In late February/early March, NOTHING is in season in Illinois. Really, nothing. I dare you to find something that grows here naturally during these months (besides discontent with winter–zing!) Field To Plate confirmed my suspicions when I used their handy dandy seasonal foods guide. It lists every state and gives resources for each to help you find out what’s growing, where it’s growing, and when. This, along with the one from Simply in Season, will be my go-to cooking and shopping resources once the warm air finds its way back to us. Until then, I’m making do. This crispy snack uses root vegetables–sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets– because they can be picked during the latest months and stored for long periods of time. It’s the closest I’m getting to cooking seasonably these days.
These crunchy, baked straight from the oven vegetable chips are incredible because they satisfy both sweet and salty cravings while packing a serious nutritional punch. I used sweet potatoes, beets, and parsnips for this recipe, but you can substitute your favorites such as regular potatoes, turnips, or even carrots in place of any of these. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’re getting with the three I used:
You may have already heard whispers about the health powers of sweet potatoes which contain tons of beta carotene (an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A when absorbed), calcium, vitamin C, and potassium. They also have a low glycemic index which means they digest slowly and reduces the possibility of a spike in blood sugar later on
A great source of vitamin C, these ruby red vegetables can improve immune function and have even been shown in some studies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems
This sweet root contains tons of dietary fiber and is high in Folic acid, vitamin C, and antioxidants that increase its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties
Bonus: these chips are baked, not fried in oil, so they have less fat than traditional potato or kettle chips. I topped mine with a little sea salt and a decent amount of brown sugar, but you can leave off the sugar or add some cayenne, paprika, garlic, etc. if you want a more savory crunch.
Ok, enough talk. Let’s make the chips!
Sweet Baked Root Vegetable Chips
1-2 sweet potatoes
1 tbs brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Slice all vegetables into very thin rounds (try to keep the sizes uniform so they cook more evenly)
3. Sprinkle vegetable slices with lemon juice then coat them in oil on either side before spreading the slices in one layer across a baking sheet
—–note: you may need to use several baking sheets to achieve this. I separated the beets from the other vegetables while tossing with oil to avoid having their color transfer onto the others, but if you aren’t going for aesthetics, no need to worry!
4. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning halfway through
5. Toss with brown sugar right as the chips come out of the oven
Commence crunching :)