As much as I miss tomatoes—round and juicy and plump as a water balloon—I’m pretty happy where we are, in the doldrums of winter, surrounded by vegetables caked in dirt. Parsnips, carrots, beets, turnips, rutabaga. These ingredients are tough and starchy and ready whenever you are. If you want to cook one tonight, great! If you forget about it for a week or three, it will find a way to survive. Which is why I always try to always have a couple in my kitchen during these colder months.
Below are some of the root-forward dinners on my wishlist right now, plus a couple desserts our staffers are baking to stay warm.
Pureed Soups for the Soul
Someone once told me they dislike pureed soup because it reminds them of baby food. Which got me thinking: Do I love pureed soup because it reminds me of baby food? After all, being a baby is nice. Your to-do list is clear and manageable (play, eat, nap, repeat) and you get to wear pajamas in public. Admittedly, the food can be a little bland—but when properly seasoned, adult pureed soups are anything but. I like topping mine with bonuses like chile oil, croutons, or, best of all, a chopped-up grilled cheese.
Turnip Curry (Just Don’t Throw Out the Greens!)
This Yellow Curry With Cashews & Basil leaves a lot up to you: Parsnips or carrots? Turnips or rutabaga? I plan to lean into the turnips for an extra-earthy stew (maybe even throw a few bonus herbs on top while I’m at it). And for all those leftover turnip tops, I give you: our co-founder Amanda Hesser’s Turnip Greens Frittata. This would also be wonderful with radish greens, beet greens, or some combo of the three.
Red Sauce, but Make It Winter
This splashy pasta sauce from cookbook author Abra Berens gets its happy color from beets, which I think we can all agree are the prettiest root vegetable in town. But! You could certain apply this smart treatment (pureed vegetables, olive oil, and a little cream if you want it) to carrots or parsnips. The seeds, too, can be messed with: Instead of straight poppies, try sesame seeds, everything seasoning, or za’atar.
If you still want pasta but are feeling less root-y, try this close cousin: broccoli sauce.
Cheese Gratin With Vegetables
I messed that up, didn’t I? It’s a vegetable gratin with cheese—but honestly, what’s the difference? This bubbly-gooey number includes butternut, potatoes, parsnips, and two cups of Parmesan and Gruyére. Yes! Add in a warm baguette and vinegary salad, and you have a highly cozy winter dinner that I hope you will invite me over to help eat. And while we’re on the subject, I’ve been dreaming about this chard gratin from Nigel Slater, which relies less on cheese, more on heavy cream—another very good thing.
So Many Cookies
In a perfect world, my freezer is always filled with an assortment of cookies, which I can snag after dinner, enjoy with a cup of hot tea on the couch as I watch 14 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and still, somehow, be in bed by 9 p.m. Is this too much to ask?
My coworkers are halfway there with all the baking they’ve been up to. Associate Buyer Aja Aktay swears by our co-founder Merrill Stubbs’ Crispy Crunchy Oatmeal Cookies: “I've made them 4 times now, they are my faaaavorite!” she messaged me on Slack. Meanwhile, Strategy & Finance Manager Annalee Leggett just made these very-green Matcha Snickerdoodles for the second time. I want all of it.
Somewhere between those chapters, I’m looking forward to this meaty feature on lard bread by Max Falkowitz. And this conversation on sustainable cooking between Epicurious editor David Tamarkin and sustainability policy expert Richard Waite.
What else should I add to my list? And what’s your favorite root vegetable recipe?