It’s easy to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet during summer months, when an abundance of produce practically falls into your lap—produce, mind you, that you can eat raw or that takes just a few minutes to cook. Not so with winter produce, which is heartier and denser, meaning it takes longer to cook (and might put it out of reach on a busy weeknight).
But here’s something I’ve started doing lately to make dinner with winter veggies easier to pull off on busy weeknights: I parboil the veggies ahead of time, on Sunday when I have extra time. That gets them almost tender, to the point where they only need a few minutes of finishing to be done. So I’ll cook parsnip slices, cubes of rutabaga or celery root, or even diced russet or sweet potatoes to the point that they’re still a bit crunchy but about 80% done. Then I drain them, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, bag them, and refrigerate them to use during the week. A quick sauté in butter or olive oil finishes the cooking and browns the surface—so I can toss my parsnips into a pasta toss, my sweet potatoes into a veggie burrito. Or make my recent favorite: a poached egg-topped hash of rutabaga and russet potatoes finished with truffle oil. Yum.