This fall, root veggies are all the rage — and for good reason. This season is bringing the most covetable flavors to you via your root garden. Here is a guide to our favorite fall root veggies: carrots, beets, and radishes.
From cooking tips, to recipes, to health facts, you’ll be ready for your fall root veggie harvest in no time.
Carrots: the crunchy, sweet, all-American staple
Flavor and Cooking Tips
It’s the traditional fall root veggie. Chop, grate, or slice them raw. Carrots are a perfect snack for your kids and a wonderful addition to salads of all kinds.
Otherwise, try them in soups, as a standalone side dish, or quiches. Cook them by boiling, steaming, roasting, or grilling them. Each way will bring out their natural sweetness — enhance them with a little honey and they’re almost dessert. In fact, carrots are actually an incredible asset to desserts of all kinds, especially cakes, muffins, and sweet bread.
- Bananas, step over. Carrots are really high in potassium, which can relax the tension in your blood vessels and arteries. In other words, they’ll lower blood pressure and protect your heart health.
- There are research studies that show eating carrots reduces the risk of colon cancer by 24% and lung cancer by 40%. Not to mention, women who ate carrots were 5-8 times less likely to develop breast cancer. This is thanks to a little thing called beta-carotene, which is found in droves in carrots.
- We’ve all heard it. Carrots are really good for our eyes, and that’s not an exaggeration. These veggies have tons of vitamin A, which helps improve our eyesight and reduce night blindness.
Root Recipe #1
Flavor, aesthetic, and ease: the trifecta of a wonderful recipe. I adore this purée with its beautiful color and smooth texture (add chopped carrots for a bit of crunch). This carrot soup is equally divine served warm or chilled. Add a little excitement by accessorizing with peanuts, basil sour cream, or chili sauce.
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp chopped ginger
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 lbs of peeled and chopped carrots
- 3 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Peanuts, optional
- Sriracha sauce, optional
- Heat olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for five minutes.
- Add chopped carrots, stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until carrots are tender — about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
- Purée soup in a blender. Then, return the purée to the soup pot and mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Garnish with freshly harvested chives, peanuts, carrots, and Sriracha sauce (if desired).
BEETS: the shamelessly sugar-sweet root
Flavor and Cooking Tips
Beets taste like dirt…but in the best way. Their sweet, mellow, and earthy flavor pairs well with sharp flavors (think goat cheese). Eat them raw in a salad or roast them — this will bring out a tender, juicier, and sweeter side. Additionally, beets taste delish when pickled and are often the secret ingredients to your favorite desserts.
- Heart health. Thanks to fiber and a special nutrient called betaine, consuming beets reduces your cholesterol and triglycerides—both heart problem contributors.
- Love your beets, love your lungs. The abundant vitamin C in beets prevents asthma symptoms, and their beta-carotene helps prevent lung cancer.
- Your eyes even want ’em. Beta-carotene also helps counteract cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common problems to develop with age.
Root Recipe #2
Beets are the sweetest fall root veggie around, and oven roasting them exaggerates this quality by caramelizing their sugars. This recipe beautifully cuts through their sweetness with spicy garlic and tastefully bitter tarragon. Pour these veggies over a bed of grains, and consider pairing them with oilier fish like salmon or swordfish for wonderful family dinner.
- 2 heads garlic
- 6 medium beets, scrubbed & trimmed
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Separate garlic cloves from head and peel.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place garlic and beets on a sheet of aluminum foil that has been lightly spritzed with cooking spray. Roast in the oven until tender, about 1- 1 1/2 hours depending on beet size.
- Let beets cool enough to handle, then cut into wedges. Set garlic and beets aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook tarragon with salt & pepper, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
- Add beets & garlic to the skillet. Toss gently to coat the veggies and heat through, about 2 minutes.
RADISHES: the earthy, crispy super-sprouters
Flavor & Cooking Tips
Radishes are known for their crisp texture and peppery flavor. They’re an ideal complement to salads or sandwiches (especially with cream cheese) and often act as a wonderful garnish. However, don’t be afraid to sautee, roast, or braise them! Cooking radishes mitigate their natural harshness.
- Calorie counting? Ditch the rice cakes—radishes are your new go-to. They’re super filling and satiating, but very low in calorie and digestible carbohydrates, making them great diet grub.
- They’re filled to the brim with antioxidants, vitamin C, folic acid, and anthocyanins. Because of this, radishes have been connected to treating many types of cancer, including colon, kidney, intestinal, stomach, and oral cancers.
- They’re your new detox. Radishes help purify your blood by eliminating toxins and waste. This makes them (particularly the leaves) especially useful in treating jaundice and other stomach issues.
Root Recipe #3
When I’m hosting a party, I don’t always serve a meal. Regardless, I love to have food around my guests can nibble on. What better snack than an elegant tea sandwich? Your freshly-harvested radishes will be the star of the party with these Open Face Radish Tea Sandwiches. They’re both crunchy and creamy, tangy and peppery. Your guests will love them—kids included!
- 4 slices whole-grain pumpernickel bread
- 3 red radishes, ends trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
- ⅛ c of diced cucumber
- 2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- Parsley, for garnish
- Spoon 1-2 Tbsp of cream cheese in the center of each slice, leaving a small border around the edges.
- Layer radish slices on top of cream cheese, overlapping slightly.
- Top with a small scoop of diced cucumber.
- Garnish with parsley leaves, if desired.
For more advice on what to grow this fall, see here.