Roasted Sunchokes with Creamy Lemon Sauce

During the early fall growing up in NJ, I remember a raised garden bed at my parents’ house that was full of tall stalks dotted with bright yellow sunflowers reaching towards the sky. Later in the fall my sister and I would have a blast digging through the soil searching for Jerusalem artichoke tubers, as well called them. We would rub off the dirt, toss them in a bowl, and send them into the kitchen for my mom to work her magic.

When I moved away to go to college, I forgot all about these little earth apples and our fall harvest tradition. So I was thrilled to see them at the grocery store this past fall and grabbed a bag.

Jerusalem artichokes are also commonly known as sunchokes, which I personally think is a better name given their membership in the sunflower family. They are unassuming and boring looking, little brown and cream knobs with an interesting whorled pattern.

Sunchokes are a fantastic food to include in your overall diet. They are an awesome source of potassium and iron. Sunchokes are comprised mostly of inulin, which is a sugar that we cannot digest, but that our gut bacteria LOVE. The bacteria will go on an all-out feeding frenzy. They will also produce a lot of, erm, gaseous byproducts. (Some people will be more susceptible than others; some may not even notice anything out of the ordinary. It all depends on what your gut looks like. So start slowly with them even though you might be inclined to eat the whole bowl.) Due to the high inulin, they have a very unique texture that is quite different from starchier, higher protein root veggies like potatoes.

Sunchokes also they have some serious flavor due to the inulin. When you roast them, the outside becomes caramelized and slightly tough while the inside is creamy and nutty and earthy and sweet. I like to offset the sweetness with a little acidity from lemons or spice from fire roasted chilis or fresh green herbs or something creamy. Or a combination.

 

This recipe features my favorite aspects of the sunchokes: the flavors and textures and colors pitted against one another, creamy versus a little sour, sweet versus earthy, green popping against the otherwise neutral and earthy tones. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

Roasted Sunchokes with Creamy Lemon Sauce
Yield: Serves 2-3 as side
Time: ~25-30 minutes

Ingredients
.75 lb sunchokes, washed and cubed into bite-sized pieces
2-3 cloves garlic, quartered
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
.5 lemon, zested and juiced
2 Tbsp chopped assorted herbs (such as basil, parsley, chives, marjoram, celery leaves)
1 Tbsp mayonnaise OR plain, unsweetened Greek or non-dairy yogurt
sea salt, to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
2. Toss sunchokes, garlic, olive oil, and 1 tsp sea salt together, then arrange sunchokes single-layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the sunchokes are turning golden and smelling nutty, about 15-20 minutes.
3. In a serving bowl, mix lemon juice and zest, herbs, and mayonnaise. Add salt to taste. Add more lemon juice or a little more mayonnaise if needed to balance flavors.
4. Toss roasted sunchokes in the sauce and serve hot.



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