Simplicity Gourmet's Parsnip-ology: The History, Health Benefits, and Recipes with Parsnips

Have you ever come accross a Parsnip while meandering through the produce department and wondered to yourself, "What in the world is a parsnip?!" Well, wonder no more! I think that a lot of people are intimidated by parsnips simply because they don't know what to do with them...which makes me very sad for them. Don't judge a book by its cover!

Parsnips are so incredibly yummy - they are filled with a nutty, peppery, sweet flavor all at the same time; one that you just won't find in any other veggie. They are good pretty much any way that you want to make them: roasted, baked, fried, sautéed, mashed, and they are awesome in deserts (a lot like it's cousin the carrot). Historically, Parsnips were the vegetable of choice among Europeans over their starchy counterparts, carrots or potatoes. They were introduced to America in the late 16th century but sadly come in a dismal third to carrots and potatoes to the underdeveloped America palate.

Parsnips are a root vegetable, resembling a creamy white carrot but are considered far more nutritionally superior. They are considered to be beneficial for lowering cholesterol and loosing and maintaining a healthy weight. They are low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. They are high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folic Acid, Manganese, and Potassium.

Parsnips are at their best late fall to early winter, after the first frost; the cold turns their starch into sugar which gives them a supremely sweet flavor which, in turn, makes them so yummy in candied dishes and desserts. They are available at your grocer from late fall through early spring - so, for many of you out there, it's the perfect time for parsnips in your area - make sure to support your local farmer's market and get indulge in some yummy, organic parsnips!

When you get your parsnips home from the market, it's best to wrap them in a moist paper towel, place them in a large plastic storage bag or container, and store them in a dark location in your fridge. They will keep for more than two weeks, so, don't be shy - buy them in bulk!

There are 3 Parsnip Side Dishes and 1 Parsnip Dessert that are musts at my house this time of year. The recipes below are designed for waterless cooking; if you need any adaptations to these recipes, please email me anytime: ksnyder@simplicitygourmet.com. I hope you enjoy these special Parsnip recipes as much as my friends, family, and I do.

Parsnip Au Gratin

Parsnip Au Gratin
Parsnip Au Gratin

Parsnip Au Gratin

Saute ½ Cup of chopped Organic Hazelnuts (could also use Pine Nuts) in the 8.5" Saute pan on Medum heat until the nuts are aromatic; set aside. Prepare 4-5 thickly sliced Organic Bacon strips - chopped. Saute in 8.5" Saute pan on medium heat until golden brown; transfer the bacon to a large mixing bowl, reserving the drippings in the saute pan (turn the burner off). Peel and slice 2 lbs Medium Organic Parsnips on the Master Kut using the #4 cone and grate 1 Cup of fresh Organic Parmesan Cheese on the #1 Cone (set the cheese aside for later use). Mix the parsnips with the bacon and ¼ cup of the Hazelnuts. In a second mixing bowl, combine 2 cups Organic Whipping Cream (can sub with whole or 2 % milk), 1 Cup low sodium Chicken Broth, 1 ½ tsp Kosher Salt, 1 tsp freshly ground Organic Black Pepper, and ½ Cup of the Parmesan Cheese. Add the bacon drippings to the bottom of the large skillet. Arrange ½ of the parsnip mixture in the skillet. Top with half of the cream mixture and sprinkle w/ 1 TBSP of Organic Sage; repeat this layer. On the very top, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan Cheese and the other ¼ cup of toasted Hazelnuts. Cover, whistle open, and cook on medium heat. When the whistle sounds, turn the whistle valve to "V" for vent and turn the burner to low. Cook on low for 10 minutes and turn the burner off. Allow to stand, covered, for 10-12 minutes to set up.

Mashed 1/2 & 1/2

Mashed 1/2 & 1/2
Mashed 1/2 & 1/2

Mashed 1/2 & 1/2

Peel and cube 4 large Organic Golden Yukon Potatoes and 6 medium Parsnips. (you could also use all parsnips - you would need 2 ½ - 3 lbs). Combine in the 4 qt saucepan with 2 Cups of Low Sodium Chicken Broth. Cover, whistle open, and cook on medium heat. When the whistle sounds, turn the whistle valve to "V" for vent and turn the burner to low. Allow to cook 12-15 minutes longer or until tender. Meanwhile, heat ½ Pint of Organic Cream (could also sub any % milk that you wish) & ½ Cup Organic Butter in the 1.5 qt saucepan on low heat until the butter is melted and the cream is heated through. Cover, whistle closed, and set aside until the potato/parsnip mixture is ready. Mash the potato/parsnip mixture with a hand masher or electric mixer on low speed. Slowly add the cream mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. For an extra kick, you could add 2-3 tsp minced Organic garlic if you like.

Herb Roasted Parsnips

Herb Roasted Parsnips
Herb Roasted Parsnips

Herb Roasted Parsnip

Peel and cube 2 lbs Organic Parsnips into bite size pieces. Dice 1 Organic Sweet Yellow Onion and mince 4 Organic Garlic Cloves; toss together with the parsnip until well combined. Toss the mixture with ¼ Cup of freshly chopped Organic Basil, 2 TBSP fresh Organic Rosemary sprigs, and ½ to 1 packet of Organic Onion Soup Mix (use according to you tastes - the brand I use is "Simply Organic"). Toss the entire mixture with enough Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to coat well. Spread out on a large baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, turning frequently, until the parsnips are tender. Serve with your favorite meat or as an addition to a vegetable plate.

Parsnip Ginger Spice Cake

Parsnip Ginger Spice Cake

Grate 1 Medium Parsnip and ½ Small Zuchinni using the Master Kut with the #1 Cone. Grate 1 TBSP Fresh Organic Ginger. Prepare 1 Cup of Chopped Walnuts, set aside. Mix 1 Box of Organic Spice Cake Mix, ½ Cup of Chopped Walnuts, 2 TBSP Purple Raisins, 2 TBSP Golden Raisins, ¼ tsp Organic Nutmeg, ¼ tsp Organic All Spice, and ¼ tsp Organic Ground Cloves until well combined. Add 2 large Organic Eggs, 1 ½ tsps Vanilla extract, 1/8 Cup of Water, the vegetables and the ginger to the cake mixture. Mix until thick and gooey. Spray the large skillet with non-stick spray and add the cake batter to the skillet. Cover, whistle turned to "C" for closed and bake on medium heat for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to Low and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the center is cooked through. Meanwhile, make your frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together 8 oz of Organic Cream Cheese and ½ Cup Organic Butter. Add ½ tsp of Organic Vanilla Extract and 2 Cups Organic Confectioner's Sugar; blend on a low speed until smooth and creamy. When the cake is done. Flip it out onto a serving platter and allow to cool. When it's cooled, frost with the cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with the remaining ½ Cup of Chopped Walnuts.

Comments 1 comment

NancyLin 7 years ago

Way to go, Katie! I've never had parsnips. Now I have to try them!

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