One of the most satisfying yet simple meals I make on a weekly basis is my root vegetable salad. It’s loaded with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fibre, and easy to digest, making it a satisfying yet hearty meal. In fact, root vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables due to their ability to absorb so much from the soil. Because of this, I buy organic whenever possible to avoid the chemical and pesticides commonly used in mainstream farming.
There is a wide variety to choose from to create an array of colours and flavours, such as carrots, red and golden beets, parsnips, turnips, celery root, Jerusalem artichoke, yams, sweet potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, jicama, burdock, garlic, ginger, turmeric and many more! Go figure, but I tend to like more of the sweeter root vegetables, such as parsnips and beets.
Below are the vegetables I typically buy on a weekly basis when available in stores. I tried many different types of roots until I found the combination I liked best. I recommend you do the same until you find the variety that you love. This makes two very large servings and lasts for about five days. We eat it for lunch or dinner, either on its own or combined with quinoa, hemp seeds, hummus, avocado or other sides.
The process is very simple, and even though it does take some time to prepare, you will definitely enjoy eating this savoury delicious salad.
Prep time: 2 hours (including cooking)
1 2lb bag of carrots
1 2lb bag of parsnips
1 or 2 bunches of beets depending on their size
1 celery root
4 or 5 Jerusalem artichokes
2 yams or sweet potatoes
Juice of 2 lemons
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp celery seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash all vegetables. Peel the beets, celery root and Jerusalem artichokes. You may or may not peel the carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes (much of the nutrients in these vegetables is in the peel), but scrub them thoroughly if not.
Chop carrots and parsnips into 1cm chunks.
Chop sweet potatoes and celery root into 2cm cubes.
Chop beets into 1cm slices.
Cook vegetables separately to avoid over- or under-cooking, and to keep the orange and white vegetables from being stained by the beets. If possible, steam your vegetables, which conserves more nutrients and minerals compared to boiling.
For each vegetable, check with a fork every 2-3 minutes of cooking to see how soft they are. Parsnips, celery root and Jerusalem artichoke are the fastest cooking vegetables and may be done within three minutes, depending on your preference for tenderness or crunch. Carrots and sweet potatoes may take at least five minutes, while beets take at least ten.
To prevent nutrient loss, be careful not to overcook.
Drain and cool separately in a strainer or colander for at least 30 minutes. Then place them all together into a large airtight container and refrigerate. Toss together with dressing just before serving.
Joy Elkayam is a kindergarten teacher, and volunteer at Parvati.org. In her spare time, she likes to experiment with recipes and create meals and desserts without gluten, dairy and sugar.