Sunchokes, also known as jerusalem artichokes, are used in a jerusalem artichoke recipe mixed with green herbs, olives and parsnips on a white plate on a wooden table

What is a Jerusalem Artichoke?

"[They have] no connection to Jerusalem nor artichokes."

The Institute of Culinary Education has teamed up with GrowNYC for a monthly series highlighting a seasonal ingredient at the farmers’ market.

This month, Plant-Based Culinary Arts Chef-Instructor, Rich LaMarita, is spotlighting the root vegetable of many names: the sunchoke. 

Sunchokes, which are also known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunroots and topinambur, are native to North America.

"[They have] no connection to Jerusalem nor artichokes," says Chef Rich.

The sunchoke is a tuber, which is the underground stems of a plant, and look very similar to ginger roots. Sunchokes are similar in texture to perhaps the most well-known tuber vegetable: potatoes.

When eaten raw, Jerusalem artichokes have a mild flavor. For those wondering about how to cook Jerusalem artichokes, the vegetables are commonly marinated with lemon juice, lime juice or an apple cider vinaigrette and added to salads or eaten alone.

When roasted, the tubers transform into tender and sweet bites with a little bitterness and astringency. Sunchokes can also be steamed, boiled or sliced thinly and fried to make chips. You don’t have to peel the skin, but make sure to wash sunchokes thoroughly before preparing. 

Last week at the Union Square Greenmarket, Chef Rich gave a demo on how to make a roasted vegetable salad starring sunchokes and two other seasonal produce items: parsnips and Swiss chard.

His recipe for Roasted Sunchokes and Parsnips, Swiss Chard, Radish Pickle, Olive & Turmeric Pine Nuts builds complexity through different textures and flavors. The roasted sunchokes and parsnips are sweet yet sharp, and are rounded out by the bitter greens, salty olives, crunchy pickled radishes and pine nuts.

Try this sunchoke recipe while the ingredients are still in season — you only have until early spring.

More from this series:


Roast Sunchokes and Parsnips, Swiss Chard, Radish Pickle, Olives & Turmeric Pine Nuts

Yield: 8 servings



For the Quick Pickled Radish:

  • 1 watermelon radish, julienned
  • 2 ounces daikon radish, julienned
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

For Assembly:

  • 1 pound sunchokes, washed and scrubbed
  • 3 parsnips, cut into bite size
  • 1/4 cup roasted garlic oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sautéing
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, cut en chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup watermelon/daikon radish pickle
  • 1/4 cup cured Moroccan olives
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and tossed with ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


For the Quick Pickled Radish:

  1. Toss the radishes with the sugar and salt. Let it sit for 1/2 hour. Rinse completely then cover the radish with cider vinegar.

For Assembly:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Toss sunchokes and parsnips with a mixture of garlic oil and extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 30-40 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, add Swiss chard stems and sauté for one minute, then add the leaves and cook until tender. Set aside.
  3. Toss sunchokes and parsnips with Swiss chard, radish pickle, olives, pine nuts and parsley. Serve immediately.

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