Two-Timing: Sweet or Savory Root Vegetable Pancakes

Seasonal. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. It’s part of the locavore, slow-food movement–of which I’m a huge fan but not necessarily a devotee. I try to buy produce that is in season, both for environmental and taste reasons. That said, I’ll be the first to admit that I relish the fact that I have the privilege to get avocados and blueberries year-round.

http://www.cuckooforcoupondeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Seasonal-food-chart.jpg

Not sure who Leon is, but I love this chart!

One website I love if you are looking to lower you and your family’s dietary impact on the environment and support local farmers is Eating Well’s seasonal food guide. You can even check out what foods are considered seasonal by state–no one size fits all here!

So what’s in season you say? With fresh local veggies and fruits dwindling, root vegetables, tubers and squash should be your nutrient-rich go-tos for the colder months. There are countless ways to incorporate these seasonal staples into your recipe arsenal. From soups to veggie burgers, cooking with root vegetables and potatoes makes hearty, healthy winter meals a breeze.

Shredded sweet potato, parsnip, turnip and carrot

In case you aren’t already sold, check out these nutrition benefits:

  • Since root vegetables are grown underground they absorb a lot of vitamins and minerals from the soil, namely vitamin C, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and folate, and essential minerals like potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and even iron.
  • All root vegetables are an excellent source of dietary fiber which not only keeps your full for longer, but may also lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and help regulate blood sugar levels. Forbes has a great article on the benefits of a diet high in fiber.
  • Potassium naturally prevents fluid retention and regulates blood pressure.
  • Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It also helps your body absorb iron and make collagen for healthy bones and cartilage.
  • Folate is essential for having a healthy pregnancy and is a key B vitamin for women trying to conceive and those who are already pregnant.
  • Beta-carotene will keep your peepers in top shape as it has been linked to reduced incidence of macular degeneration.

Sweet or Savory Root Vegetable Pancakes

Sweet or Savory Root Vegetable Pancakes

What You’ll Need (Two Ways):

~Each version makes about 10 medium pancakes.~

Sweet (ONE): top w/ a light drizzle of maple syrup

  • 6-8 cups grated root vegetables (I used 1 sweet potato, 2 carrots, 2 parsnips and 2 turnips; other options include celery root and beets)
  • 1/4 cups corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • grapeseed oil for light frying

Savory (TWO):top with a poached egg

  • 6-8 cups grated root vegetables (I used 1 sweet potato, 2 carrots, 2 parsnips and 2 turnips; other options include celery root and beets)
  • 1/4 cups corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cups nutritional yeast or finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs minced chives
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • grapeseed oil for light frying

How to Make Them:

  1. Grate all vegetables using a sharp cheese grater.
  2. For the Sweet version, mix together in a large bowl with corn starch or arrowroot powder, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne. For the Savory version,  mix together in a large bowl with corn starch or arrowroot powder, nutritional yeast (or grated cheese), chives and cayenne.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, whip up your eggs.
  4. Pour egg mixture over veggie mix and toss until evenly coated.
  5. Heat 1-2 tbs grapeseed oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  6. Scoop out 1/4 cup of the mixture at a time, forming into compact balls with your hands. Place them into your hot pan and flatten each down using a spatula.
  7. Cook over medium heat, 3-5 minutes per side.

Serve immediately. For the Sweet version, plate two or three pancakes and serve with a drizzle of grade A maple syrup (the good stuff!) and a side of turkey bacon or fruit. For the Savory version, try serving two pancakes over a bed of arugula or baby spinach and topping it off with a poached or fried egg.