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At the Root of It

Exploring the tastes and textures of fall’s heartiest vegetable staples.

BY Craig Viera

While the starchy potato may play a key role in global cuisines, it’s just one of many root vegetables out there. Dig deeper into the world of tubers, and you’ll discover a range of flavors and colors that are elevated and enhanced by sous vide cooking. From beets to kohlrabi, there’s a root vegetable for just about any occasion. It’s all a matter of finding the right one—and knowing how to cook it perfectly.

Read on to discover new and familiar root veggies—and three delicious sous vide recipes to try. 

Popular in Germany and India, Kohlrabi is selectively cultivated for its round, bulbous shape. Taste-wise, this cabbage descendant is reminiscent of a broccoli stem, though milder and a bit sweeter. It can be cooked sous vide, sautéed, or eaten raw—and tastes delicious when prepared with Indian spices like cumin, mustard seed, and coriander.

Seed, leaf, bulb—every part of this root vegetable can be used to add a bright, anise-like flavor to your dish. While fennel is used in many cuisines, it is especially popular in Italy and France, where it complements Mediterranean seafood like scallops and salmon.

Though occasionally referred to as “Jerusalem artichokes,” sunchokes were first cultivated by Native Americans and are a species of the sunflower. These versatile tubers have a nutty sweetness, and can be roasted or used to make brandy and other spirits.

These little bulbs can reduce the risk of heart disease, help increase blood flow to the brain, and lower your blood pressure. On top of all that? They’re a delicious addition to a variety of dishes. Preparing beets sous vide pumps up their bright flavor and bold color for plate-perfect presentation.

Turmeric’s current spike in popularity can be attributed to its reputed health benefits—but the pretty color it adds to a dish doesn’t hurt, either. Many grocery stores carry turmeric jarred and ground into a fine powder, but the raw root can also be grated, or shaved like ginger. Any way you use it, the versatile ingredient adds a unique earthiness to everything from biscuits to juices.

We could fill an entire page with different types of radishes alone—spring, fall, bright, dark, sweet, mild, just to name a few. Add a bright watermelon radish to your salads for a flash of color and crunch or, for a more dramatic touch, slice the Black Spanish radish onto your salad for a more pungent pop of flavor.

An Instagram-worthy aesthetic isn’t the only thing that colorful carrots can bring to a plate. Carrots of different shades have unique qualities and nuances in their flavor profiles—purple carrots are often sweeter, while yellow and white carrots tend to be milder.

Sous vide carrots are flavorful and have a perfect consistency. And the honey-harissa glaze means these carrots are anything but basic.

Fennel’s complexity shines when given the sous vide treatment, and pairs perfectly with apple’s sweetness and parmesan’s tang.

When your CSA cup runneth over with root vegetables, make a sous vide root veggie gratin. Ours uses a medley: parsnips, rutabaga, beets, potatoes, carrots, and turnips.

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Dedicated to the Art & Science of Sous Vide

The first publication devoted to the art and science of sous vide cooking, featuring innovative recipes, visual inspiration, expert techniques for cooking sous vide at home, and exclusive interviews with world-class chefs.