The most commonly consumed root vegetables include carrots, beets, garlic, turnips, potatoes, rutabaga, onions and sweet potatoes. Called root vegetables because the part of the plant being eaten is actually the plant's root, these are nutritional powerhouses that pack in vitamins and minerals. The starchy tubers and taproots of plants, root vegetables can be prepared in countless ways to complete a meal.
While most commonly colored orange, carrots come in a variety of colors, ranging from white to purple. Loaded with beta carotene and vitamin A, carrots have a mellow sweet flavor that tastes good both raw and cooked in a number of dishes. Onions and garlic, on the other hand, are used primarily to lend flavor to a variety of foods.
Beets, turnips, potatoes, rutabaga and sweet potatoes are all typically cooked before eating. Preparation methods vary, but braising, grilling, boiling and roasting are all popular methods of cooking. When softened, many root vegetables can be mashed to create a creamy side dish. Root vegetables can also be dried in thin slices to create vegetable chips that are both healthy and filling. Root vegetables can also be baked into a gratin, grated and made into hashbrowns or fried to make vegetable fries.