Perfect Parsnips

Parsnips are root vegetables, similar to a carrot but golden yellow in color, with creamy-white flesh. They have a strong sweet flavor, and provide useful amounts of folic acid, B and C vitamins, plus plenty of dietary fiber. To prepare parsnips, top and tail, then scrub thoroughly or peel them.  You can then boil them until soft, and include them with other vegetables to create a delicious mash.  Another option is a tasty side dish of parsnips sliced like french fries, and roasted in the oven. They can also be a key ingredient in soups or casseroles. For lots of great vegetarian recipes, see The Veg-Feasting Cookbook

Recipes 

Reprinted from www.nutritionmd.org with permission 

Apple and Parsnip Soup

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium parsnips, chopped
4 cups Vegetable Broth
2 medium cooking apples, chopped
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 dash salt, to taste
1 dash black pepper, to taste  

Heat oil in a medium soup pot. Add onion and parsnips and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add vegetable broth, apples, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. In a food processor, purée the soup. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve hot.

 

Roasted Parsnips

This recipe is always a favorite in my home for holiday meals. One large parsnip easily makes enough for 2 people as a side dish, but you may find they’re so popular, you just can’t make enough!  Amanda Strombom

Serves 4

2 large parsnips & 2 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice off the top and bottom tip of each parsnip.  Peel the skin and wash the parsnips.  Slice them lengthways to make finger-sized sticks.  Arrange them flat on a well-oiled oiled baking tray or cookie sheet.  (You may need more than one tray). 

Bake for 20-30 minutes, turning them over midway to help them brown all over.  Remove from the oven when slightly crisp, and place them on paper towels to remove any excess oil before serving.

 

The following recipe is from our cookbook The Veg-Feasting Cookbook

Shepherd’s Pie
This shepherd’s pie is topped with mashed root vegetables, instead of the traditional mashed potatoes. The stew in this recipe can be made ahead of time, even frozen and defrosted before use. Herbes de Provence is a blend of dried herbs including basil, lavender, rosemary, and thyme, often sold in small clay crocks. You’ll need a total of 1 pound of lentils for this dish; experiment with your own mix or use the proportions suggested in the ingredient list. Serve Shepherd’s Pie with broccoli, sautéed kale or other seasonal vegetables.
Serves 6

Lentil Filling
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2.5 medium onions (about 1 pound), diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
2 teaspoons dried basil
1½ teaspoons curry powder
2 bay leaves
¾ cup yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
¾ cup green lentils, picked over and rinsed
¾ cup French lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
4 cups vegetable broth
3 medium carrots, diced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons vegetable bouillon powder
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ cups green peas, or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon potato starch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

Mashed Root Vegetables
1½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
and diced medium
1½ pound parsnip, peeled and diced, medium
1½ pound celery root, peeled and diced, medium
1½ pound rutabaga, peeled and diced, medium
Pinch of salt
1 cup soy creamer
3 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper

For the filling, heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion turns translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Herbes de Provence, basil, curry powder and bay leaves and sauté until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the split peas, lentils, tomato puree and vegetable broth; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the diced carrots, vinegar, bouillon powder and salt and simmer uncovered, until the lentils, peas and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the peas and the dissolved potato starch, stir, and remove from the heat. Pour the mixture into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and let cool. (At this point you may wrap the dish and refrigerate or freeze until needed.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F while you prepare the mashed root vegetables. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the rutabaga and cook for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, parsnip, and celery root and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, heat the soy creamer and margarine in a small saucepan over medium-low heat (or in the microwave). Drain the vegetables, return them to the pot and mash them, adding the warm liquid as you mash. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

Spread the mashed root vegetables evenly over the lentil mixture. Bake until light golden brown on the top, 20 to 25 minutes, and serve.

Chef’s Tip
The mashed root vegetables for the Shepherd’s Pie topping also makes a wonderful side dish; adding color, flavor and nutrients to your meal. Try serving it whenever mashed potatoes would be served. You may choose your own vegetable combination; just use a total of 3 pounds, half potatoes and half other root vegetables.