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Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Parsnips

Kathy is a busy mom of two teens who loves to cook tasty and simple food for her family and friends.

There are many ways to add parsnips to your everyday meals.

There are many ways to add parsnips to your everyday meals.

Parsnips Are Underappreciated Vegetables

Have you ever tried parsnips? Did you like them? Many people I know tell me that either they've never eaten them, or they can't stand them. They certainly don't seem to be high on the vegetable popularity list.

However, whenever I cook parsnips, people seem to enjoy them and often remark that they should cook them more often.

I thought maybe it was time to share some information about parsnips and the best ways to prepare them in order to help them gain some respect in the vegetable world.

Nutritional Benefits

  • Low in fat, calories and sodium
  • High in fiber
  • Source of vitamins C, K, E, some B vitamins, folate and protein
  • 1 cup of raw parsnips has 100 calories, less than 0.5 g fat, 24 g carbohydrates and 1.6 g of protein

What Are Parsnips?

Parsnips are root vegetables that look a lot like pale-coloured carrots. However, don't be fooled—they do not taste like carrots at all.

Parsnips can be cooked in several different ways. The most common methods are boiling, steaming, or my favourite method, roasting. I've also cooked them in my slow cooker at Thanksgiving with sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and beets, and they turned out well.

If you haven't tried parsnips before, or if you didn't really enjoy them when you did have them, read on for some simple ways to prepare parsnips that might help you change your mind about this under-appreciated vegetable.

Roasted Parsnips

In my opinion, the best way to cook parsnips is to roast them in the oven. Roasting parsnips brings out the sweetness in them and is so easy to do. You can either cook them on their own, or combine them with other root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes or beets for a delicious vegetable medley.

One of my favourite ways to cook parsnips is to make roasted parsnip fries as a side dish in the fall and winter months. It's a quick and easy recipe, and the parsnips end up sweet and delicious with a caramelized taste.

Roasted carrot and parsnip fries.

Roasted carrot and parsnip fries.

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Ingredients for Roasted Parsnip Fries

  • 4 large or 8 small parsnips
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic


  1. Peel parsnips, and slice into 2-3 inch strips.
  2. Pour olive oil and garlic into small bowl.
  3. Add parsnips and toss until coated with oil.
  4. Spread parsnips in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake in oven at 375 degrees Farenheit until lightly browned and tender (approximately 25-35 minutes).

You can also make carrot fries the same way, although they do take a little longer to cook. I often make some of both, as they go very well together.

Parsnips Are Delicious in Soups and Stews

Parsnips make a wonderful addition to a variety of soups and stews. You can use them as the main vegetable, or as a complement to other vegetables. They go particularly well with carrots, apples and pears.

I often add parsnips to my favourite slow cooker beef stew recipe—it's a great way to use up any leftover parsnips you might have in your fridge.

To make a basic parsnip soup, sautee a chopped onion and some garlic in butter or olive oil for a few minutes, then add chopped parsnips and vegetable or chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Blend the soup in a blender or with a hand mixer and enjoy. Great seasonings for parsnip soup are salt and pepper, ginger or curry powder. You can also add chopped apples, carrots or pears when you add the parsnips for a tasty variation on this basic recipe.

Here is a sampling of some other delicious parsnip soup recipes to try:

Parsnip soup is perfect on a cold fall or winter day, either for lunch or as an appetizer before dinner.

Curried Parsnip Soup Recipe

More Ways to Use Parsnips

Here are a few other ideas for adding more parsnips to your everyday meals:

  • Add some to juice or smoothie recipes. Pineapple, carrot or apple go particularly well with parsnips.
  • Grate some to add to a salad.
  • Substitute parsnips for some of the carrots in your favourite carrot cake recipe.
  • Use them in muffins, like this recipe for Spiced Apple and Parsnip Muffins from Whole Foods Market.

© 2013 Kathy Sima

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