Root Vegetable Chips with Two Dips

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Root vegetables, I know – they’re homely and mostly relegated to salads and stews… but not any more!  These root vegetable chips will please almost anyone, especially people who love savory snacks!  They are like a potato chip on steroids, more flavorful and more healthful. Parsnips, red, yellow and pink striped chiogga beets sliced thinly, brushed with olive oil, dusted with salt and pepper, and baked into crispy chips.  They are absolutely delicious and crunchy and  a great way to get people to eat more non-traditional veggies.  I mean, who eats parsnips?  Well, a whole group of people ate them and came back for more at my house the other night.  I served them with a homemade Lemon, Parmesan Aioli (my go-to dip) and a traditional guacamole, but really they were good enough to stand up on their own. The dips are just extra for people (like me) whole love a good creamy dip or thinks chips can’t be served without guacamole.

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I owe the idea for these veggie chips to my sister, Carole. Last weekend I attended a family event and stayed with Carole, who had a recipe for making chips from root vegetables that she wanted to try.  I had never made them before but we had fun making them together and were happy with the results.  They are very easy to make if you have a mandolin.  Just peel and slice the veggies and bake them on low heat for an hour and a half or so until they are crispy.  The original recipe my sister used called for them to be cooked at 195 degrees which I eventually increased the heat because they weren’t crisping fast enough for us. There are many root chip recipes out there that call for various oven temperatures (even up to 400) and lengths of time (as little as 30 minutes) but most of the commentary was not positive.  I decided this time to bake at 250 degrees because so much flavor is retained with the low temperature and there is little chance of burning.  It’s almost like speed dehydrating but it works and everyone loved the results!

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Root vegetables are a treasure chest of nutrients in spite of their unattractive and intimidating outer appearance.  However, once you cut them open, their jewel toned flesh is revealed.   These intense colors are not just gorgeous, they are indicative of their rich nutritional value.  Root vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium and potassium that they absorb from the ground and they are an excellent source of fiber. Even parsnips, which look like white carrots, are loaded with nutrients like their more colorful cousins. Use a combination for maximum nutrition and to ‘Eat the Rainbow”.

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TIPS:  I sliced the parsnips and the chiogga beets on my mandoline on the thinnest setting  but sliced the red and yellow beets on the second setting because  I wanted to see if there was a difference in quality.  The thicker beets took about 20 minutes longer to cook and were definitly thicker.  The thicker you slice, the longer they take to crisp and the yield is smaller.  I prefered the thinner chips but the crowd preference was pretty split between thick and thin.  For thin slices, you will need one baking sheet per vegetable.

When selecting root vegetables from the market, choose larger specimens as they shrink quite a bit during baking.  Also choose smoother skinned ones, if possible.  The ‘hairy’ parts are harder to peel, in fact, I had to use the tip of my peeler to remove them.

Using an olive oil spray makes prep easy and fast but you can also use the old fashioned oil and brush. Feel free to add other spices before baking. Chili, curry or garlic powder, ground cumin and cayenne pepper are all good choices.

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ROOT VEGETABLE CHIPS

  • 4 root vegetables(any combination of beets, parsnips, rutabaga, carrots, sweet potato, etc)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (or olive oil spray)
  • salt and pepper to taste

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  • Peel and trim root vegetables

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  • Using a mandolin or sharp knife thinly slice vegetables lengthwise

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  • Spray or brush oil on the bottom of each baking sheet and arrange veggie slices in a single layer. Spray or brush slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper

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  • Bake at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.  Thicker slices can take up to two hours. Remove from oven when crispy and let cool

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  • Serve with dips if desired. (I made a quick Lemon Parmesan Aioli  and guacamole)

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LEMON PARMESAN AIOLI

  • 1/2 cup mayo (I love Just Mayo)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest from one lemon
  1. Combine all ingredients and spoon into a small serving bowl

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QUICK GUACAMOLE

  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 cup red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves, garlic, minced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, lime juice and salt.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and spoon into a serving bowl.

 

Root Vegetable Chips

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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ROOT VEGETABLE CHIPS

  • 4 root vegetables(any combination of beets, parsnips, rutabaga, carrots, sweet potato, etc)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (or olive oil spray)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Peel and trim root vegetables
  2. Using a mandolin or sharp knife thinly slice vegetables lengthwise
  3. Spray or brush oil on the bottom of each baking sheet and arrange veggie slices in a single layer
  4. Spray or brush slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Bake at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.  Thicker slices can take up to two hours.
  6. Remove from oven when crispy and let cool
  7. Serve with dips if desired.

LEMON PARMESAN AIOLI

  • 1/2 cup mayo (I love Just Mayo)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest from one lemon
  1. Combine all ingredients and spoon into a small serving bowl

QUICK GUACAMOLE

  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 cup red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves, garlic, minced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, lime juice and salt.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and spoon into a serving bowl.
 

Wheatless Wednesday – Root Vegetable Tian with Goat Cheese and Crispy Shallots

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Root vegetables are like your underappreciated friend  who is super smart and really fun but maybe a bit socially awkward and not classically attractive. Root vegetables grow in the ground, have tough skins, which are sometimes ‘hairy’ (egad!) and are often a bit misshapen.  They have none of the allure of ‘popular’ vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant or the reigning queen of greens, kale.   Yes, root vegetables are not very pretty on the outside with their dusky, tough skins, but cut them open to find a treasure trove of jewel tones and lovely, often intense flavors. Since they are grown underground, they absorb a great amount of nutrients from the soil. They are packed with a high concentration of antioxidants, Vitamins C, B, A, and iron.. They are also filled with slow-burning carbohydrates and fiber, which make you feel full, and help regulate your blood sugar and digestive system. This factor, plus the high-octane nutrients and low calories, make roots excellent for people who are trying to lose weight, or simply stay healthy. Read more at Oh My Veggies.

