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The Root Cellar Garden

The rocky hills of Trondheim, Norway were under a foot of fresh snow, and I found myself on a biodynamic veg farm filming with the Cook It Raw Norway team. I’d filmed a lot of veg farms, but none this picturesque, and certainly never in winter. Pretty tough to find something interesting to talk about on a veg farm in winter that isn’t a greenhouse – unless you’re into root cellaring.

It wasn’t long into the interview with farmer Elin before we were talking about how vegetables change in texture and flavour through the winter, and most interestingly, about the gift that are the sprouts that roots produce. Shortly thereafter we were under her beautiful european farmhouse, exploring the contents of her cellar. Despite the snow outside, she had bins of root veg, sacks of potatoes, and even some soil with chard plants growing in the dark. Fascinating. I left inspired to explore shoots more at home. But it wasn’t over. Later in the trip we’d visit a couple different extremely well respected restaurants that would present me with an elegant dish featuring only a vegetable, using the shoots as an element on the plate that used the root, usually 2 or 3 different ways. It made so much sense it hurt, and the finesse they could apply to vegetables dishes was embarrassing.

This rutabaga is from my garden. I learned in Norway that 1] they call them ‘Swede’ and 2] they don’t let them get this big, because the texture gets compromised, they’re hard to work with, and they’re just not as nice. The win. So now, when something like this emerges from the cellar, rather than the shoots being discarded, they’ll be thoughtfully dressed or otherwise prepared, and go atop or aside whatever preparation the root is destined for – offering a different texture, flavour, and experience utilizing precisely the same plant. Perhaps most beautiful of all: whatever dish that might be speaks entirely of the late cellar season, something entirely not duplicable at other times of year. So exclusively pedestrian. I adore it.

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Lasagna-Stuffed Zucchini

Lasagna-Stuffed Zucchini Recipe
Swap vegetables for noodles in this healthy lasagna-inspired recipe. Stuffing zucchini boats with chicken sausage, tomato, ricotta and herbs gives you all the flavors of lasagna without all the carbs.

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Cauliflower Chicken Fried “Rice”

Cauliflower Chicken Fried "Rice" Recipe
Get an extra serving of vegetables and cut back on carbs by replacing rice with riced cauliflower in this healthy chicken fried rice recipe.

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Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl Recipe
This chipotle-flavored burrito bowl recipe is even better than takeout and just as fast. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthy dinner.

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Mexican Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Mexican Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing Recipe
Everyone will love this Mexican-inspired pasta salad recipe. We lighten up the creamy dressing with avocado for a healthier version of a picnic favorite.

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Japanese Shrimp & Eggplant Fried Rice

Japanese Shrimp & Eggplant Fried Rice Recipe
In this healthy fried rice recipe, shrimp, eggplant and edamame are tossed with tangy Japanese ponzu sauce for a delicious one-bowl dinner. If you don’t have leftover cooked rice on hand, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok—if it’s too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes.

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Japanese Shrimp & Eggplant Fried Rice

Japanese Shrimp & Eggplant Fried Rice Recipe
In this healthy fried rice recipe, shrimp, eggplant and edamame are tossed with tangy Japanese ponzu sauce for a delicious one-bowl dinner. If you don’t have leftover cooked rice on hand, be sure to thoroughly cool your rice before adding it to the wok—if it’s too warm, it creates too much steam and sticks to the wok. To quickly cool warm rice, spread out on a large baking sheet and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your ingredients, about 15 minutes.

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Kale Salad with Spiced Tofu & Chickpeas

Kale Salad with Spiced Tofu & Chickpeas Recipe
To top this zesty raw kale salad recipe, we toss diced tofu and chickpeas with a flavorful Moroccan-inspired spice mixture before roasting. The hot oven turns the outside of the tofu crisp and the inside pleasantly chewy.

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Winter Vegetable Dal

Winter Vegetable Dal  Recipe
This southern-Indian-inspired vegetable dal recipe is rich and creamy thanks to light coconut milk and gets exotic flavor from spice-infused coconut oil. Serve with flatbread or naan.