Main Ingredient - Parsnips
It’s hard to say if being called the love child of a potato and a carrot is a good thing or a bad thing. If I were a parsnip, I’d be happy with this description. Slightly sweet, slightly starchy, mostly delicious, and easy to cook. Full disclosure — I love parsnips. My husband, on the other hand, is one of those people who seems to consistently get confused about the “lesser” root vegetables. Rutabagas. Turnips. Parsnips. Whatever camp you fall in, it’s a great time of year for parsnips.
If you’re resolving to try a new ingredient in 2018 or just trying to eat more vegetables to kick off the new year, pick up a couple of pounds of parsnips on your next shopping trip.
Parsnips are a great addition to your basic roasted vegetable recipe. Parsnips, carrots, and potatoes, cut to roughly the same size and tossed with whole garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a dash of balsamic vinegar then roasted in a 350° oven makes an easy side. Mix leftovers (if you have any) with cooked salmon, and you’re on your way to an amazing breakfast hash. Top with two over easy eggs and you can skip lunch.
Parsnips are a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. I made these mashed parsnips with crème fraîche and chives and had to stop myself from eating the entire batch before dinner.
Cooked parsnips are also a great base for a rich and creamy winter soup. Just boil parsnips in salted water as you would potatoes, strain when cooked, and then mash with butter or pop into your blender and carefully puree, adding liquid as needed to reach a velvety consistency. Serve creamy parsnip soup topped with toasted pumpkin seeds or a bit of pesto.
If you’re looking for a healthier option, grated raw parsnips add flavor to slaws and salads. Toss thinly sliced parsnips and carrots with a sesame vinaigrette and toasted sesame seeds for an easy winter side dish, or try this super healthy shaved parsnip salad.