Here comes fall, and with it tasty fall and winter vegetables, like the parsnip! Parsnips are a tasty treat alone and can also provide natural sweetness to dishes. Parsnips are relatives of the carrot, ranging from a pale yellow to off-white hue. It is no coincidence that many dishes include both carrots and parsnips, as they do complement each other nicely.
Parsnips are rich in vitamins C and K which are both vital to healing processes. They also contain potassium for heart and muscle health, folic acid for cell generation, and fiber to aid in smooth digestion.
Like other root vegetables, when choosing your parsnips, make sure that you pick those that are firm and crisp. Avoid parsnips with moist spots and many hair-like rootlets. Store parsnips in your refrigerator crisper up to 2 weeks or on the counter top 1-2 days if you plan to prepare them sooner. Remove green tops if still attached prior to storage, as they will draw in moisture.
Pro tip: Larger parsnips tend to have a tough core and are over-mature. They are most tender at about 8 inches in length and can reach 20 inches!
Parsnips can be a healthy snack choice with hummus, roasted with carrots, mixed into a salad as a side, or the perfect addition to a mixed dish such as stew or shepherd’s pie.
Here is a recipe that incorporates parsnips and will warm you up just as that cold weather rolls in!
- 2 pounds parsnips peeled and cut into 1/2 in pieces
- 1/4 cup olive oil divided
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 ea garlic clove
- 1 medium onion
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 ea bay leaf
- 1 1/2 quart low sodium vegetable broth
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the parsnips, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together and place in a single layer in a baking pan. Roast the parsnips about 60 minutes. Rotate 1-2 times. Trim away any burned areas and set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and cook until translucent and softened. Stir in the parsnips, bay leaf, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, partially cover the pot and simmer about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
Puree the mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. If using a blender, return the soup to the pot. Heat the soup over low heat and stir occasionally until warmed through.