The sunchoke aka Jerusalem artichoke has been something that I’ve been eyeing for years at farmers’ markets. First in the Philly Reading Terminal and again in the markets out in LA. I’ve only had it once, while visiting family in northern Sweden. It was prepared in a soup on a cold and rainy day. And it was delicious. But I had always been a bit intimated to cook it myself. Maybe it was the name or the fact that it looked like ginger or sometimes one of those Mandrakes from Harry Potter. Artichokes tend to be a bit intimidating themselves. But a sunchoke (a term supposedly coined by a farmer to make the tuber more appealing) is nothing like an artichoke besides the name. So what is it?
A sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke is a tuber that is in the same family as the sunflower. They’re high in iron, fiber, and B vitamins. They have an earthy, nutty flavor that you can eat raw, or can be grilled, roasted, sautéed or boiled. (Some have advised against eating too much raw b/c it can cause some serious gas, so be forewarned).
Not only do these little ginger-looking knobs tout health benefits, but they are also delicious. Combined with apples (I prefer honeycrisp) along with a bit of spice and herbs, you have a tasty side dish that is perfect for fall and seems fancy since the sunchoke has not yet become a ubiquitous addition to the average table.
I was inspired to prepare this dish when I was invited to a dinner at my friend’s house prepared by her new guy, who happened to be a chef. Like a legit chef who made us 8 course meals and tapas style dinners with about 100 different tapas plates (okay maybe like 10, but still). One of them was a sunchoke curry that I could just not stop eating. I just had to try it for myself, so I asked him if he thought it would pair well with apples and he began to give me a recipe that was music to my ears. In hopes of keeping it simple for the non-gourmet chef like myself, (and the average person) I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it vegan friendly and easy to source ingredients. With a bit of chopping and roasting, you’ll have yourself a new fall favorite side dish!
Roasted sunchoke & apple salad
- 1 lb . sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichoke), scrubbed
- & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp . olive oil
- S & P
- 1 honeycrisp apple , chopped
- 1 tbsp . basil , chopped
- 1 tbsp mint , chopped
- 1 tbsp cilantro , chopped
- 1-2 tbsp chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1-2 tsp samba olek or harissa paste
- 1 tsp honey
- S & P to taste
- red pepper chili flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 350˚F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss sunchokes with olive oil & season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 30-35 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk dressing ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined & set aside.
Add in sunchokes, apples, herbs, and chopped walnuts and toss to combine. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to serve.