How to Eat More Burdock Root

Most people, when doing their grocery shopping, stick to the same list week after week. The most popular vegetables in North America are tomatoes, potatoes, and lettuce. Snooze!

When is the last time you took a culinary leap and grabbed the weirdest, gnarliest looking vegetable from the produce section for the sake of experimentation?

Being a food nerd, this is actually one of the funnest things I can think of doing. I love trying new vegetables, creating new recipes, and learning more about this incredible world of edible plants we have access to.

And speaking of weird, gnarly looking vegetables, let’s shine the spotlight on burdock root.

While we don’t carry it year round at The Big Carrot, it’s in season now, and it’s pretty exciting…let me tell you why!

Burdock root is vegetable that most North Americans have never even heard of let alone seen. However, burdock, also known as gobo, is quite popular is Asia and can commonly be found in soups, stir-frys, or as a pickled appetizer. Burdock is slightly starchy and sweet, with a hint of bitterness and a subtle undercurrent of artichoke flavour, to which it is related. Because it can be tough and fibrous, burdock is best prepared thinly sliced with a mandolin or julienned.

Medicinally, burdock is used a blood cleanser, a kidney cleanser and diuretic, and is one of the primary herbs found in the Essiac herbal formula, which is used to inhibit cancer.

What else does burdock do?

  • Protects skin cells from being damaged by the sun [1]
  • Helps to balance blood sugar [2]
  • Is showing some promise in anti-cancer activity [3, 4, 5, 6]
  • May prevent the development of atherosclerosis [7]

Luckily, in addition to being a medicinal superfood, burdock is highly palatable. Although perhaps a little foreign tasting, burdock adds a delicious flavour complexity and nutritional boost to a recipe. Here are some ideas:

Baked Potato Burdock Patties

Dairy-free Cream of Mushroom and Burdock Soup

8 inches of burdock, peeled and sliced into ½ inch rounds, steamed until tender

2 cups button mushrooms, washed with stems removed and slivered

1 onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp butter

1 can coconut milk

2 cups broth

Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  • Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, and butter to a pan and cook until tender and fragrant and slightly caramelized.
  • Add steamed burdock, cooked mushroom mixture, coconut milk, and broth to a blender or food processor and blend until desired consistency. You can make it smooth and velvety or slight chunky, like I did.
  • Add salt as desired and heat to serve.

Quickie Miso and Burdock Soup Cup

1 tsp cut & dried burdock root*

1 heaping Tbsp red/blonde miso paste

1 ½ – 2 cups boiling water

Directions:

  • Add miso and burdock to a large mug and top with boiling water. Let sit for 5-7 minutes and then stir. Burdock should rehydrate and become soft and chewy. You can eat it! Makes a nice restorative, grounding beverage.

*I used the Clef des Champs dried burdock loose tea which can be found in the Wholistic Dispensary.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this homely yet mighty edible! Have you tried burdock?


Alex Picot-Annand BA (Psych), Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach

Photo Source

Resources:

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24398562

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24269245

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24222662

4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24140706

5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24021157

6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22350142

7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24140409