Here's Why (And How) We're Cooking With Parsnips This Year
Among the multitudes of root veggies that crop up this time of year, you'll find the humble parsnip: Resembling a white carrot, these (in my opinion) underrated little vegetables deserve a place in any kitchen. In fact a member of the same family as the carrot, parsnips have a sweet, almost slightly nutty flavor that's super appealing in colder weather—and since they're in season all winter long (from around September until March), that's exactly when you should be cooking with them.
Why you should be cooking with parsnips more often.
Like other fall and winter vegetables, parsnips are a good source of vitamins and minerals. "One of my favorite underappreciated fall harvest foods is parsnips," Kimberly Evans, R.D., told mindbodygreen. "They are loaded with potassium and are a versatile veggie in the kitchen." In 1 cup of parsnip, you'll find:
- 25% Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C
- 25% of RDI vitamin K
- 22% RDI of folate
- 13% RDI of vitamin E
- 10% RDI of magnesium
- 10% RDI of thiamine
Not only that, but parsnips are also a good source of fiber. Though they're not one you'd hear about as much as other veggies, that 1 cup has 6.5 grams of fiber (for reference, you'd need to eat 2 cups of baby kale to get even half of that amount). Not only that, they contain both varieties of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.
The best ways to cook parsnips.
With all their nutrients, it's a no-brainer that picking up parsnips next time you're buying groceries is worth a try. If you're unfamiliar with the ingredient, or if you're looking for new ways to enjoy them, here are some ideas:
- Add them to a soup: They make a great addition to a warming root vegetable soup, like this one, because they contrast with the other vegetables—here, leeks, carrots, and potatoes—well.
- Or go one better: Make them the base of a soup! This blended parsnip soup might seem odd at first (vanilla?), but it's actually remarkably well balanced—and definitely unique.
- Roast them with some nice accents: Honestly, simple roasted parsnips are amazing with just a bit of oil and salt, but this version with citrus is amazing if you want something a little more special.
- Use it as the base of a pasta sauce: For a totally different take on a parsnip, toss it (and other roasted veggies) into this bowl of pasta with a mapley-pumpkin sauce. It's essentially fall in a bowl, but it tastes just as great in winter too.
My personal favorite way to use this veggie? The way my mom always did, by adding it to mashed potatoes (or lately, mashed cauliflower) for a slightly different flavor. The beauty of this ingredient is how well it takes to different preparations, meaning you can try it tons of different ways.
Wondering what other winter veggies you should be looking out for at the farmers market? There are certainly quite a few, but I'm particularly keeping my eyes peeled for winter squash, too.
Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.