It is sad that many fall and winter vegetables get a bad rap. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, celery root and parsnips often get passed over for prettier, flashier produce. The next time you’re at the farmers market or grocery don’t breeze past these seasonal standbys!
Here’s why. Winter is also described as the dreaded “cold and flu season.” But, we forget that nature knows exactly how to take care of us to help prevent sniffles, sneezes and sore throats. Many of the veggies available this time of year are packed with the vitamins and minerals you need to support your immune system and fight off winter illness.
Think oranges are your best and only source of flu fighting vitamin C? Not so! Many of our winter green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach have more vitamin C than an orange in addition to lots of other amazing nutrients to balance blood sugar, boost energy and support healthy blood pressure. Other winter veggies like beets and parsnips are packed with vitamin A and other minerals that your immune system needs in order to put up it’s strongest defenses.
For a recent cooking class I was challenged to use turnips. My client had a field of turnips and wanted some more inspiration to use her growing stockpile. I have to admit that I’d passed over these guys more often than not at the market but was excited to create a simple and delicious way to use them.
Turnips are a very typical winter root vegetable. This time of year they are usually white with some red-purple color at the top where the greens grow. You can use them as a replacement for potatoes in a hearty stew or cook and blend them into a creamy soup with cauliflower. I think they are especially delicious raw!
If you know me at all you know how much I love salad. But, this time of year eating a green leafy salad is just not appealing to me. When I came across making a turnip slaw I was excited about being able to put a salad-dish back on the dinner table that matched the season a bit more than green leaves.
Turns out this salad keeps VERY well. You can store any leftovers in a jar and take them to work with lunch the next day. You might have to add a pinch of salt or splash of vinegar because the flavor can subside a bit when it sits.
I used my spiralizer for to cut my turnips. This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets EVER! What it does it quickly turn any firm vegetable or fruit into a fun spiral shape. You can spiralize zucchini into “pasta,” potatoes for roasting or carrots, beets, turnips, apples and more for salads and other food decor. Every time I’ve used the spiralizer at a cooking demo or class people go nuts over it and vow to buy one right away. If you use a large fruit or vegetable you will end up with a never-ending spiral. What I like to do is then cut the spirals a few time with a knife to make eating a little easier and less messy 🙂 If you don’t have a spiralizer you can shred your turnip on the larger holes of a box grater.
Raw Turnip Slaw with Carrot and Parsley
2 medium raw turnips
1 small/medium carrot
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon honey or real maple syrup
Handful of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the chopped onion in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside. This will draw some of the spice from the onions so they become more mild.
- Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and honey until smooth in your salad serving bowl. Set aside.
- Peel the turnip and carrot and grate or spiralize them into the serving bowl with the dressing. Toss until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!