Roots for Dinner

November 20, 2013

Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety. 

Today: Root vegetables may not be the chicest of vegetables, but they do make for good, cheap winter fare. Here's how to make them a meal.

Root vegetables are often overlooked, or unfairly maligned. Popular discourse on winter produce tends to focus on what we're missing, rather than what we already have.??

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And sure, at first sight, tubers aren't the most beautiful vegetable. They're not sleek and green like spring produce -- but asparagus and fiddleheads are temperamental and flighty, disappearing from our lives as suddenly and as quickly as they entered them. Summer produce comes on fast and strong: Zucchini, corn, and heirloom tomatoes are all over us, only to take off and leave us broken-hearted at the season's end. Root vegetables, by comparison, are strong and comforting. They stick around during the harshest times of the year. They are your nice friend who is secretly in love with you, even when all you do is complain to them about how you can't meet anyone nice to date. (Look out for my revolutionary all-vegetable rom com, coming to theaters near you Summer 2014.) 

From potatoes to beets, root vegetables are extremely affordable, but sturdy enough to hold up as a main dish. Here are the dinners you should be making all winter long: 

Vegan Lentil Shepherd's Pie? with Parsnip and Potato Mash

Thanksgiving Root Vegetable Pie

Sweet Potato Chana Masala

Creamy Carrot Ginger Bisque

Warm Orzo Salad with Beets and Greens

Broccoli Rabe, Potato, and Rosemary Pizza

Tell us: How do you incorporate root vegetables into your dinner?

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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