With all the colorful veggies out there, you may have missed burdock. This brown root is the quintessential example of an ugly vegetable that shouldn’t be judged on appearance alone.
It might look like a dirty carrot, but with the right recipe and preparation know-how, it offers a sweet, earthy flavor similar to mushrooms or beets.
This root vegetable has a stellar nutrition profile and is full of antioxidants and minerals that can help your immune system stay strong through the seasons. Burdock is as a powerful cleanser to the body, offering a natural blood purifier (if you take blood thinners, check with your doctor before eating burdock). It is also traditionally known to help clear up stubborn skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne. Want some digestive support? Burdock offers that as well, as it’s a great source of inulin, a natural dietary fiber and prebiotic.
In Japan, cooks regularly toss gobo (the Japanese word for burdock root) into soups and stews. Sushi restaurants pickle it and pack it into sushi. Europeans used the root as a bittering agent in beer for years before hops became the go-to ingredient, and today you can drink burdock and dandelion soda, a tasty and nutrient-packed combo.
This root can be intimidating to the modern cook. The trick to making it taste good is removing its gritty skin with a vegetable brush or a peeler. You can also give it a good soak for 15 minutes and peel the skin by hand.
Here’s our take on gobo, a Japanese side dish featuring sautéed burdock and carrots.