Burdock Is for Lovers

This once unloved, ignored root is now ready for its close-up

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Root vegetable burdock has many health benefits
It might not be the prettiest root, but burdock is delicious and good for you.

Updated Jul 25, 2018 @ 10:48 am

With all the colorful veggies out there, you may have missed burdock. This brown root is the quintessential example of an ugly vegetable that shouldn’t be judged on appearance alone.

It might look like a dirty carrot, but with the right recipe and preparation know-how, it offers a sweet, earthy flavor similar to mushrooms or beets.

This root vegetable has a stellar nutrition profile and is full of antioxidants and minerals that can help your immune system stay strong through the seasons. Burdock is as a powerful cleanser to the body, offering a natural blood purifier (if you take blood thinners, check with your doctor before eating burdock). It is also traditionally known to help clear up stubborn skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne. Want some digestive support? Burdock offers that as well, as it’s a great source of inulin, a natural dietary fiber and prebiotic.

Saute burdock and carrots together as a side dish
Burdock shows up in Japanese pickles, soups and sautés (see our burdock and carrot sauté recipe below).

In Japan, cooks regularly toss gobo (the Japanese word for burdock root) into soups and stews. Sushi restaurants pickle it and pack it into sushi. Europeans used the root as a bittering agent in beer for years before hops became the go-to ingredient, and today you can drink burdock and dandelion soda, a tasty and nutrient-packed combo.

This root can be intimidating to the modern cook. The trick to making it taste good is removing its gritty skin with a vegetable brush or a peeler. You can also give it a good soak for 15 minutes and peel the skin by hand.

Here’s our take on gobo, a Japanese side dish featuring sautéed burdock and carrots.

Gobo Sauté

  • Serves: 2
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
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Ingredients

  • 1 burdock root, peeled and sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin half moons
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a pan over medium heat and add burdock root. Cook, stirring, until the burdock is tender, about five minutes. Add the carrots and sauté for another three minutes until they begin to soften. Add tamari and honey and cook, tossing frequently, until the liquid has reduced to a glaze. Transfer to a bowl and serve.