Slice of Life: Root, Root, Root for the Veggies

November 10, 2014
Please note: fresh fruit and vegetables need to be inspected for insect infestation. Please consult our guide

It’s a scientific fact that no matter how much food you make for your large family gatherings (Thanksgiving alert!) you’ll have too much. This anomaly is, of course, directly related to our constant application of the “law of company’s coming” theory. The theory states that no matter what we do, something will burn, we will forget an ingredient and someone will arrive two hours early or forget they were invited, and we will never have enough time to get ready.

In anticipation of this year’s turkey day I decided everyone needed some new side dish recipes. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes have become the go-to dish but I’ve come to appreciate other root vegetables—parsnip, celery root, beets and rutabaga—as great alternatives. These fall veggies take on smooth, rich, deep flavors when they are cooked slowly with just a little water, wine or any other liquid you prefer.

These uber-healthy vegetables are simple to prepare as a standalone dish. First, you wash and scrub them (they are root vegetables so dirt tends to gather in the nooks and crannies. Peel them, then cut into large bite-size pieces (they shrink as they cook). Using a large pan heat some oil or butter (if preparing a dish for a dairy meal) and sauté them slightly, then season with a bit of salt and pepper and cover with between ½ and 1 cup of your liquid of choice. Cook for about 20 minutes, the liquid should be just about gone. Add your favorite herbs (rosemary or thyme are my favorites) for 3 to 5 minutes at the end of the cooking for just the right amount of flavor. When you combine your root vegetables with each other, yum!

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower (dairy or pareve)

4 to 6 servings


  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Non-stick vegetable spray
  • ½ cup whole, rice or almond milk (more to thin the mash if necessary
  • Heaping ¼ cup plain yogurt (Greek yogurt or non-dairy substitute if you prefer it)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the minced garlic in a microwave proof dish and drizzle the oil over it. Cook on high for 1 minutes. Mix and cook for 1 more minute. Remove and let cool slightly.
  3. Spread the cut cauliflower evenly on a baking sheet with sides. Spray the top of the cauliflowers with the non-stick spray. Roast the cauliflower for 25 to 35 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to char on the edges. You should stir the cauliflower at about 15 minutes into the cooking. Cool the cauliflower slightly.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor combine half of the garlic and oil, cauliflower, milk, yogurt, melted butter and process until smooth (mashed potato consistency. Repeat with the second half of the ingredients.
  5. Combine both batches and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle the green onions over the top and serve.

Carrot and Parsnip Mash-Up (meat or pareve)

6 servings


  • 1 lb. parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mince garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 Tablespoons margarine
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground pepper


  1. In a large sauce pan melt 3 Tablespoons of margarine. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté over a low heat until the onions are soft.
  2. At this point add the broth and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, return to a simmer and cook, covered for 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Once the vegetables are soft, but not mushy, use an immersion blender to puree everything.
  4. Add the remaining margarine, season with salt and pepper and serve.

This can be made 2 days in advance and reheated.

Beef and Root Vegetable Stew (meat)


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 (14½ oz.) cans beef broth
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1½ cups parsnips peeled cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1½ cups potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons water


  1. In a Dutch oven or large kettle, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  2. Add the broth, vegetables, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into the stew.
  4. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Roasted Beet and Quinoa Salad (pareve)

6 servings


  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked in chicken or vegetable broth, cooled
  • 6 beets, medium sized, washed, ends trimmed
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Brush olive oil over the beets and wrap them aluminum foil. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove and cool, in the foil for 15 minutes. Peel them (the skin should slip off) and cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. In a salad bowl combine the leek, avocado, spinach and parsley. Mix to combine.
  4. Just before serving add the beets and almonds, drizzle with dressing (recipe below) and mix to combine.


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon rice wine or apple cider vinegar
  • Sea or kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Modified from

© Eileen Goltz root 14a

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.