This is one way-underrated root veggie.

By By Mara Santilli
Photo: Ted Cavanaugh

Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) belong on your plate. The gnarly looking root vegetable, which isn't actually an artichoke, looks like a chubby version of ginger. Chefs love sunchokes for their rich flavor and earthy depth. They make for some very happy surprises: Prepare them in all the same ways you would potatoes, or peel them and eat them raw. (Speaking of, try these healthy baked french fries that aren't made with potatoes.)

Sunchokes are loaded with fiber and iron, says Marni Sumbal, R.D.N., of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition in Greenville, SC. Plus, they contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, and inulin, a carb that helps keep your blood sugar level stable. The versatile veggie tastes amazing roasted, mashed, sautéed, or whipped into a purée-and shines especially bright in these meal ideas. (Related: These Roasted Vegetable and Barley Bowls Prove Healthy Food Doesn't Need to Be Bland)

1. Toss shaved sunchokes into a fresh salad.

Photo: Henrietta Red

In a small bowl, make the dressing: Whisk together 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and red chili flakes to taste. Using a mandoline or a knife, shave 3/4 pound sunchokes and one Gala apple into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Add 1/4 cup sunflower seeds and 1/4 cup pecorino or Parmesan cheese. Toss salad with dressing, top with 1/4 cup sunflower sprouts, and serve. -Julia Sullivan, chef and co-owner of Henrietta Red in Nashville

2. Make hearty sunchoke latkes.

Photo: Kiian Oksana / Shutterstock

In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup grated potatoes and 2 cups grated sunchokes (excess water squeezed out); 1 cup grated onion; 1 egg; 1 teaspoon each chopped parsley, dill, and mint; cup all-purpose our; 1 tablespoon salt; and 1 pinch each black pepper and sugar. Make 2-inch-thick patties and panfry them in vegetable oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with a pinch of salt. -Jason Campbell, executive chef of Mary Eddy's in Oklahoma City

3. Blend sunchokes into a creamy soup.

Photo: Liliya Kandrashevich / Shutterstock

Squeeze a splash of lemon juice into a bowl of water. Peel, trim, and halve pound sunchokes, dropping them into the water as you work to keep them from turning brown. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, cook sunchokes; 1 small yellow onion, chopped; 1 bulb fennel, roughly chopped; 4 garlic cloves, smashed; and 1 teaspoon ginger, chopped, in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for 2 minutes. Add 1 cups white wine and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Add 2 cups vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes more. Carefully transfer soup to a blender and purée until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. Add 1 tablespoon crème fraîche and a squeeze of lemon juice and puree again. Divide soup among bowls and top with chopped hazelnuts before serving. -Colby Garrelts, chef and owner of Bluestem and Rye in Kansas City, MO


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