Root vegetables are the perfect seasonal ingredient to kick your winter cooking up a notch. But one problem…how do you get the kiddos to appreciate them? We’ve got some root vegetable recipes that your kids are sure to love!
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What Are Root Vegetables?
Root vegetables grow at the base of a plant underground. Although, even though we call them “root vegetables”, they’re not all technically roots. Some are bulbs that store nutrients to feed the plant during the winter months.
Examples of root vegetables include fennel, onions (bulbs), celery root, water chestnut (corms), turmeric, ginger (rhizomes), carrots, beets, parsnips (taproots), sweet potatoes, yucca (tuberous roots), potatoes, and yams (tubers).
When Are Root Vegetables in Season?
You can buy most root vegetables year-round, but they peak during the fall through spring. Beets are the best during summer through fall. When in season, roots are sweeter and juicier, but luckily, they’re still delicious all year!
Why Should My Kids Be Eating Root Vegetables?
Root vegetables are super rich in soluble and insoluble fiber which helps boost the health of gut bacteria, as well as folate, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. In addition, root vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes have plenty of beta-carotene, which benefits your brain, skin, lung, and eye health. Beets are a good source of vitamin B9 manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. With root veggies, the brighter the color, the more nutrient-dense they are!
What Are Some Root Vegetable Recipes for Kids?
- Root Veggie Chips: Most “veggie chips” you buy from the store are mostly potato with a small amount of added vegetables. With these, you know you’re getting just the veggies! Use a mandoline to thinly slice yucca, sweet potato, turnip, rutabaga, russet potato, and beets. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Make sure they’re crispy, and not burned or soggy!
- Easy Baked Carrot, Parsnip, and Beetroot Fries: Cut them like fries and dip them in ketchup! Instant hit! Peel and cut your parsnips, beets, and carrots into fries, then top with olive oil seasoned with paprika and garlic powder. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning every few minutes! Dip them in your favorite condiments!
- Beet Hummus: When I was younger, I used to only eat Blues Clues applesauce. Did I think it tastes better? No. Did I even watch Blue’s Clues? No. It was blue. And that’s what mattered. I would argue that modifying familiar foods to have novel colors is a valid tactic for getting kids interested in their food. Do they have to know that it’s made of beets? Also no.
Pink Beet Hummus
- 1 beet roasted, peeled, and chopped. Note: to roast a beet, wash then drizzle with olive oil and salt, wrap in tin foil, and place in the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour. Wait for it to cool then peel the skin off, which should be easy if it’s done.
- 1 can chickpeas drained
- 2/3 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup fresh-squezed lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin to taste
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
Pink Beet Hummus
- Combine the chickpeas, tahini, beet, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
- With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, adding more olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin or salt to your own taste.
- Scalloped Turnips: Cream, butter, and onions bring out the best savory flavors in turnips, and can offset the bitterness. I would probably eat anything that’s “scalloped,” due to my affinity for butter and cream, and I stand by that statement.
- Sweet Potato Tots: This is probably the one that’s not going to take much convincing. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, these tots can be sweet or savory.
Root Vegetable Recipes: Main Dishes
- Beet Pink Pancakes: Your kids will devour these before you even get a chance to tell them it has vegetables in it! These are also the perfect idea for Valentine’s Day breakfast.
- Mexican Steak Tacos (with Radish Slaw): A radish slaw makes the perfect addition to a steak taco because it provides a little more flavor than plain lettuce and adds the perfect crunch. For this, combine chopped cilantro, radishes, onions, lime juice, chile, and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Rock Those Root Vegetable Recipes!
We see you working hard to get some variety and veggies in your kids’ diet. Keep up the good work. Share your victories with the ones you love on FamilyApp, and keep on cooking!