Exploring Your Roots + Maple Mustard Glaze Recipe

Photo Credit: Mette Nielsen

When it comes to fall vegetables, I root for those parsnips, kohlrabi, rutabagas, and celery root. Unlike the delicate garden vegetables of summer–sweet peas, vine ripe tomatoes, tender lettuces–kale or cabbage don’t need to be enjoyed right away.

Fall is a relaxed season for any cook; nature’s way of acknowledging that come summer’s end, there’s always too much to do.

Fall’s root vegetables are having their day as farmers are harvesting a range of super-nutritious and flavorful varieties. Root for these roots!


You just can’t beat beets for vibrant colors and sugary essence. They’re great shredded into a salad raw, once cooked enjoy them warm or at room temp.
Roasting beets intensifies their flavors: rinse well, cut a few slits in the root with a sharp knife, and roast on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven until easily pierced with a sharp knife, about 45 min. to an hour. Once they’re cool enough to handle, their skins will slip off easily. Try then chopping and tossing with a little blue cheese or with shredded orange zest and a splash of walnut oil.

Celery root

Don’t be put off by the looks of this whiskery, knobby root. Whack into its tough exterior and you’ll find a clean, crisp, white flesh that tastes of celery, anise, and hazelnuts. It’s not as sweet as a carrot and is far less starchy than a potato. Shred and dress it with a dressing of mayonnaise and mustard for a salad the French call remoulade. Boil and mash it with a little butter or olive oil, or cube and toss into a pan to roast.


Peel back those spikes and leaves and you have a cross between a mild radish and a turnip. Kohlrabi adds crunch to salads and slaws. When cooked, its flavor is closer to mild cabbage, so try it in stir-fries and sautés. Boil and smash it into mashed potatoes; shred it and toss with your favorite vinaigrette or creamy dressing for a coleslaw.


Parsnips, resemble white carrots but are sweeter, earthier, and more complex. They’re delicious simply boiled then pureed with a little butter and a sprinkle of chopped thyme. Chop and sauté them with chopped apples and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes, season with a bit of chopped rosemary.


The workhorse in a farmhouse kitchen, ‘bagas are deliciously versatile. They store beautifully and figure nicely in roasts, purees, and stews. Under their ruddy red-orangish peel, they’re pale orange with a spicy turnip flavor that adds color and zip. Peel, chop and sauté rutabagas in butter for several minutes, then add a little cider and a sprinkle of sugar and salt for a side dish. Boil and mash them into potatoes for color and a robust taste.


Every year more varieties of turnips head our way – yellow, red, pearly white. These roots are great peeled and sliced for dips and are fabulous in sautés, soups, mashed. Try them maple glazed – saute sliced turnips in a little oil until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes, then drizzle with a little maple syrup.

Roasted Roots with Maple Mustard Glaze

Serves 4


1/2 pound rutabagas, cut into 1-/2 inch pieces

1 small kohlrabi, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces

2 large parsnips, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces

½1/2 pound celery root, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons whole grain mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oil it. In a large bowl, toss together the vegetables with enough oil to generously coat. Transfer the vegetables to a baking sheet and roast, turning periodically for about 30 minutes, until soft.

In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup, vinegar, mustard, and cider.  Drizzle the glaze over the vegetables and turn to coat them then return to the oven and continue roasting until they are caramelized, about 10 minutes more. Serve hot.