Unusual Vegetables and How To Cook Them

April 3, 2018, noon


It is edible raw or cooked, and tastes similar to the stalks of common celery. Celeriac may be roasted, stewed, blanched, or mashed. Sliced celeriac occurs as an ingredient in soups, casseroles and other savory dishes. The leaves and stems of the vegetable are quite flavorsome, and aesthetically delicate and vibrant, which has led to their use as a garnish in contemporary fine dining.

The shelf life of celeriac is approximately six to eight months if stored between 32 and 41 °F, and not allowed to dry out. However, the vegetable will tend to rot through the center if the finer stems surrounding the base are left attached. The freshness of the vegetable can be determined by viewing the hollowness of the vegetable; a fresh celeriac should not have a hollow center. The freshness of the vegetable will also be obvious from the taste; the older the vegetable, the less potent the celery flavor.

Roasted Celeriac
1 large celeriac, peeled and cut into thick chips
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt and black pepper
Olive oil
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Spread the celeriac out on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle with the olive oil, garlic cloves, rosemary, salt and black pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, turning halfway.

Known as the Mexican potato, they can be eaten raw or cooked.

Jicama Fries
2 cups jicama sliced (about 1 small)
2 tablespoons avocado oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Peel jicama and slice into french fry pieces.
Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sea salt into medium pot of water. Bring to a boil.
Boil jicama fries in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain in colander.
Place drained jicama pieces into a large mixing bowl. Coat with avocado oil, then sprinkle on 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, garlic powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Blend in spices.
Spread fries onto oiled baking pan. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes, turning halfway through baking time, until fries are crisp.

Radicchio is a cultivated form of leaf chicory, sometimes known as Italian chicory, and is a perennial. It is grown as a leaf vegetable which usually has white-veined red leaves. It has a bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted.

Balsamic Roasted Radicchio
2 large heads of radicchio (about 1 pound total), halved through core end, each half cut into 3 wedges with some core still attached
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar (for drizzling)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse radicchio wedges in cold water; gently shake off excess water (do not dry completely). Place radicchio in large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper; toss to coat.
Arrange radicchio wedges, 1 cut side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until wilted, about 12 minutes. Turn over and roast until tender, about 8 minutes longer.
Arrange radicchio on platter, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and serve.

Leeks are of the onion family and have a mild taste. They are wonderful in soups and casseroles.

Braised Leeks
Serves 2
3 leeks, dark green parts removed, sliced and washed
8 oz. mushrooms
1 ¾ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine leeks, mushrooms and heavy cream in skillet. Bring to boil over medium high heat. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cheese. Transfer to oven and bake for 35 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes and serve.


The turnip is the root of the plant. The whole plant, root and greens is edible.

Southern Turnip Greens
3 bunches of turnip greens with roots
6 slices of bacon, sliced in small pieces
chicken broth
Clean the turnip greens by pulling off the leaves from the stems and washing them thoroughly in a large container of water. Then chop the leaves. Clean the roots by peeling and chopping.
In a large pot, saute the bacon until crisp. Add the turnip greens and about 1 to 2 cups of chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste. Add the root pieces.
Cover and cook until wilted. Enjoy with pepper sauce.

This root vegetable is a cross between the cabbage and turnip. This recipe was one of my Daddy's favorites.

Mashed Rutabaga
Peel the rutabagas and cut into small pieces. Put in a pot and cover with water. Add some salt. Cook until the rutabaga is tender. Drain and mash like you would potatoes adding a lot of butter.

If the only kind of beet you have ever eaten was on a buffet table, you are in for a surprise.
Beets are a root vegetable and the greens are also edible.

Oven Roasted Beets
When I peel beets I wear disposable gloves. This keeps the red color from dying your hands.
Wash the beets and put them on a piece of foil that has been lined with parchment. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Close up the foil and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool about 10 minutes and then peel, cut up and enjoy or use in recipes.

As the name would suggest, this vegetable is in the cabbage family.
Both the stem and leaves are edible. It tastes like a potato crossed with an artichoke.

Roasted Kohlrabi

4 kohlrabi bulbs
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the kohlrabi into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut each of the slices in half. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi slices in the olive oil mixture to coat. Spread kohlrabi in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally in order to brown evenly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven to allow the Parmesan cheese to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.