Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shredded Root Vegetables over Pasta

Plate of Shredded Root Veggies over Pasta
Cheerful and Healthy Root Veggies

Recipe Adapted from Recipes from the Root Cellar

It’s that time of year when it’s officially spring, yet the temperature in our DIY “hothouse” where we’ve started garden seeds was 34 degrees last night. Looks like it will be a few weeks before we enjoy local spring veggies like snow peas, snap peas, and asparagus. In the meantime, we have winter root veggies like carrots, beets, turnips, and parsnips—and most of us are darned tired of them. Here’s a recipe for those wintry veggies that’s light-textured and sunshine-colored, the perfect antidote for a locavore’s early springtime blues.

Large cup filled with shredded veggies, with leek and garlic on side
Shredding is Key
Shredding the root veggies is key to the lightness of this dish. This also cuts way down on the cooking time, in fact the veggies need only the amount of cooking time that the pasta requires. Use a food processor to shred, and save even more time and effort. Spend your extra moments enjoying the longer--if still chilly--days, or tending to your garden-to-be (DIY hothouse instructions to be blogged soon!).

Serving bowl with Pasta and Veggies
Golden Beets Turn Pasta & Most Veggies Yellow
According to Recipes from the Root Cellar, the genius cookbook for cool weather veggies that is the source of this recipe, you can use any mixture of these veggies: carrots, turnips, parsnips, celery root, rutabagas, golden beets or red beets. I’ve chosen to use golden beets because they turn everything except the carrots a cheery post-winter saffron yellow. Note that red beets reportedly turn everything pink, which could be fun for certain occasions. It’s good to mix different flavors and colors of veggies, for example I wouldn’t use only rutabagas and turnips. I shredded roughly equal amounts of celery root (celeriac), carrots, turnip, and golden beets. The flavors blended beautifully.

Golden Beet, Turnip, Celeriac, and Carrots with Leeks
Beautiful Array of Root Veggies
As far as pasta, my husband and I like low-carb, gluten-free Miracle Noodles, made from shiritake mushrooms. They don’t need cooking, but smell almost fishy when first removed from the package. Draining, rinsing, and blanching them in boiling water helps subdue this. You can, of course, use any standard wheat pasta, rice noodles, or even rice as a bed for your sautéed root veggie sauce.

The number of leeks and garlic can vary with their size and your taste. I added a fair amount of salt and quite a few grinds of pepper. You might prefer less. We had cilantro on hand from our CSA, so I used it to garnish, a perfect raw green counterpoint to the cooked roots. You could use young parsley leaves instead, or serve the pasta with a side salad.

Recipes from the Root Cellar is worth owning. Andrea Chesman gives basic how-tos for all sorts of cool weather veggies, as well as 270 innovative recipes. Most recipes can be made with ingredients on hand. I just broke my “no more cookbooks” rule and bought a copy (the library insisted upon having theirs back), and Seasonal Eating is better for it. Stay tuned!

Shredded Veggies over Pasta Closeup
Closeup of Yum
Shredded Root Veggies over Pasta
serves 4

1 lb. linguini, fettuccine, or other pasta
~ 8 oz. carrots
~ 8 oz. golden beets
~7 oz. turnip
~7 oz. celery root (celeriac)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium or 2 small leeks
3 – 4 cloves garlic
1 cup veggie or chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
~ ¼ tsp. sea salt or to taste
~ 12 grinds black pepper, or to taste
~ 4 tsp. cilantro leaves, optional garnish

Heat a large pot of salted water for the pasta.

Wash and peel carrots, golden beets, turnips, and celery root. Grate with food processor. You may grate by hand if you prefer. You will have 4 – 5 cups packed grated veggies.

Heat olive oil in electric frying pan at about 350 degrees. Add leeks and garlic, stir and sauté till slightly cooked, about 2 minutes. Add grated veggies to frying pan and increase heat to 400 degrees F. Sauté, tossing frequently with two wooden spatulas, until veggies are somewhat limp and evenly cooked, about 8 minutes.

Pour broth and wine into frying pan. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer, about 275 degrees F. Simmer until veggies are tender, about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

While veggies are simmering, cook pasta according to package directions. If using Miracle Noodles, rinse thoroughly then add to boiling water. Bring back to boil, simmer 2 minutes, and drain. Keep warm. If using wheat pasta, reserve about 1 cup of cooking water before draining. You can add some of this to the pasta and veggies if they seem too dry.

When veggies are tender, add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Put pasta in a bowl and top with sautéed veggies. Toss together. If dry, add reserved pasta water by the tablespoon until moist. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves.

Plate of Shredded Root Veggies over Pasta
Perfect Early Springtime Fare


  1. This looks fabulous. We love shredding veggies in our house and I agree, the food processor makes quick work of it.

    I'm going to have to check this book out of my local library. Thanks for letting me know about it.

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