How to make the most of root vegetables

Sweet, earthy, nutty and downright delicious, cooking with root vegetables is one of the best things about the return of the cooler weather. British root veg season runs from late summer through to early spring, and varieties include beetroot, carrots, celeriac, parsnips, swede, sweet potatoes and turnips. Get inspired by these creative ways of cooking them.

  1. Flavour-packed roasting

    Roasting creates tender, golden veg with very little effort. Chop large veg into similar-sized pieces to make sure they all cook evenly, or roast small varieties whole. They work well with strong flavours – try adding savoury miso to honey baked parsnips to balance out their sticky sweetness, take some inspiration from North Africa with this harissa-roasted veg, or give your Sunday lunch some spice with these cumin and fennel hasselback carrots.

  2. Hearty salads

    Once roasted, veg like this is perfect for turning a simple salad into something much more robust – pair with grains, pulses or cheese as well and you've got a really satisfying meal. Try sweet potato with lentils and feta or turnips with barley and Stilton.

  3. Raw and crunchy

    Grating, shredding, ribboning and spiralising fresh root veg is a great way to add texture and bite. Try this grated carrot sandwich for a simple lunch that the kids will love, or shred celeriac into this fennel and pear salad for the ideal savoury and sweet combination. Grated beetroot makes a crunchy slaw for these falafel wraps, while beetroot rice makes a tasty no-carb side when blitzed into grains.

  4. Super snacks

    Sticking with a bit of crunch, why not give making your own vegetable crisps a go? Sliced finely and baked, they make delicious alternatives to potatoes and are easy to make at home. These baked beetroot, parsnip and sweet potato crisps make a colourful snack, or try adding a little spice to these sweet parsnip crisps.

  5. Non-beefy burgers

    Root veg are perfect for ensuring veggie patties are satisfying and full of substance, whether with or without meat. Start off with these hybrid beef and beetroot burgers, or go fully meat-free with carrot and feta burgers, carrot and peanut butter burgers, or Mexican sweet potato burgers.

  6. Do you want fries with that?

    Of course you do. Just like spuds, all sorts of other root veg can be baked into crispy fries, chips and wedges. Sweet potato works particularly well; try as shoestring fries or thick, spiced wedges. For the more adventurous, ramp up the colour with rainbow chips of carrots and celeriac, too.

  7. Have a mash up

    Go beyond the humble spud with your mash, too. Turnips add a slight peppery note to a standard mash in this roast beef recipe, or try combining sweet roasted garlic with celeriac in a smooth purée. For something a little brighter, the herby contrast of this carrot and tarragon mash, and the unusual flavours of this chive and miso sweet potato recipe are the way to go.

  8. Lovely layers

    Rich, creamy and incredibly comforting, a layered vegetable bake is sure to hold off any winter chill. Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to make a sweet potato dauphinoise, or try a cheesy parsnip gratin or crispy crumb-topped celeriac and leek bake

  9. Soothing soups

    A steaming bowl of soup is the ultimate easy comfort food. Pair root veg with spices that will bring out their earthy sweetness: carrot with ginger and turmeric is fragrant and hearty, while sweet potato, chilli and lime packs a bit more of a punch. The mild flavour of parsnip works well in this curry-spiced parsnip and apple soup, and this creamy parsnip soup topped with a fresh coriander pesto.

  10. Brilliant baking

    If you like the sweet, moist texture of carrot cake, then you'll love baking with other root vegetables, too. This spiced parsnip cake is a great alternative and these celeriac and walnut muffins have the perfect mix of sweetness and crunch. Surprise guests with these cardamom-spiced brownies that include earthy swede in the rich, chocolatey batter.