I believe in eating what’s in season in order to give my body the vitamins it needs during each part of the year and to keep grocery costs low. This works out nicely, since during the summer I crave light, crisp fruits and vegetables, and in the winter months I often crave a warm, hearty meal containing root vegetables.
Putting root vegetables into your favourite winter soup or chicken pot pie lets you take full advantage of an excellent source of beta-carotene. The body converts this antioxidant into vitamin A, which is important for vision and bone growth. It also helps to regulate the body’s immune system. All root vegetables contain healthful fiber and slow-digesting carbohydrates, which break down into sugar in your body to give you energy and the ability to function properly.
This winter I have tried to fill the fridge and pantry with as many root vegetables as I have room for because they are in season, taste delicious, and keep very well if I don’t eat them right away. Some root vegetables will keep for months if stored properly. These (usually) very inexpensive vegetables have tremendous health benefits because they grow underneath the ground, allowing them to absorb many nutrients and minerals available in the soil.
My cold winter bones are warmed with thoughts of all the delicious ways root vegetables can be prepared. They can be delicious roasted, grilled, or braised. They can be made into soups, gratins, hash browns, fries, or root vegetable chips. (I feel some more cooking projects coming on!)
To keep me stocked and eating clean this cold season, I joined a local farm share. I want to support local agriculture, eat healthy seasonal food, and challenge myself to try new recipes. In my first farm share I got sweet potatoes, white potatoes, acorn squash, red onion, carrots and garlic. As soon as I received my bounty I knew I was going to make a warm winter root veggie soup!
How do you incorporate root vegetables into your winter diet and what are your favorite ways to prepare them?
Here’s my recipe for winter root vegetable bisque.
2 cups diced acorn squash
3 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced sweet potatoes
2 cups diced white potato
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons curry powder (optional)
8-10 cups vegetable stock, depending on how thick you want the soup to be
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread root vegetables evenly into a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Place pan in the oven and roast for about 45 minutes minutes, flipping once.
Add the 4 cups of vegetable stock to the roasted vegetable medley. Continue to roast go an additional 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Once ready – take out of oven. Turn off the heat and let cool. Then, using an immersion blender, blend the soup to desired consistency. You can also blend the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Add the soup to a pot and heat when ready to serve. (Add additional vegetable stock to obtain desired texture)