Rustic Roots: Fall Veggies Take Center Stage

The air is cooler, the leaves are turning yellow, and our stomachs are starting to cry out for heartier fare to fuel us through these chilly autumn days. As summer gives way to fall, some of the tastiest and freshest inspirations for your seasonal menus can be easily found at nearby farm stands and farmers' markets. Root vegetables, those deeply-hued, nourishing treats that are unearthed this time of year, offer an array of delicious options for both amateur and professional chefs.

Culinary Arts

Crispy Carrots

Probably one of the most overused and under appreciated of the root veggies, carrots can be so much more than filler on a vegetable platter. As their bright orange color suggests, carrots pack a nutritious punch of vitamins A, C, and K, in addition to their appealing crunch and sweet flavor. While most commercial carrot varieties are similar in appearance, this root comes in varieties ranging from white to deep burgundy. If you're lucky enough to find a source for heirloom carrots, try glazing them for an attractive, multicolored side dish. Carrots can also be the base for any number of soups, salads, and slaws.

Bring on the Beets!

This distinctive member of the root family is bold in both color and flavor. While the deep purple flesh of the beet is off-putting to some chefs, with the right techniques you can prepare beets without permanently staining your kitchen (and yourself).

  • Wash beets gently, without breaking the skin. Prepare them with the skin intact to retain flavor and valuable nutrients and avoid a messy peeling process.
  • Try baking or roasting whole, small beets. This method of preparation enhances their flavor and requires minimal handling.
  • Rub lemon juice and salt on your hands before washing with soap and water to remove beet stains.

Roast beets are delicious by themselves, but can be combined with goat cheese and arugula for a memorable salad. Borsht, an Eastern European beet-based soup could be the perfect first course for your next dinner party or the base for a simple meal with friends.

Try Some Turnips

What these pale roots lack in color, they make up for in flavor! The entire turnip plant, from root to greens, offers plenty of options for an adventurous cook. Mashed turnips alone, or blended with potatoes, is comfort food at its best. If you'd like to try something more gourmet, turnips lend themselves well to gratins, especially when combined with other roots such as pearl onions or sweet potatoes. Baby turnips, greens and all, can be braised for a beautiful accompaniment to almost any main dish.

Rustic Roots: Using Root Vegetables to their Full Potential

Once you've gotten the hang of preparing soups, salads, slaws, and sides using common root vegetables, experiment with other roots such as parsnip, rutabaga, or celeriac. Or try an easy and popular dish that shows off the best of this season's vegetables:

  • Wash any combination of root vegetables and cut into 1" cubes.
  • Toss veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake at 425 degrees until tender, about 40 minutes.

Roasted root vegetables are both filling and flavorful--sure to please every palate. Better still, this colorful dish offers a perfect opportunity to compare the subtle differences in flavor and texture of each root. Bon appetit!

About the Author:

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            L'Ecole Culinaire , Kansas City
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
            Show more [+]
            5 Program(s) Found

            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students. The institution offers career-focused curricula with increasing rigor from the certificate through diploma, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree levels. Throughout those curricula, the university seeks to promote the development of critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, computer literacy, and teamwork as well as an appreciation for life-long learning, cultural diversity and the expression of professionalism in all activities. At the graduate level, the university also seeks to promote a culture of research.