Do you find yourself eating the same vegetables over and over again? It’s easy to fall into the “same old, same old” trap because after all, we like what we like, so we just stick with it. But eating the same thing day after day can get a little boring…….and isn’t eating supposed to be fun???
I love to eat but I’ve definitely had my fair share of food ruts. When I’m feeling less than enthused to cook dinner, I’ve found the best way to break the boredom is to try something new. And this just happens to be the perfect time of year to expand your palate!
Known as the “harvest season,” fall is filled with a bounty of tasty fruits and vegetables that go way beyond our beloved pumpkin. Many of these veggies get overlooked because we simply don’t know what they are or what to do with them. Well, I’m hoping to change all that.
I’m going to introduce you to some fall vegetables that may be a little out of your comfort zone but trust me, I think you’re going to love them as much as I do! So, move over peas and carrots, there’s some new kids (veggies) in town!
Parsnips are one of my favorite fall vegetables but I think they are often overlooked in favor of carrots or sweet potatoes. Parsnips have a sweet nutty flavor and a starchy texture so they can be used in any root vegetable dish. They are similar in shape to a carrot, but they are a light tan color. Unlike a carrot, you do need to peel parsnips prior to cooking. Steer clear of the big fat ones because they tend to have a woody core that can be tough. Parsnips can be used instead of potatoes in all your favorite mashed potato recipes. Or, thinly sliced and then baked, they make great chips or fries!
Have you ever seen this weird looking vegetable in the grocery store? With its alien like leafy offshoots, kohlrabi can be somewhat intimidating. This small bulbous vegetable can be either dark purple or light green in color and, although it is often considered a root vegetable, it’s actually in the cabbage family.
Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked. The light, sweet flavor is a cross between a jicama, celery and an apple. If you go for raw, you will want to peel the outer layer and then thinly slice it with a mandolin or cut into matchsticks for a salad or slaw. If you want to cook it, toss it with some olive oil and your favorite spices then roast it in a 400 degree oven. Kohlrabi has become popular in Indian cuisine and pairs well with bold curry spices.
Broccoli rabe is often confused with broccolini but they are two completely different vegetables. While broccolini is just baby broccoli, broccoli rabe is a bitter green related to the turnip. Eating bitter greens is great for your digestion. I think broccoli rabe is best when it is lightly sauteed and combined with other fall vegetables. My favorite combination is a saute with spaghetti squash, shallots, sun dried tomatoes, olives and broccoli rabe. Delicious!
Fennel is a flowering herb that is related to the carrot. Although it looks more like the end of a stalk of celery than a carrot, fennel packs a lot of flavor! Fennel has a bright, sweet anise flavor and is wonderful for your digestion. Fennel can be thinly sliced and eaten raw with dips or in a salad. You can also roast it along with other root vegetables for a great side dish. Fennel will add lots of flavor to any dish.
Hakurei turnips are a Japanese variety of white turnips. They are often called “salad turnips” and they are sweeter and more tender than other varieties of turnips. If you’ve tried turnips before and did not like them, give these a try. I think you will like them. Although you can eat these turnips raw, I think they taste best with a light saute. They pair nicely with a mild vegetable like asparagus or green beans. There are a few vendors at the farmers market that sell these and last week I spotted them at Whole Foods!
Celeriac, or celery root, is a great example of what one might consider an ugly vegetable! But what it lacks in looks, it definitely makes up in flavor!! Celeriac is a fantastic substitute for potatoes because unlike potatoes, celeriac contains very little starch. It is very popular in Europe where it is often eaten raw, but my preference for this veggie is roasted or sauteed. Be sure to peel the outer layer first! I love to saute it with cabbage or brussel sprouts.
Rutabagas (also known as yellow turnips) is another root vegetable that is often overlooked. Rutabagas have a sweet, nutty flavor and can be easily substituted for potatoes in stews. I love to roast them and then mash them with ghee and salt and pepper. Yum!
I have never thought of radishes as a fall vegetable but lately they seem to be popping up everywhere at the farmers market. In the past, radishes have not been one of my favorite veggies but for some reason I am loving them right now. My favorite ones are smaller, oblong in shape and the color is a combination of red and white. They have a milder taste and I find myself adding them to everything!
So, are you ready to take a walk on the wild side and try some of these unusual fall vegetables? Not only are they nutritious, but they taste great and they will definitely make your meals fun again!! Remember, variety is the spice of life!!
Are you feeling stuck in a rut? Don’t forget about my Grocery Shopping Experience that is on special for the month of November. I still have a few spots left, so give me a call!