Lotus root is one of those odd vegetables I often breezed past at Asian markets in the US because I didn't know what to do with it. Here in Japan, it's a popular vegetable that's available for most of the year, and it's super versatile.
Although it's technically a rhizome (like ginger), it can be prepared like most root vegetables. It's great in stews, roasted in the oven, or even deep fried. But my favorite way to enjoy it is to lightly boil it so that it retains its crisp texture and use it in a salad.
It has a crispy texture like water chestnut or jicama and a slightly sweet taste. The holes add a fun visual element to salads and create extra surface area for dressings to cling to. Paired with vibrant green snow peas and a nutty ginger dressing, it's a vivid combination of textures and tastes and has been a regular side dish on our table this winter.
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