While the parsnip is considered a winter vegetable, it’s right now that the flowering plants begin to bloom.  It’s those blooms that produce the seeds to be planted in early spring, which will be harvested after the first frost in the fall.  The actual parsnip we eat is the root of the plant, which must be exposed to freezing temperatures in order to develop its sweet flavor.

Eat What:

-The parsnip’s closest relative is the carrot, although it’s paler in color and a bit sweeter

-Parsnips can be eaten raw, but are best roasted, which brings out their buttery texture and taste

Eat When:

-Parsnips are a winter vegetable and store well

-Roasted parsnips are traditionally a part of Christmas Dinner in English-speaking countries

Eat Right:

-Parsnips are rich in potassium and fiber

-If steaming or boiling, wait to peel until afterward in order to prevent as many vitamins and minerals leaching into the cooking water

-Choose smaller parsnips, as larger ones tend to have woody cores

Eat More:

-Toss cut-up parsnips into soups and stews near the end of cooking

-Substitute for carrots in almost any recipe

-Try them in muffins!

-Steam, peel and slice; puree like mashed potatoes

Roast with maple syrup

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

I’ve made this before and love it.  In fact, when I got my cookbook out to write the post, I noticed I’d written “Andrew loved this” next to the title.  Enough said.  Serve with roast chicken or salmon.

2 pounds parsnips, peeled

1 pound carrots, unpeeled

3 tablespoons good olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2.  If the parsnips and carrots are very thick, cut them in half lengthwise. Slice each diagonally in 1-inch-thick slices. The vegetables will shrink while cooking, so don’t make the pieces too small.

3.  Place the cut vegetables on a sheet pan. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss well. Roast for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetables, tossing occasionally, until the parsnips and carrots are just tender.

4.  Sprinkle with dill and serve hot


Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician.  She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related.  An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy.  Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive!  You can find her at www.thefrozenpineapple.com.