The theme of the newsletter at my work this month was naturally, Nutrition Month! In keeping with the theme of "Celebrate Food... From Field to Table!" I challenged myself to create a recipe using all locally-sourced ingredients - it didn't take too much time at the Farmers Market to make me realize this was not an easy task in late February in Calgary!
I must admit I was also being a little picky - I wanted to move away from the "Alberta beef" stereotype. I didn't want to "cheat" and buy hothouse cucumbers or tomatoes. I thought 5 lb of potatoes or carrots were a little much, and cabbage? ...I was still getting over a batch of soup that took me a little too long to finish. In the end, I decided on parsnips (which came in manageable 1 lb bags) and another walk around the market brought me to the rutabaga.
If you haven't had parsnips before, they aren't simply "white carrots". They're tough and woody, so they can't be eaten raw, but cooking them brings out stronger, sweeter flavour than their orange cousin. Gram for gram, parsnips are also higher in minerals like iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
Rutabaga are actually a cross between cabbage and turnip, putting them in the Brassica family, which is known for being high in cancer-fighting antioxidants.
And the soup itself? Despite the lack of herbs and spices (it is still winter, after all), the parsnip and rutabaga bring so much sweetness that it looks and tastes a little like applesauce. However, if you are not so concerned with eating 100% local, I would definitely encourage you to play around with some different seasonings (let me know how it goes!)
Roasted Parsnip and Rutabaga Soup
Makes about 7 cups
- 1 lb (454 g) parsnips, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 rutabaga (~300 g), peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (20 mL) canola oil, divided
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cups (750 mL) water
- ⅓ cup (85 mL) milk (I use 1%)
Nutrition Info (per cup, without cheese): 101 calories, 3 g fat (0.3 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrate (5 g fibre, 7 g sugar), 2 g protein, 24 mg sodium. An excellent source of folate. A good source of vitamin C, potassium and manganese.
- Preheat oven to 450˚F (230˚C).
- In a medium-sized bowl, toss parsnips and rutabaga together with 1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, heat remaining tsp (5 mL) of oil. Add onions and cook over low-medium heat until they become translucent. Remove from heat and add roasted vegetables and water.
- Puree soup in batches using a blender or food processor. Return soup to pot and heat, stirring in milk. Serve immediately, garnished with cheese (Sylvan Star smoked gouda is a locally-produced, award-winning choice.)