simple roasted parsnips
Today I have a super simple recipe for roasted spring-dug parsnips with oil, herbs and salt. This technique of cooking parsnips is as easy as can be, plus they’re a naturally gluten-free and paleo side dish.
This post was originally shared on March 12, 2015. I have updated the photos and some of the text today.
What Are Spring Dug Parsnips?
I always thought of parsnips as being a fall vegetable. I was sort of right since that’s when they stop growing. But I was also wrong too. Because while you can get harvest them in the fall, and find them in the store all through the cold season, they are even better in the spring.
When I was working on this Farm to School Cookbook project years ago, Abby (the director of the project and locavore guru) told me that parsnips are worth seeking out in the spring. They are even called “Spring-dug Parsnips.”
This means that they are technically ready/edible in the fall, but instead of overwintering them in storage, they stay in the ground and are dug in the spring. What happens is that spending the winter in the cold soil makes their starches convert to sugars making them perfectly candy like come spring.
You guys have to seek some out. Or maybe you’ve started getting them in your CSA these last few weeks or so. I got some from ours I was so excited to make something with them.
What To Make With Parsnips
I toyed around with the idea of making my Morning Glory Parsnip Coffee Cake which is a recipe from my cookbook. I know that sounds strange, but think of it sort of like carrot cake, and you’ll get the picture. But I am kinda swamped these days, and I didn’t really have the time.
Last year I discovered mashing parsnips and carrots together. OMG- you must try that friends! I also love adding them to soups, like my Cream of Cauliflower soup, or my Paleo Chicken Soup last week. They add a lovely sweetness!
That’s when I was reminded of my mission to bring you easy and low maintenance recipes, like my Simple Sauteed Swiss Chard and this basic Steamed Cauliflower recipe. You all always love these basic veggie side dishes and roasted veggies like these roasted turnips. So I decided to do that instead.
Plus, I didn’t want to mess with the simple perfection of these parsnips. Did I mention they taste like candy?!
So all I did was peel them, toss them with oil, salt and herbs and roast them until they were tender. Mercy they are good! I single-handedly ate half a batch of these in less than 24 hours. Oops! That’s a pound of parnips! #Ilovecarbs
How To Buy Parsnips
- If you’re not familiar with them, I like to say that parsnips look like white carrots. Most parsnips are relatively wide at the top and skinny/pointy at the bottom. This shape is more tapered than that of a carrot. This is totally normal.
- You can find parsnips year round, but they are best from fall through the spring. As with all root vegetables, parsnips are a storing crop, so they can be held in a root cellar or the refrigerator for several months.
- Look for parsnips that are not growing fine root hairs (that means they are over the hill and will not be as sweet.) You also want to make sure they are free from punky or slimy spots. This means they were stored with too much moisture and are rotting. If they are kept dry this shouldn’t be a problem.
How To Make Roasted Parsnips
- Preheat The Oven: Parsnips are very high in natural sugar, so they can burn more easily than roasted carrots, therefore you want to set your oven to 400 degrees. That’s slightly cooler than what you would normally use for most other roasted veggies.
- Peel The Parsnips: The first time I tried roasting parsnips was when I was in my first year of culinary school. I neglected to peel them before I roasted them, and I learned the hard way and unfortunately for the folks dining that day, I learned that you have to peel parsnips before you cut them. The skin is actually a little pithy and a little bitter.
- Use Oblique Cut: When cutting parsnips for roasting I use an oblique cut. This helps to make the pieces of the parsnip relatively uniform, even if they have a very wide top and skinny bottom. It also ensures lots of surface area for browning- which means extra sweet flavor. You can read more about how to do an oblique cut in the Ultimate Guide To Parsnips (plus much more about them!)
- Toss With Oil: To ensure a good sear on the outside of the parsnips, you’ll want to toss the chunks with olive oil. About a tablespoon will do ya.
- Add Seasoning: Toss in some salt, and then I also like to add in some dry spices or herbs. Today I used Greek Seasoning, but I have also used Italian Seasoning and Herbs De Provence instead.
- Roast The Parsnips: Then once the parsnips are spread out on a baking sheet, simply transfer them to the oven. You’ll want to stir them once or twice as they roast since the bottoms will brown first.
- How To Know When They Are Done: Depending on the size of your chunks, they will take anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes to roast. You’ll know that they are ready when you can easily slide a fork into them, and there is little resistance.
What To Serve With These Roasted Parsnips
- It is warmer and sunny right now here, so I am probably going to be grilling in the next couple days. This Grilled Pork Tenderloin with garlic and lemon zest would be super yummy with the flavor of these parsnips.
- You could also serve these roasted parsnips with my Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders recipe that everyone loves. Your oven will already be set at 400 degrees so that would be super easy!
- If you like fish, this Pan Fried Fish would be nice with these parsnips. I’d recommend the caper sauce variation with them.
- You can go wrong with Garlic Herb Chicken. It is one of my all-time favorite ways to grill chicken. Pair it with a salad with some Apple Cider Vinaigrette and you’ve got a complete meal!
Make Ahead Tips For Roasted Parsnips
You can cut the parsnips up to four days ahead. Just store them in a resealable glass container in the fridge to keep them cold and dry. When you’re ready to make them, toss them with the oil and seasonings just before roasting them.
If you have leftover parsnips they can be reheated in the microwave until they’re steaming hot. Or you can heat them in the oven. To do so place them in a glass baking dish and cover them with foil. Bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until they’re steaming hot.
Thank you for reading. If you make this recipe, please come back to leave a star rating and review! Please join me on instagram too!Print
Here is a simple recipe for roasted parsnips. Simply toss them with oil, herbs and salt and let the oven roast them into a perfect sweet and savory side dish.
- 2 pounds parsnips
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon herbs de province, Italian seasoning or other dried herb mix
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel parsnips and cut into 1-inch chunks. Toss with oil, herbs and salt in a large bowl. Spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.
- Roast, stirring once or twice, until the parsnips are tender in the center and browned in spots on the outside, 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a platter or plates and garnish with parsley.
- To tell if the parsnips are done, slide a fork into one or two. It should go in with little to no resistance.
- You can cut the parsnips up to four days ahead. Just store them in a resealable glass container in the fridge to keep them cold and dry. When you’re ready to make them, toss them with the oil and seasonings just before roasting them.
- If you have leftover parsnips they can be reheated in the microwave until they’re steaming hot. Or you can heat them in the oven. To do so place them in a glass baking dish and cover them with foil. Bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until they’re steaming hot.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 110
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 550 mg
- Fat: 4 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 20 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 1.5 g
Simple Roasted Parsnips
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