Parsnips are gems among the root vegetables, sweeter and softer than your rutabagas and turnips. These ivory-colored vegetables are tender enough to shave raw in salads, but you can also use them almost any way you would a potato or carrot. Read on for our best tips for working with parsnips, plus creative ways to prepare them in fall dishes.
Look for: Look for small to medium parsnips that are pale, firm and unblemished. Larger ones can be tough and stringy and have a woody core that must be removed. If you buy them with the greens attached, they should look fresh and not dry. But the greens off and store the parsnips in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Prep tips: Young tender parsnips can be used unpeeled if first scrubbed with a vegetable brush, while the tough skins of more mature roots should be peeled before cooking. If needed, cut out and discard the hard, fibrous core found in large parsnips. Cook peeled and cut parsnips immediately, or toss them with lemon juice to prevent them from discoloring.
Uses: Parsnips have a slightly sweet flavor and a tough, starchy texture that softens with cooking. They can be roasted, steamed, boiled or baked, and are great pureed into soups. Because they become mushy more quickly than other root vegetables, add them toward the end of cooking to stews and soups. Very young, tender parsnips may be grated or thinly sliced and added raw to salads.
|Roasted Parsnip and Apple Puree with Gruyère Toasts
Parsnips and apples are a great flavor pairing: the apples brighten the earthiness of the parsnips. Don’t skip the melted Gruyère toasts in this recipe — you’ll want to dunk them in the silky soup.
|Wheat Berries with Roasted Parsnips, Butternut Squash and Dried Cranberries
Here, healthy whole grains pair with nutty root vegetables and herbs for a colorful side dish. It also works well for a lunch box!
|Roasted Root Vegetables with Indian Curry and Cilantro
Toasted curry powder contrasts nicely with earthy root vegetables in this recipe, which calls for roasting them in a hot oven to coax out their natural sweetness. A sprinkle of cilantro lends a refreshing note.
|Root-Vegetable Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Cream
Here’s an original way to enjoy fall’s sweet potatoes and parsnips. Roasted and tucked into corn tortillas, the roots make a hearty and original vegetarian main dish, and a topping of tomatillo salsa adds a spicy kick. Serve with a side of beans to make it a meal.
|Scallops with Parsnip Puree, Candied Grapefruit and Crispy Prosciutto
This dish from the cookbook Sorella by Emma Hearst and Sarah Krathen pairs a medley of flavors and textures: tender seared scallops; bright, refreshing citrus zest; crisp, salty prosciutto; and a creamy parsnip puree.
|Chicken Breasts with Glazed Root Vegetables
For a quick and easy fall dinner, pair pan-roasted chicken breasts with a side of glazed carrots, parsnips and turnips.
|Sautéed Pork with Parsnips
Here, quickly sautéed pork medallions are served alongside sweet, nutty parsnips and hearty egg noodles tossed with olive oil, fresh thyme and lots of fresh pepper.
|Winter Vegetable Stew
This classic cool-weather dish sparkles with color and appealing flavors: butternut squash, parsnips and carrots, cooked in a slow-cooker until tender and topped with bright watercress.
Featured Recipe: Roasted Parsnips with Pears and Hazelnuts