
  • Rutabaga And Parsnip Soup
  • Parsnip And Kale Salad
  • Jicama-Cucumber Salad with Hot Pepper and Lime
  • Open-Faced Cheddar Sandwich with Pickled Turnips and Daikon
  • Curried Vegetables


Root-Vegetable Tagine

Prep time: 26 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 5 slices fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon harissa*
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large turnip, about 1 pound, peeled and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 6 small yellow beets, about 1 pound, peeled and halved
  • Couscous
  • ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Cilantro sprigs

1. Place the butter, ginger, cumin, cinnamon stick, turmeric, saffron, tomato paste, harissa, broth, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a soup pot or ta--gine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Then add the carrots, parsnips, turnip and beets to the broth, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste.

2. Mound the couscous on a platter, and make a well in the center. Add the vegetables, and garnish with the pumpkin seeds and cilantro sprigs.

*If you can’t find this North African spice mix locally, you can order it from

Taro Chips With Hummus

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 18 minutes

Serves 6

  • 2 large taro roots, about 1 pound
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (15½ ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ tablespoons tahini
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Peel the taro, and cut into paper-thin slices with a mandoline or large chef’s knife. Using 4 tablespoons of the oil, brush both sides of the slices. Place on foil or parchment-lined baking sheets in a single layer. Lightly sprinkle with salt. Bake, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp on each side, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool completely.

2. In a food processor, puree the chickpeas, 3 tablespoons water, the tahini, lemon juice and garlic until smooth. If necessary, add more water to get the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with salt and additional lemon juice if needed.

3. To serve, arrange taro chips on a platter. Place hummus on a plate, and make an indentation in the center. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of paprika.

Rutabaga And Parsnip Soup

Prep time: 28 minutes, plus 30 minutes for cooling

Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1¼ pounds rutabaga
  • 1¼ pounds parsnips
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely ground in a spice grinder
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Peel the rutabaga and parsnips, and cut into 2-inch pieces. Place in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and toss to coat. Bake, stirring once, until golden and easily pierced, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and coriander; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the rutabaga, parsnips, broth and 4 cups water, and simmer 20 minutes, until tender. Let cool for 20 minutes. In batches, puree in a blender on high speed, 3 min-utes per batch, until very smooth. Or use a stick blender right in the pot. Add the lemon juice, and stir. If the soup is too thick, add water until the consistency is similar to that of thick heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place the ground coriander seeds and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Warm for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with coriander oil, and garnish with cilantro.

Parsnip And Kale Salad

Prep time: 26 minutes

Cooking time: 16 minutes

Serves 6

  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and cut into thin ribbons
  • 3 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 parsnips, about ¾ pound, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup roasted pistachios

1. Place the onion, vinegar and a large pinch of salt in a small bowl. Place thekale in a large bowl. Set both aside.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the prosciutto, and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside on paper towels. Heat the oil in the same large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the parsnips, and stir to coat with oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, covered, until parsnips begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove lid; stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown at the edges, 5 to 8 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, and add to the kale. Strain the onion, and add to the kale. Toss with balsamic. Top with the prosciutto and pistachios, and serve.

Jicama-Cucumber Salad with Hot Pepper and Lime

Prep time: 18 minutes

Chilling time: 1 hour

Serves 4 to 6

  • ½ teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 jicama, about 1 pound, peeled, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • Pinch of chipotle powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish

In a medium bowl, combine the lime zest, lime juice and salt. Add the jicama, cucumber, onion, chipotle powder and cilantro. Toss to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving. Serve on a platter, and garnish with cilantro.

Open-Faced Cheddar Sandwich with Pickled Turnips and Daikon
Prep time: 25 minutes, plus 24 hours for chilling

Cooking time: 8 minutes

Serves 6

You will probably be left with extra pickled daikon and turnip. If so, serve with your favorite sandwich or on a burger.

  • ½ pound small white turnips
  • ½ pound daikon
  • 1 medium red beet
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 small pinch crushed red pepper
  • 6 slices coarse, textured rye bread
  • 6 thick slices sharp Cheddar cheese, about 1½ ounces per slice
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens or frisée

1. Peel the turnips, daikon and beet, and cut into 1/8-inch slices. Pack the turnips, daikon, beet and garlic into jars or a large bowl, alternating beets between the layers of turnip, daikon and garlic.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring ¾ cup water, the vinegar, sugar, salt and crushed red pepper to a boil. Stir to dissolve the salt. Pour over the vegetables, making sure they are completely covered with liquid. If they’re not, add extra vinegar. Close the jar (or cover the bowl), and place in the refrigerator overnight.

3. The next day, remove the vegetables from the pickling solution, and pat dry. Cut into ½-inch strips.

4. Ten minutes before serving, preheat a broiler. Place the bread on a baking sheet, and toast until golden on each side. Top with the Cheddar cheese, and place under the broiler again, until the cheese is melted, 30 to 60 seconds. Toss the pickled vegetables with the salad greens, and place a small handful of salad on top of each open-faced sandwich. Serve immediately.

Curried Root Vegetables

Prep time: 26 minutes

Cooking time: 28 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Serve with steamed basmati rice.

  • ½ pound taro
  • ½ pound carrots
  • ½ pound parsnips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped, fresh or canned
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, halved lengthwise
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • Cilantro sprigs

1. Peel taro, and cut into large chunks. Simmer in boiling salted water until almost tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, cool, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Peel the carrots and parsnips; cut into 1-inch cubes.

2. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over low heat. Add the ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add the taro, coriander, cumin, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, red chili powder, paprika, pepper, turmeric, tomatoes, jalapeño, coconut milk and 1 cup water. Cover, and simmer until the taro is tender, about 4 minutes. Add the parsnips and carrots; simmer until cooked, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove cover, and continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Place in a bowl, and garnish with the cilantro sprigs.

Joanne Weir ( is the author of Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence (out this month).

Next: Small Plate Dinner Recipes from Joanne Weir

Want MORE? Sign up for our weekly newsletter here

First Published Fri, 2012-09-28 10:29

Find this story at: