You might say root vegetables are hard to "beet," especially in the winter when they add color and deep, rich flavor to stews and soups.
Eat them raw or roasted, baked or broiled, steamed or sautéed—you can't go wrong. And there's a wide variety to savor, from familiar ones like carrots to treasures you might not have tried yet, like crisp and slightly sweet jicama.
As their name implies, root vegetables all grow underground. They're also nutrition powerhouses packed with fiber, antioxidants and important nutrients, such as potassium and vitamin C. Another plus: They're low in calories.
To help you get the most from them, here's a quick guide of what to look for—and some tasty serving suggestions:
Look for: Smooth skins and non-wilted leaves.
Treat yourself: Add beets—and their leaves—to your favorite cold-weather stir-fry.
Look for: Large, deep orange carrots with bright green leafy tops.
Treat yourself: Shred them into baked goods, but save a few to eat raw with peanut or almond butter.
Look for: Firm, unblemished veggies with a slightly silky sheen.
Treat yourself: Dice up raw jicama and toss it into a harvest-style salad.
Look for: White parsnips with roots intact. The whiter the flesh, the sweeter the taste.
Treat yourself: Sauté diced parsnips in a little butter with nutmeg.
Look for: Firm varieties that have no discoloration, bruises or blemishes. Pass on potatoes that are soft, shriveled or sprouted.
Treat yourself: Coat potato wedges in a mixture of olive oil, cumin, chili powder, garlic and paprika, and roast until crisp.
Look for: Intact green tops. Steer clear of turnips with wrinkled or damaged skin.
Treat yourself: Mash turnips like potatoes, and roast their greens with apple cider vinegar.
Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Produce for Better Health Foundation