Next time you're in the produce aisle, pick up one of these vegetables and try one you've never had before or find a new love for one you have been overlooking.
Fennel is one of those vegetables most of us North Americans know, yet don’t eat very often. That’s a shame! This odd looking, bulb vegetable has a refreshing liquorice flavour and can be eaten either cooked or raw. Fun fact: there are said to be “male” & “female” bulbs. Male bulbs are more round and the stalks are more frayed out – if looking to use fennel raw, as a snack or in a salad, choose these ones. Female bulbs are identified with more flat bulbs with stalks that are more tight together and straight upwards – pick these ones if you plan on cooking your fennel like in a delicious pasta or adding to a soup!
Turnips are fantastic! They're a great alternative for the common potato (think...soups, roasted, mashed) but unlike potatoes, they're also great raw, served thinly sliced or shredded in salads, coleslaws or pickled. Turnips are the star of Chef Claire’s Maple Glazed vegetables which are part of our Salmon Two Ways Cooking Class!
Once you start cooking with leeks, you’ll be hooked. Their mild, onion-like taste complements most things you’re already making. Full of minerals, vitamins and fibre, leeks are a great addition to salads, quiches and soups. If you’ve never cooked with them before, make sure to discard the dark green parts of the leaves as they are very tough. The desired parts are the white and light green portion of the leaves at the bottom of the vegetable and by peeling back a layer or two.
This funky looking vegetable native to Italy has a texture much more crunchy than average cauliflower and a unique flavour that falls between broccoli and cauliflower - very delicate and nutty. This beautiful, bright green vegetable has an almost optical illusion due to its fractal pattern (a super cool math-y thing you can nerd out about here). When buying romanesco, look for heads that are bright in colour, show no signs of wilting and feel dense. Our favourite way to eat it? Sautéed with garlic in olive oil and added to pasta topped with Parmigiano Reggiano. Delish!
Not to be confused with an albino carrot, parsnips are quite sweet in flavour and more fibrous than a carrot. Their sweet flavour lends them well to anything from side dishes at dinner to mains at brunch. Skip the peeling with small, young parsnips. Get even more nutrients from this versatile root vegetable and just use a vegetable scrubber to clean them before cooking.
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