The Unsung Heroes: 4 Underappreciated Vegetables and How to Cook Them

AAlex October 18, 2023 11:21 PM

When we think of vegetables, our minds tend to gravitate towards the classics: potatoes, carrots, broccoli. But there’s a whole world of underappreciated vegetables out there waiting to be discovered. Today, we’re shining the spotlight on four of these unsung heroes: rutabaga, parsnip, kohlrabi, and celeriac. Not only are these veggies packed full of nutrients, but they also bring unique flavors and textures to any dish. Let's discover how to prepare and cook these hidden gems of the vegetable world.


Also known as 'swede,' the rutabaga is a root vegetable that's often overlooked due to its somewhat strange appearance. But don’t let its exterior fool you—on the inside, it has a sweet, almost nutty flavor. When you're preparing rutabaga, the first thing to do is give it a good wash, as they're typically covered in a layer of edible wax to keep them fresh. Then, cut off the top and bottom, peel off the skin, and chop as desired. Rutabagas can be roasted, boiled, mashed, or even eaten raw. A simple yet delicious way to cook rutabaga is to roast it with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a touch of honey.


Parsnips may look like white carrots, but they have a unique flavor that sets them apart. They're sweet, earthy, and have a slightly spicy bite. When cooking with parsnips, give them a good scrub, top and tail them, and then peel. You can roast them, boil them, or add them to stews and soups. A classic parsnip recipe is a creamy parsnip soup, perfect for warming you up on a chilly day.


Kohlrabi, a member of the cabbage family, might be the most alien-looking vegetable on this list. But once you get past its peculiar exterior, you'll find a crunchy, slightly sweet vegetable that's a joy to eat. First, peel off the tough outer skin. The inside can be sliced or grated and added to salads, or chopped and stir-fried. Kohlrabi is also delicious when roasted—it brings out a lovely sweetness.


Celeriac, also known as celery root, is a versatile vegetable with a delicate celery flavor. It can be a bit intimidating with its knobby exterior, but don't be discouraged. Once peeled and chopped, it can be boiled, mashed, roasted, or even used raw in salads. A classic recipe to try is celeriac remoulade, a deliciously tangy French side dish.

Let's summarize the preparation and cooking techniques for these underappreciated vegetables in a handy table:

Vegetable Preparation Cooking Techniques
Rutabaga Wash, top and tail, peel, chop Roast, boil, mash, raw
Parsnip Scrub, top and tail, peel Roast, boil, stews, soups
Kohlrabi Peel, slice or chop Salads, stir-fry, roast
Celeriac Peel, chop Boil, mash, roast, raw

So next time you're in the produce aisle, don't overlook these unsung heroes. Including these underappreciated vegetables in your meals will not only add variety to your diet but also boost your intake of vitamins and minerals.

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