Salsify and mint risotto {vegan + gluten free}

Salsify and mint risotto

(clicca qui per la versione italiana)

Happy Monday folks!

Today’s farmers market winner is salsify, a mostly spring root that looks like a long dirty parsnip – not very appealing! – but with a pearly white flesh inside. It is native to Southern Europe and, in Italy, it grows just outside of Turin.

What to do with it? First you must rub/scrape off the dark skin, then peel it and quickly put it in a solution of water and lemon to stop it from browning. Then you can either eat it raw (grated or spiralized) drizzled with lemon, olive oil and salt or boil/steam/sauté it and eat as a side (maybe mashed?) or add to soups, stews or risotto. It tastes a lot like artichoke or celeriac and that’s because they all belong to the same family.

Did you know? Other names for salsify are black oyster plant (some people believe it tastes like oysters?!), serpent root, viper’s herb and viper’s grass, because it was thought to be efficacious against snake bites until the 16th century.

The etymology of the name salsify probably comes from the Old Italian salsifica, from Latin sal “salt” + fricare “to rub”, but it is of uncertain origin.

 Salsify and mint risotto

Farmers Market
SALSIFY AND MINT RISOTTO {vegan + gluten free}
by Marta Giaccone

serves 3
prep time: 15 min, cooking time: 55 mins, total: 1 hr 10 min (+ soaking time: 1 hr)


200gr brown rice
1 onion
2 spring onions
1 leek
2 celery stalks
5 salsify roots
1/3 cup white wine
1 lt (5 cups) vegetable stock
3 tbsp evoo
handful fresh mint

Salsify and mint risotto


  1. Soak rice for a minimum of 1 hour.
  2. Finely chop onion, spring onions, leek and celery. Heat up 3 tbsp olive oil in a medium pot, add chopped vegetables and a pinch of salt and let sauté, on a low flame, covered, for 20 minutes or until translucent.
  3. Peel salsify, dipping in a solution of water and lemon as you go. Chop and add to pot. Cook for 5 minutes, then add rice, stir and let toast for a coupe of minutes.
  4. Add white wine, quickly stir and let evaporate.
  5. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock, ½ at a time, or more, until the mixture is covered, then cover with a lid, on a low/medium flame, and let cook according to packaging instructions (always taste as brown rice sometimes takes longer!). Keep adding stock until rice is fully cooked. Turn off the heat and fold in chopped mint leaves.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

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