How Do You Eat That Vegetable? Parsnips.

Vegetable Series: When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable. Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart. For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things. May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket! Go get ’em, tiger.


“I LOVE those French fries!”Parsnips in basket edited

Have you tried parsnips?  Have your kids tried parsnips?  Do you or your family like parsnips?  Do you have a great parsnip recipe?  Do you know what parsnips are?

For my kids, I often find keeping dishes simple and flavors not too complex suits their taste buds more at this young age.  Plus, when you’re eating a whole, real foods lifestyle, faster and easier is much better for the cook, too!  We made parsnip “fries” to prepare for this post.  When my husband and kids came into the kitchen, I was frantically grabbing fries to stash and hide behind the coffeemaker so I wouldn’t have to make more to photograph!  I was glad the “fries” were a gastronomical success!  M5 year-old daughter said, “I love those French fries, Mom.”

This wasn’t always the case.

If you can do it with a potato…

As I’ve pointed out, we’ve only been eating this way for about two years now.  The word out there is:  If you can do it with a potato…you can do it with a parsnip.  So I tried parsnips in soups, roasts, mashes, and casseroles.  (“What is this, Mom?”  As in, they didn’t approve.)  I even made parsnip fries, which you could tell they didn’t mind, but they didn’t really eat many.  My kids were just too close to their potatoes.  Near removal of the potato and addition of parsnips on occasion, and my kids can now tally parsnips to the growing list of vegetables they’ll eat!

What am I saying?  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!  Kids need repetitive exposure and a great example.  Persist in a vegetable-rich diet for your family.  Understand it may take years.  Accept it and don’t give up.  In the meantime, just be prepared to eat a lot of vegetables yourself…

What is a Parsnip?

It is a root vegetable which looks like a fat, white carrot (one of its relatives).

  • Commonly cultivated and eaten in Europe before the potato was introduced.  (Do you know where potatoes originated from?  The mountains of Peru.)
  • Usually thought of as a fall and winter vegetable, but since it stores so well, it is available year round.
  • It is a starchy vegetable and has a sweet, nutty taste and a potato-like texture when cooked.
  • Frost and refrigeration bring about a sweeter taste.
  • Neck to neck, there’s not much nutritional difference between a parsnip and potato.  Parsnips have a little more calcium and a little more fiber.  Parsnips are a little (not much) lower on the “net carb” ladder than a potato.  The only real difference I can think of is that a potato belongs to the family called a “nightshade” and a parsnip doesn’t.  (Nightshades are excluded for people who follow an anti-inflammatory diet because some minor research indicates they may be detrimental to the lining of the GI tract, may increase the body’s production of inflammation-producing chemicals, and increase arthritis and achiness in people.  So someone on an anti-inflammatory diet could easily replace the potato with the parsnip.)

Parsnips are nice because they keep in your refrigerator forever.  I choose them and store them like I do carrots.  Often they come coated in a waxy material, so I always peel my parsnips with a potato peeler before using them to get this strange stuff off.

Then, do what you’d do to a potato!  Here’s one to try, but don’t stop here!

Parsnip Fries

Parsnips, washed and peeled
Olive oil
Salt as desired
Garlic powder and onion powder if desired

Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit (191-204 degrees Celsius).  Cut the parsnips so that they resemble French fries.  Toss in just enough olive oil to lightly coat.  Sprinkle with salt and other seasonings.  Lay each cut fry on a baking sheet so that the fries have space between them.  You may need to use two baking sheets if you’re making a lot.  (If you get them too close together, they steam each other and get soggy rather than crispy.  Uck.)

Baking times seem to vary immensely.  The best idea is to just watch.  I start by baking in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes (but still watching them), and then I take them out and flip the fries.  I bake for another 10-15 minutes or so.  The goal is a fairly golden brown fry that isn’t burnt and isn’t soggy.  Sometimes I remove the ones that look done before the rest.Taste before serving and add more seasoning as desired.  Serve hot.  Nobody likes cold fries of any kind.  Do they?

Parsnip fries edited Cutting parsnips edit


Family “gustar” report: 5/5 ate these fries all gone. Will definitely try to include these more in our repertoire.

Note: Parsnips are discouraged for the GAPS/SCD diets.

So what vegetables are YOU all eating?  ~~Terri

Other vegetables in The Vegetable Series:  Rutabagas, artichokes, kohlrabi, and jicama.

18 thoughts on “How Do You Eat That Vegetable? Parsnips.

  1. Lisa

    My kids LOVE parsnip, unfortunately my husband and I aren’t fans so at the moment I am trying lots of different recipes to get the adults to eat them … lol We have found carrot and parsnip mash is quite nice (with a bit of swede on occasion) … yum!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Oh, isn’t that funny?(!) I like it better now that they like them because before they’d not eat any and then I’d bat clean up, eating way more than I wanted. I’ll bet the carrot and parsnip mash are GREAT! I’ve read about parsnip hashbrowns; I wonder how those are. Have a great day!

    2. FitMomPam

      That’s exactly what we do, a root veggie mash. We use carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnip, and any thing else that looks good. Definitely going to give this a try!

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Libby at Ditch the Carbs just left a link to her recipe for something similar to these–and they look tasty–as long as my food processor can do the work and not me (smile!).

        When you make your mash, do you just steam all the veggies together until the hardest one turns soft?

        Hope summer is still treating you well!

  2. IrishMum

    Parsnips are a huge favorite with the Irish. I think we eat them nearly as much as potatoes 😉 Haha, well maybe not, but you get the idea! We love them as fries, mashed, and in stews. YUM! If you want them crispy; soak the cut parsnips in some water for about an hour, them pat dry before cooking. Or parboil them before coating. They are delicious so many ways; I love them with mustard and honey.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Oh, gee. It’s 6:40 in the morning and you’re making me hungry! Next time I make these (which will have to be very soon–maybe today, even?), I will plan ahead enough to soak them in water for an hour and pat dry to gain a crispier edge! Thanks! You Irish are so good with these root vegetables! We Americans, well, anyway…

  3. primalparkgirl

    Weirdly, I disliked parsnips (and sweet potatoes!), until I started eating a paleo diet. Then one day found myself in my local greengrocer, craving them. I love them roasted (have yet to attempt proper fries), but most commonly eat them as mash, mixed with a little bone broth.

  4. Pingback: How Do You Eat THAT Vegetable? Fennel. | The HSD

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