What Is Salsify and How to Include It in the Diet?

Have you ever heard of salsify? We are going to show you the properties of this tuber and how to cook it to accompany your meals.
What Is Salsify and How to Include It in the Diet?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 14 March, 2023

Salsify, whose scientific name is Tragopogon porrifolius, is a tuber that is obtained between the months of March and May, mainly in the Mediterranean area. It can be white or black, and has a conical shape that can measure between 15 and 31 centimeters long (6 to 12 inches) by 2 or 3 centimeters wide (around an inch).

It’s a vegetable with a similar appearance to turnip or cassava, which is used in the preparation of stews, purees, and soups. And although it isn’t as popular as other roots, it’s valued for its health benefits, especially when included in the context of a balanced and varied diet. Want to know more about it? Read on!

Nutritional properties of salsify

From a nutritional point of view, it’s worth noting the low energy intake of salsify, with only 82 calories per 100 grams (4 oz) of product.

A publication through FoodPrint details that the root has decent amounts of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, folic acid, potassium, manganese, calcium, and iron.

In addition, it’s estimated to provide 18.6 grams of carbohydrates – mostly of the complex type – plus 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

Possible benefits of salsify

El salsifí es saludable
Including salsify regularly in the diet brings several health benefits.

One of the main health benefits of salsify is that it functions as a prebiotic food. In this way, and as a study shared in Archives of Public Health explains, it helps to improve the composition of the intestinal microbiota and, incidentally, to prevent obesity. Of course, there are other benefits. Let’s have a look at them.

The consumption of salsify should be part of a varied and balanced diet.

Improves intestinal transit

Because of its fiber content, salsify is associated with benefits for intestinal transit. In particular, this substance helps to prevent a relieve constipation. Its function is to increase the volume of the fecal bolus to generate more intense peristaltic movements, which facilitates subsequent transit.

Fiber is also linked to a lower risk of chronic intestinal diseases, such as colon cancer. It’s recommended to cover its daily requirements for optimal digestive health.

Helps strengthen the body’s defenses

Salsify contains vitamin C, a key nutrient in improving the functioning of the body’s defenses. A study in the journal Frontiers in Immunology comments that this micronutrient is key to reducing the incidence of respiratory viral diseases.

Meanwhile, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlights that salsify, being a prebiotic food, helps to regulate the composition of the intestinal microbiota and, therefore, to improve the response of the immune system.

Reduces blood pressure

Research shared through the International Journal of Molecular Sciences comments that prebiotic plants have antihypertensive potential. Hence, salsify is considered a complement to lower blood pressure levels.

One of the possible mechanisms that helps it achieve this effect is that is how it helps lower blood lipids. However, another hypothesis suggests that it’s due to its ability to attenuate insulin resistance and improve mineral absorption in the intestine.

Wider studies are needed, but consuming roots such as salsify is healthy and appears to positively impact cardiovascular health.

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How is salsify used in cooking?

Salsify is a tuber that’s often used in the preparation of stews, soups or salads. It has a slightly bitter taste and a thick skin. It’s always necessary to cook it beforehand, otherwise it could be indigestible.

By subjecting it to a cooking process, the fibers of its interior are softened, which allows the nutrients of the product to be absorbed better.

Roasted salsify

Some salsify.
There are several ways to prepare salsify at home, as it’s a very versatile food from a culinary point of view.

Finally, we’re going to show you how to prepare a recipe with salsify. It’s a simple dish to prepare, but with a high nutritional density.


  • 1/2 kilo (1 lb) of salsify roots
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee (20 grams)
  • A pinch of salt
  • Dried dill

Step-by-step instructions

  • The first thing to do is to wash the salsify well. To do this, rinse the root under the tap, removing the dirt well. It’s peeled with a suitable utensil and washed again. Then cut it into small pieces lengthwise.
  • At the same time, you need to melt the ghee in a frying pan over medium heat. Add some salt and pepper when the butter is liquid and add the pieces of salsify.
  • Cook it until the root is golden brown, turning it every so often to ensure complete cooking on all sides.
  • Once a toasted color is achieved, serve it on a plate and sprinkle dill on top before eating.
Salsify can be eaten as a starter or can be served to accompany any meat or fish.

Salsify, a healthy tuber

Salsify is a food that stands out for its content in micronutrients, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. It’s easy to cook and serves as an accompaniment to other foods, such as meat and fish.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Real Food Encyclopedia. Salsify. (n.d.). Foodprint. Available in https://foodprint.org/real-food/salsify/#:~:text=Salsify%20is%20not%20exactly%20a,of%20protein%2C%20calcium%20and%20iron.
  • Broers VJV, Van den Broucke S, Luminet O. Determinants of prebiotic vegetable consumption: the extended theory of planned behaviour. Arch Public Health. 2020 May 13;78:27. doi: 10.1186/s13690-020-00408-z. PMID: 32435478; PMCID: PMC7218641.
  • Cerullo, G., Negro, M., Parimbelli, M., Pecoraro, M., Perna, S., Liguori, G., Rondanelli, M., Cena, H., D’Antona, G. (2020). The Long History of Vitamin C: From Prevention of the Common Cold to Potential Aid in the Treatment of COVID-19. Front Immunol;28;11:574029. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.574029.
  • Yeo SK, Ooi LG, Lim TJ, Liong MT. Antihypertensive properties of plant-based prebiotics. Int J Mol Sci. 2009 Aug 10;10(8):3517-3530. doi: 10.3390/ijms10083517. PMID: 20111692; PMCID: PMC2812835.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.