Here’s Why Sunchokes Are One Of The Most Underrated Root Vegetables
The next time you stumble upon sunchokes, AKA Jerusalem artichokes, at the farmers market, take the plunge and buy a couple. They might not be the most popular of all the root vegetables out there, but they’re certainly one of the most exotic.
A sunchoke looks like a piece of golden brown fresh ginger root at first glance, but it’s a part of the sunflower family. It’s a strange but delicious cross between a water chestnut, an artichoke and a tangy, nutty potato. You can roast them and serve them as a side dish, purée them for a soup or add them into your salads. They’re perfect for any kind of vegan or vegetarian meal you’re planning.
Basically, sunchokes are awesome, and it’s about time we made them mainstream.
Sunchokes are the tuberous root of a certain type of sunflower that’s native to North America. The tangy root vegetable is a good source of iron, potassium and thiamin. Each one-cup serving contains three grams of protein and 2.4 grams of fiber, which comes with a laundry list of health benefits on its own.
You’ll also get 10 percent of your daily vitamin C for each serving of sunchokes. With 26.2 grams of carbohydrates per one-cup serving, your body gets a source of prebiotics as well in the form of a plant fiber called inulin.
This ginger-esque root vegetable comes in all shapes and sizes. Some are big and knobby, while others are round and cylindrical. The smaller, round ones are better for roasting and, in our opinion, roasted sunchokes are the way to go. When they’re roasted properly, sunchokes have a creamy and slightly sweet taste just like a fingerling potato.
The easiest way to handle Jerusalem artichokes is to roast them with olive oil and spices. Here’s a recipe for roasting the root vegetable with cumin, anise, fennel, caraway, cardamom, garlic cloves and rosemary. You could also make things easy for yourself and roast them with extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and fresh thyme, allowing the natural nutty flavor of the sunchokes to do most of the talking.
Once you roast the sunchokes to a deep golden color, there’s no shortage of inventive ways you can use them. Toss them in a large bowl with your favorite greens to make a salad, sprinkle them on top of a pizza or smash them and mix them with creamy goat cheese and chives. You could chop them up into tiny pieces and add them to an omelet or scrambled eggs for breakfast. Roasted sunchokes also make an awesome main ingredient in vegan or vegetarian tacos or fajitas.
Get on board with sunchokes. You won’t regret having this root veggie under your belt.
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