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Roots 'n' greens: Add some sweet to your savory

Though we Americans tend to overdo the amount of sugar in our diets, I admit to loving the now well-entrenched “spoonful of sugar” food trend ... you know, the one that has us adding a hint of sweetness to otherwise savory dishes. It’s the concept behind Brussels sprouts drizzled with maple syrup and butternut squash paired with caramelized onions.

The idea works with greens, too. This fall I’ve taken to combining naturally sweet root vegetables, like carrots and sweet potatoes, with pungent greens. The net balance is a little surprising, but comforting, too.

If you’ve never tried hakurei turnips before, now is a great time of year to do so. The little round, white turnips themselves taste more like a radish than a traditional turnip, only sweeter. In fact, you can eat them raw like a radish. Their greens are milder than traditional turnip greens as well, but they still have a hint of a bite. In my recipe for Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Turnips and Greens, I roast the hakurei turnips with sweet potatoes, throw in a handful of candied dried cranberries just for fun, and then serve them with the greens, quickly sautéed, for a side dish of yin and yang.

I love carrots, and I love mustard greens, so I’m not sure why it took me this long to think of combining them in this recipe for Sauteed Carrots and Mustard Greens. Almost magically, a sprinkling of nutmeg (use freshly grated if you can) brings it all together in a quick accompaniment to, say, a roasted chicken.

Of course, all of these veggies are in season right now and easily acquired at your nearest farmers market.