Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year! We always look forward to long weekends under scarlet leaves… sipping a hot chai latte while wearing a cozy wool cardigan… and good home-cooked meals slowly simmering on the stove. And speaking of cooking, here’s a look at three seasonal vegetables that deserve a place on your autumn menu!                                          

Celeriac

Protected by a thick skin and covered in roots at its base, celeriac has a crunchy white flesh. It can be eaten raw, grated in a classic French “celery root remoulade,” for example—along with carrots, green apples, sunflower seeds, parsley, and a cider vinegar and olive oil dressing. To prevent celeriac from turning brown, make sure to quickly coat it in an acidic dressing or in lemon water!

To cook celeriac, peel it and cut it into sticks, which you can season and roast in the oven, cube it and add it to soups and stews, or serve it as a creamy soup, purée, or au gratin. There’s no shortage of ways you can use it! Celeriac also contains three times fewer calories than an equal amount of potatoes, and its delicate taste is sure to please!

Endives

Endives have a rather unusual background. Legend has it that this leafy vegetable was “created” purely by chance in Belgium in the middle of the 19th century, when a nobleman discovered some wild chicory roots that resembled the conical assembly of yellowish-white leaves we know today. Since then, endive cultivation has been perfected. Yet, unlike almost every other plant, endives grow in the dark!

In the kitchen, raw endives make for an exquisite salad. You can also combine thin slices of endive to a mix of greens (romaine, kale, spinach, etc.) and to fresh or dried fruits, which will balance out the slightly bitter taste. A combination of endives, apples, toasted nuts, and a honey-based dressing is a real fall treat! You can also separate the leaves one by one from the base, and use them as a bed for a variety of delicious toppings: salmon mousse, goat cheese and herbs, tartares, egg salad, etc. At happy hour, this makes for a nice change from the usual greasy and salty hors d’oeuvres!

Although endives are most often used raw, they are also wonderful cooked. Try a classic ham and endive au gratin recipe, or enjoy endives braised with a touch of maple syrup. Truly delectable!

Parsnips

The carrot’s botanical cousin, the parsnip is a versatile root that keeps well. While it’s delicious served raw in salads, cooked and used in soups and purées, or caramelized in the oven, a truly original way to take advantage of its astonishingly sweet taste is to incorporate it into your desserts. Use this root in a spice cake with a cream cheese frosting, or mix it with apples and ginger in a homemade muffin recipe! It’s a good way to satisfy your sweet tooth while adding a dose of fibre and several healthy nutrients, like potassium, to your snack.

Autumn is a perfect season… both for outdoor activities and for getting back to the joy of cooking up delicious concoctions that make use of your local harvest. This season, we challenge you to broaden your horizons by using ingredients that are not nearly as well known as apples and pumpkins!

 

Reference

Encyclopédie visuelle des aliments. QA International. Montréal: Québec Amérique; 2006. 688 pages.