Everything You Need to Know About Parsnips
Parsnips are white root vegetables that look very much like a cream-coloured carrot. They have a wonderful light, spicy-sweet flavour that has a hint of nuttiness while being slightly earthy tasting. They are a perfect addition to a soup or stew or can be roasted until caramelized as a hearty side dish. We love them and so does Profession Home Economist Mairlyn Smith who showcased parsnips in their own feature on Breakfast Television (click here to watch the link).
How to Select and Store Parsnips
Choose parsnips that are small to medium sized, as the larger ones tend to have a woody core that needs to be removed before cooking. You want to look for parsnips that are pale, firm, smooth, and well-shaped – avoid those that are limp, shriveled, browned, blemished and/or sport soft spots
To keep your parsnips fresh and crisp, store them in a bag in the crisper, just like you would carrots. They will keep there for up to three weeks.
How to Prepare Parsnips
Scrub well and peel with a vegetable peeler. If you happen to have large parsnips, cut out the woody stems and discard. Also, trim and discard both ends. When preparing, you can either leave them whole, dice, slice, or grate depending on what you’d like to do with them.
If you choose to boil, broil, steam, purée, or roast parsnips, keep in mind that you can use them just as you would use a carrot.
Important to Note: 1 pound = 4 medium parsnips or 2 cups peeled and chopped
- Overcooking parsnips will turn them mushy, so just cook them until tender unless you are puréeing them.
- Cut your parsnips into small pieces and they can easily be sautéed alongside your favourite veggies. Alternatively, roast them to add another dimension of caramelized flavour.
- Like a potato, parsnips will brown after they’ve been cut, peeled, and exposed to air for too long. To prepare parsnips ahead of time, peel them and place in water or sprinkle with lemon juice to keep them from browning.
- Small, younger parsnips are more tender and can be peeled or grated to add to a salad.
- Carrots and parsnips are interchangeable in most recipes.
Parsnips Go Well With
Sweet: maple syrup and brown sugar
Spices: nutmeg, ginger, garlic, and pepper
Herbs: parsley, sage, and thyme
Fruits & Vegetables: carrots, apples, potatoes, carrots, pears, spinach
Savoury: pork, chicken
Parsnip Serving Ideas
- Add boiled parsnips to your mashed potatoes for a subtly sweet flavour and more fibre.
- Roasted parsnips taste wonderful over a warm quinoa salad. Bring out their nutty flavour by adding some walnuts or pecans as well.
- Parsnips and apples are such a classic flavour match: try using it in soups, pies, or even breads.
- You can grate small, young parsnips for salad to enjoy them raw. Try our Carrot, Parsnip, Apple Salad
- Add some crunch to soups or softer foods: use a vegetable peeler to shave off ribbons of parsnip and flash-fry them in oil until crisp. Remove from oil and let drain on some paper tower. They’ll naturally add more movement and texture to your dish.
- Enjoy parsnips roastedas a delicious side dish and then use any leftovers in soup.
- Try making healthy vegetable chips with them.
- Impress your guests with this simple pork tenderloin with apple parsnip purée and blackberry wine sauce. Fancy enough for a simple fall feast, yet easy enough for a casual weeknight dinner, this recipe does not disappoint.
- Ward off a seasonal chill with this classic and comforting Ontario pear and parsnip soup.
- A side dish or possible after-school snack, these oven-roasted parsnips and carrots taste great when dipped in a sriracha mayo.
- Maple roasted root vegetables are a winning side dish for pretty much any protein on the fall and winter dinner table.
According to the Canadian Nutrient File and Health Canada’s recommended daily intake for vitamins and nutrients, 100 g of raw parsnips contain only 75 calories but pack 14% of your daily fibre, 30% of folate, 12% of magnesium, 11% of potassium, and 4% of iron.