Root Vegetables 101

With fall creeping in, root vegetables are starting to fill the produce section of your favorite grocery stores. I typically walk past these lesser known faces in search of more familiar and guaranteed-to-be-tasty veggies. After savoring roasted rutabagas at a restaurant last fall, I was tempted to try them at home. Everything changed one day in the produce section when I reluctantly ran my fingers across the super tough exterior… I backed away slowly thinking I’d need a hatchet to slice the damn thing.

This year I’m back at it. With all the delicious root vegetable recipes and more well-rounded taste buds, I feel the urge to explore- plus they’re relatively inexpensive. Since starting my Vegan challenge I’m experiencing an inflated grocery bill and am trying to cut as many costs as possible. I’m determined to figure out how to have a budget-friendly Vegan diet… more to come on that later.

So what are root vegetables? Root vegetables are nutrient dense and grown under the ground where they absorb tons of vitamins and minerals from the soil. Here are a few examples:

1. Sweet potatoes 2. Parsnips 3. Turnips 4. Ginger 5. Rutabaga 6. Carrots 7. Radishes 8. Jicama

1-Sweet potatoes    2-Parsnips     3-Turnips     4-Ginger     5-Rutabaga     6-Carrots     7-Radishes     8-Jicama

Where do I begin with all of the benefits of root vegetables? As I mentioned before, root vegetables are nutrient dense. Chocked full of nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and beta carotene, root vegetables help prevent high blood pressure, lower your cholesterol and even help improve your eye-sight. They are high in carbohydrates, but that isn’t such a bad thing. We’re talking complex carbs here. Complex carbs slowly release sugar into your blood stream, giving you an energetic boost without the crash. They also contain fiber which helps you feel full longer and keeps things moving along in the digestive system. Root vegetables also typically have low calories and low fat.

So what’s not to love about ‘em? I’ve challenged myself to include more root vegetables in my diet and have added them to next week’s meal plan and grocery list. I already have a delicious recipe in mind… but more on that later. Up for the challenge?

Here are some awesome resources for more about root vegetables (here and here) and delicious root vegetable recipes (here).

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