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.

First published in the November 2012 issue

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