Hands-down the 3 easiest ways to cook confusing vegetables

A photograph of the author, Molly Mitchell.

By Molly Mitchell

August 30, 2018

Hands-down the 3 easiest ways to cook confusing vegetables

In This Article

  • Ask yourself (or Google) 3 questions:
  • Will it salad?
  • Will it roast?
  • Will it pickle?

Find your local CSA

Subscribing to a CSA is awesome. It’s like Christmas, except Santa comes EVERY WEEK with yummy gifts! For the uninitiated, CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. When you subscribe to a CSA, you get a weekly box of locally-grown seasonal fruits and veggies (and sometimes meat, eggs and other staples). It’s a great way to eat fresh, healthy food while supporting local farmers.  

But for those of us who aren’t exactly foodies, some of the vegetables that sometimes come in your CSA can be real head-scratchers. What is a kohlrabi, anyway? What does one do with what seems like thousands of turnips?? How does one cook with beets without the kitchen looking like a crime scene after the fact???

If you find yourself in this position, ask yourself (or Google) the three following questions and you will find a relatively easy way to avoid the accumulation of rotting veggies and guilt in your fridge.

1. Will it salad?

kohlrabi salad
Photo via

Probably! Just slice and dice those bundles of kohlrabi, garlic scapes, beets or mystery peppers to make a unique and delicious salad or slaw!

2. Will it roast?

Pan of vegetables going into the oven to roast.
photo via

Almost certainly! Roasting vegetables is SO EASY! Especially recommended for beets—this is the least messy way to deal with them. Chop up whatever you might be struggling with—turnips, carrots, potatoes, squash—dust them with salt, pepper and whatever other flavors you like with a splash of olive oil and throw them in the oven on a baking sheet with foil. Google is your friend when it comes to specifics of how long to cook which veggies, but the basic concept is pretty universal, super easy and super tasty!

3. Will it pickle?

Support Sustainable, Local Food

By the way, New South Cooperative has an amazing Heifer-supported CSA program. Sign up or donate to support Heifer's work to cultivate local food and sustainable farming in the U.S. and around the world!

Maybe roasting and salading unknown CSA elements is too basic for you. Maybe you’re looking for a more creative option. Maybe you keep getting carrots, but you hate the taste of carrots. Pickling could be your answer!

Don’t glaze over this part because it sounds hard! You can get that invigorating pickled zing without the pre-planning, sterilizing jars and worrying about e. coli with the quick-pickle method. You can do it with pretty much any veggie that is firm enough that it won’t dissolve into mushy goop. For example: yes to chard stems, no to chard leaves.