Root Vegetable Roundup: 5 to Try

Publish Date April 27, 2023 3 Minute Read
Author Lisa McCune, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Exploring nontraditional root vegetables is a great way to explore new foods. They can easily replace or complement other root vegetables like potatoes, carrots and onions. Parsnips, rutabaga, kohlrabi, jicama and daikon may be lesser known, but are easy to add to meals and dense in important nutrients. Because root vegetables grow underground, they absorb vital minerals and vitamins from the soil. They also offer antioxidants and fiber, making them heart healthy choices. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of five unusual root vegetables and how to get creative with them in the kitchen.


Parsnips look like white carrots and can generally be used in the same ways as carrots are. They have a sweet taste and pack a huge nutritional punch. Per one cup serving, parsnips provide 7 grams of fiber, more than 20% of the Daily Value. The benefits of eating high fiber foods are well known, including maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and promoting healthy digestion and weight. Parsnips are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate.

How to use parsnips: Try mashing, baking or roasting parsnips. They make easy and delicious additions to soups, stews and salads as well. Try them in this Roasted Root Vegetable Quinoa Salad.


Think of a rutabaga as a cross between a turnip and cabbage. Rutabagas contain vitamin C, which provides antioxidant benefits, fiber, and potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that has many important jobs in your body. It promotes muscle health and nerve function, regulates fluid balance and blood pressure, and supports healthy bones. Rutabagas can also help your body defend itself against harmful molecules that promote cancer and chronic disease.

How to use rutabaga: Make sure to peel rutabagas before cooking. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Try using them in place of potatoes: grated, mashed, roasted or as fries.


Kohlrabi is related to cabbage and is similar in taste and texture. It’s often mistaken as a root vegetable (so we’re including it here!), but kohlrabi actually belongs to the Brassica genus of plants and is related to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Its taste and texture are similar to those of broccoli stems and cabbage, but sweeter. Its leaves, stems and bulbs are all edible. Kohlrabi is low in calories and provides fiber, as well as Vitamin C. Adding this unique vegetable to your diet regularly can help support a healthy immune system and increase iron absorption in meals.

How to use kohlrabi: Use kohlrabi leaves in salads and soups or sauté in a stir fry. Chop or grate the bulb to add crunch to your dishes.


Jicama is also known as “Mexican potato” and has a taste similar to a water chestnut. Like other root vegetables, jicama has an impressive nutrient profile. It’s a source of Vitamin C and fiber. It provides Vitamin E and iron as well. Jicama’s combination of nutrients is beneficial for heart health, digestion, weight control, and reducing risk for certain cancers.

How to use jicama: This vegetable is so versatile! Remember to remove the peel before eating. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Use jicama sticks as a snack by themselves or use them to dip in guacamole or hummus. Jicama is a great way to add crunch to green salads or tacos and in fruit salad. It also makes a great zesty slaw!


Daikon is a variety of winter radish with a crunchy texture and a milder flavor than spring radishes. Daikon radishes can be found in a variety of colors and shapes; you may be familiar with the green skin and pink flesh of watermelon radishes. Daikon radishes provide fiber, vitamin C and folate. Folate is a B vitamin that helps make blood cells and is especially important during pregnancy to ensure healthy development of the baby.

How to use daikon: Eat daikon raw, cooked or pickled for a refreshing crunch! Try it roasted, in stir fry dishes, in curries or as an addition to soups and stews.

Adding these unusual vegetables to your weekly shopping trip can help you get out of a recipe rut and offer benefits for your health! For more information on root vegetables or other nutrition topics, make a telenutrition appointment with one of our Kroger dietitians.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.