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This summer I made a beautiful Summer Vegetable Tart featuring summer produce like zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and fresh tomatoes with rounds of fresh mozzarella arranged into a gorgeous flower pattern.  It was definitely a family and a fan favorite so check it out if you still have tomatoes and zucchini left in your garden!  With fall vegetables crowding the bins in markets right now, I wanted to rework the tart into one featuring fall veggies, root vegetables in particular.  Whereas summer veggies have a lot of water in them, root vegetables are more dense, so I opted to make a tian which is a mixture of roasted vegetables cooked in a shallow dish, usually layered or arranged with cheese or au gratin but without a crust which seems unnecessary for these already hearty vegetables. A tian is actually the earthenware cooking pot used in Provence, France, although the name Tian now serves to include the food cooked inside.  Most people, like me, don’t have a special tian dish but use any low glass, ceramic or earthenware dish available. I topped the vegetables with thinly sliced shallots, fresh herbs, garlic and a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese for a slightly crispy finish.

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So what are common root vegetables? Potatoes are probably the most popular, followed by carrots, sweet potato and yam, turnips, parnsips, beets, rutabaga, celeriac and many that are unrecognizable without a chart.  For more info, here is a List of Root Vegetables and their characteristics. Surprisingly, everything in the onion family, including garlic, is actually considered a bulb not a root vegetable.  There are also tubers, rhizomes and corms, but don’t get me started. My lack of a botanical degree is showing…

TIPS:   Utilize any combination of your favorite root vegetables or whatever is available, even carrots. Try to buy vegetables that are similar in diameter so they cook evenly and make the layering easier. Don’t worry to much about it though.  If anything is significantly smaller, just double up the smaller rounds or tuck them in wherever.  I used goat cheese because I thought it’s tangy flavor would combine best with the earthy veggies but non goat cheese lovers can omit or substitute any cheese. You have the option of tucking it in between layers like I did or crumbling it all over the top for a bubbling, crispy, cheesy crust.  If you are pressed for time, you can skip the marinating of the shallots, they just might not get as crispy but they will be delicious. You can’t really go wrong.

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ROOT VEGETABLE TIAN
1  large russet potato
1 large sweet potato
2-3 other root vegetables ( parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, etc)
4-5 oz goat cheese (optional)
2-3 shallots
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsn parmesan cheese, Grated (ootional)
1 Tbsn fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme Leaves (or other fresh herbs)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsn  olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth (optional)

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  • Slice a shallot into thin rings and put in a small bowl. Add the minced garlic and 1 tsp fresh thyme (or other fresh savory herb like oregano, rosemary or marjoram.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and combine to coat.  Set aside.

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  • Peel the sweet potato, parsnips and other root vegetables (except the potato which can be peeled and placed in water but not sliced until the last minute because it browns so quickly) and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil. Peel the potato and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds.

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  • In the baking dish, arrange the potato, parsnip and sweet potato slices in a single layer, overlapping them as you go. Tuck in a round or crumbles of goat cheese, if using, every 3 or 4 slices or you can sprinkle them overt the top or both.  The shape of your dish will determine the pattern you use for your veggies. Think rows, circles or even pinwheels.

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  • Sprinkle the garlic mixture evenly over the top. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. if you like softer veggies you can pour a half cup of vegetable broth in the bottom of the pan (optional). For firmer veggies, omit the broth. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Place the root vegetable tian in the preheated oven and bake for  about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are starting to become fork tender. Remove foil and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over the top, then continue baking until cheese turns golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. If you like the top really browned, broil for a minute or two but watch it closely as it can overbrown quickly.

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Root Vegetable Tian

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1  large russet potato
1 large sweet potato
2-3 other root vegetables ( parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, etc)
4-5 oz goat cheese (optional)
2-3 shallots
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsn parmesan cheese, Grated (ootional)
1 Tbsn fresh or 1 tsp dried Thyme Leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsn  olive oil

  •  Slice a shallot into thin rings and put in a small bowl. Add the minced garlic and 1 tsp fresh thyme (or other fresh savory herb like oregano, rosemary or marjoram.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and combine to coat.  Set aside.  Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and combine to coat
  • Peel the sweet potato, parsnips and other root vegetables (except the potato) and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a 9″x11″ baking dish with butter
  • Peel the potato and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
  • In the baking dish, arrange the potato, parsnip and sweet potato slices in a single layer, overlapping them as you go. Tuck in a round or crumbles of goat cheese, if using, every 3 or 4 slices  or you can sprinkle them overt the top or both.  The shape of your dish will determine the pattern you use for your veggies. Think rows, circles or even pinwheels..
  • Sprinkle the garlic mixture evenly over the top. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. if you like softer veggies you can pour a half cup of vegetable broth in the bottom of the pan (optional). For firmer veggies, omit the broth. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Place the root vegetable tian in the preheated oven and bake for  about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are starting to become fork tender. Remove foil and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over the top, then continue baking until cheese turns golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.  If you like the top really browned, broil for a minute or two but watch it closely as it can overbrown quickly.