White Root Vegetables: Perfect, Even After Labor Day


Potatoes, cauliflower and onions are pretty much staples on most everyone’s fall and winter menus. But why not mix in turnips and parsnips to brighten meals during the months noted for less sunlight.

Whoever said that white after Labor Day was a no-no obviously wasn’t referring to winter whiteroot vegetables. Potatoes, cauliflower and onions come to mind. But how can we not include celeriac, turnips and parsnips in a list of delicious foods that are actually good for you?
While the potato, cauliflower and onion are pretty much staples on most everyone’s menu, the turnip, celeriac and parsnip are typically an afterthought or add in.
You can eat a parsnip raw or cooked for a great source of fiber. It has a slightly nutty, slight­ly sweet crunchy taste and needs to be peeled before eating.
Next up on the white vege­table parade is celeriac. Celeriac is sometimes called knob celery or celery root and can be eaten roasted, stewed, blanched or mashed.
Turnips, sometimes confused with rutabagas, are part of the mustard family and have a slightly earthy crunchy taste and are a great source of vitamin C.
Below are two white vege­table recipes to warm up the shovel brigade.
Winter Gratin
1 lb. parsnips (about 4 medium), peeled and sliced
1 medium celeriac, peeled and sliced
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 and 1⁄2 lbs. russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 tsps. salt
1 tsp. minced garlic
1⁄2 tsp. black pepper
1⁄4 tsp. nutmeg
1⁄2 cup vegetable broth
1 and 3⁄4 cups, plus 2 Tbsps. whipping cream or non-dairy substitute
Preheat oven to 400˚. Grease a large shallow baking dish.
Peel and slice the vegetables about 1⁄8-inches thick (soak them in cold water as soon as you peel them).
In a large bowl, combine the parsnips, celeriac and potatoes with the salt, garlic, pepper, nutmeg, broth and 1 and 3⁄4 cup cream, tossing to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly in the dish.
Grease a piece of parchment paper and place it over the top of the vegetables. Cover with aluminum foil. Place the dish on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven (this may drip). Bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil and parchment. Bake an additional 10 minutes.
Just before serving preheat the broiler. Drizzle the 2 tablespoons cream over the top and return to the oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes until the top is golden brown. 
Cauliflower Cheese Soup
3 Tbsps. butter
2 large onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
7-8 cups of cauliflower flowerets (2 medium heads)
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tsp. minced garlic
5-6 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 cup whipping cream
1 and 1⁄2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tsp. soy sauce
1⁄2 tsp. dry mustard
1⁄8 tsp. ground cayenne
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
5 green onions, sliced thin
In a large stock pan, saute the onions, celery, cauliflower, potatoes and garlic in the butter. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 6 minutes. Add 4 to 5 cups of broth (just cover the vegetables). Bring to a boil, let boil for 1 minute then reduce to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes then cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the cream, cheese, soy sauce, dry mustard, cayenne and pepper. Salt to taste. Using a blender (you will need to do this in batches) or an immersion blender (you can do this right in the pot), puree the soup. If you are using a blender, return the soup to the pot. Add more vegetable broth to create the desired thickness.
To serve, ladle into serving bowls and garnish with croutons and sliced green onions.
Serves 8.


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