Parsnips are a deliciously sweet root vegetable that are almost as versatile as their carrot look-a-likes. As a kid, my mom always served parsnips in one way. We didn’t eat them a lot, but every now and then the dinner table would present us with roasted parsnips and carrots, always mixed together in the same dish, sliced in rounds, with butter and salt. So, this is my go to parsnip recipe. But, why should carrots get all the glory? After all, the parsnip has been around a long time. There must be a great variety of ways to serve the humble parsnip.
Parsnip in the past
Evidence of wild parsnips in the diet has been around since the Stone Age in Europe. At some point they transitioned to cultivation and were brought to the United States with the English settlers in the 1600s. At one time they were grown so often that they escaped the kitchen garden and now parsnips grow wild in many places. Parsnips have remained popular in Europe, but have lost their popularity in the United States. Hopefully with more people intentionally increasing fruits and vegetables in their diet, the parsnip is ready to make a comeback.
Parsnip Health Benefits
Parsnips have some pretty impressive health benefits. They are high in fiber, potassium and folic acid. They are even a natural diuretic. These things together make parsnips especially great for heart health.
Growing Parsnips, Varieties and Cautions
If you decide to grow your own parsnips, there are a few different types of parsnip based on shape — the bulbous parsnip, the wedge parsnip and the bayonet parsnip. The bayonet parsnip is the most common type to find in the United States. The most common variety being the variety Hollow Crown. But be aware that you might have a skin reaction to the sap of the parsnip greens. They can cause a chemical burn on your skin sometimes. It is recommended that you stick to eating the root, and use gloves at harvest time to protect your skin, just in case.
A Parsnip Fan Site
Parsnips are far more popular in the UK than in the US. While looking for great new parsnip recipes, I stumbled across a website in the UK that is focused entirely on the parsnip. The site is full of good information on growing, harvesting, storing and preparing parsnips and included some wonderful parsnip recipes that I can’t wait to try. The next time I serve parsnips, I plan to try out their Chickpea and Parsnip Curry Recipe. It is a nice vegetarian/vegan recipe that can easily be oil free as well. I modified the recipe just slightly to make it plant-based oil free, and adjusted measurements to reflect cups instead of grams.
Chickpea and Parsnip Curry Recipe
This recipe for chickpea and parsnip curry is sure to delight anyone who likes a little heat in their meal. Served with basmati rice, plain yogurt, and roti or naan bread, you have a perfect dinner that works well for a vegan and oil free diet and tastes delicious too.
- 2 Parsnips peeled and chopped into cubes
- 4 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
- 1 onion peeled halved and sliced
- 1 cup cooked chick peas
- 1 fresh chili pepper deseeded and chopped
- 1 15 oz can tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger root peeled and grated
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- handful fresh cilantro chopped
- vegetable broth, olive oil or coconut oil according to preference
Heat a dry pan and add the fenugreek, cumin and coriander seeds. Cook for 2 minutes until the seeds start to pop. Then remove from heat and crush seeds using a mortar and pestle.
Saute onion, garlic, ginger, and chili for 10 minutes or until soft. For oil free cooking use some vegetable broth to saute in. If you don't mind the oil, use a little olive oil or coconut oil to saute.
Add the crushed seeds and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the parsnips to the pan and stir well. Place cover on pan and let cook for 5 minutes.
Next stir in tomatoes and chickpeas. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the parsnip is tender.
Remove from heat and stir in the fresh cilantro.
Serve with brown basmati rice, plain yogurt and roti or naan flatbread. Enjoy!
Once I try this recipe, I will take a picture to post. If you have a favorite recipe for parsnips or some interesting parsnip trivia, please share in the comment section below.