Out of the Ground and Onto Your Plate

Root vegetables, frequently used in stews, soups and casseroles, are a staple throughout autumn and winter. With a higher starch content than other vegetables, they act as a thickener, providing a hearty texture along with important vitamins and minerals. This recipe for pureed vegetables offers a sweet and colorful alternative to traditional mashed potatoes.

Turnips are relatively unknown to many Americans. They have a subtle, slightly sweet flavor and a crisp texture. Mostly white, except for a reddish-purple top, turnips are an excellent source of vitamin C. Additionally, turnips are a source of indoles and sulforophane – two phytochemicals that may offer cancer protection. Rutabagas, also included in the recipe, are closely related to turnips but have a mostly yellow skin.

Of the four vegetables featured this week, carrots are both the best known and the most frequently consumed. Their bright orange skin is a visible sign of the beta-carotene inside. Most commonly associated with eye health, the antioxidant beta-carotene is also essential for healthy skin and proper immune function. This week’s recipe also uses parsnips, which look like a paler version of carrots. Though they don’t provide beta-carotene, they do offer vitamin C, fiber and potassium.

When mashed, the parsnips and turnips yield a pale yellow puree. This is off-set by the warmer orange-toned coupling of the carrots and rutabagas. Served layered in a casserole dish, the two-toned puree is elegant and unexpected.

Pureed Root Vegetables - Makes 12 servings (1/2 cup each).

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. cloves

1/3 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs

6 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound young turnips, topped, peeled and cut into quarters

1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced

6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 can (14 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream

Pair the parsnips and turnips together and the rutabaga and carrots together and add to two pots of boiling water. When the water reaches a rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium and cook, uncovered, until tender, 15 to 30 minutes. Check tenderness periodically with a sharp knife to prevent over-cooking.

Drain the water, keeping the two pots of vegetables separate. Place each vegetable pairing in a food processor and blend, adding a total of 1/2 cup chicken broth while pulsing. Stop once the mixture develops a chunky texture or continue blending if a smoother texture is desired. Resume mixing while adding the yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside until each vegetable pairing has been pureed.

In a glass or ceramic rectangular casserole dish, arrange the pureed vegetables in two-inch strips lengthwise, alternating orange and yellow purees. Sprinkle with paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Sprinkle the top with whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Place under oven broiler for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 111 calories, <1 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 249 mg sodium.

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offers a Nutrition Hotline online at www.aicr.org or via phone 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, MondayFriday, at 1-800-843-8114. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will respond to your email or call, usually within 3 business days. AICR is the only major cancer charity focusing exclusively on how the risk of cancer is reduced by healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and weight management. The Institute’s education programs help millions of Americans lower their cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. Over $82 million in funding has been provided. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

Article Posted: November 12, 2007

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment