Parsnip Fries: Not French, Not Fried and Not Potatoes

Poor potatoes. Getting replaced by other vegetables. First there was cauliflower going all mashed tater-like. And now parsnips are acting all like french fries!  At least we’re set if we ever find out potatoes are sentient. Always look on the bright side of life, right Mrs. Spud?

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

I’ve never had parsnips. Ever. Until now. Anxious to try them, I excitedly took a bite of one right when these made it to my kitchen counter. I read that you could eat them raw. Um, anticlimactic much? They didn’t really taste like much. There was a hint of carrot-like sweetness and the teensiest hint of something else bite-y. Almost like a radish. But mostly it was just kinda bland. Almost like biting into a raw potato but a little better. Based on that bite, eating them raw was not gonna be a thing I did.

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

So I poked around on the internet to find out what else I could do with them and found that they could be made to resemble the classic French fry. Perfect! Roasting veggies is my favorite lazy-girl method!

All I did was cut the parsnips into strips that resembled “fry shapes”. I left the cleaned skins on because ain’t nobody got time for dat! Then I lightly coated them in olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I roasted them at 450F for about 20 minutes, tossing them halfway. When they were done, I sprinkled a little more salt and pepper all over and topped it with some freshly chopped parsley.

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

Roasted parsnips are much better than raw parsnips. I think the roasting helps bring out the sweetness some and makes it more of a delightful texture. The texture and taste are very similar to, well, a tender french fry but with a tad more sweetness and that very subtle hint of something mildly bite-y that I just can’t put my finger on. Some describe it as a “woody” or “earthy” taste. I’ll just call it that parsnip swag. Because it’s that swag that makes these parsnip fries stand out from regular old French fries.

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

Although these parsnip fries are perfectly pleasant on their own, I couldn’t help but recreate the whole French fry experience by dipping it into ketchup. I demolished the whole plate all by myself.

Have you eaten parsnips before? Can you recommend other ways to cook and eat it?

42 thoughts on “Parsnip Fries: Not French, Not Fried and Not Potatoes

  1. Cadry's Kitchen

    I think I’ve only had parsnips roasted as well. They’re one of those vegetables that I’m happy to eat on a roasted vegetable platter (sometimes with a balsamic glaze, which is great with them). However, I don’t really buy them and make them at home very often. I prefer my vegetables with a little less swag. :)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Oooh, a balsamic glaze sounds so delicious with roasted veggies. I always neglect my balsamic vinegar in the pantry. Maybe it’s time to bust it out. I think adding balsamic to veggies is pretty swag! :-)

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Oh my! That just sounds so lovely! Do you steam them or boil them before mashing? I’m definitely going to keep that in mind for the next time I pick up some parsnips.

      Reply
  2. sarojinididi

    I loved this post! Parsnips are a great vegetable, but I have to agree they are not so nice raw. We cook them like you did, or mash them up with potato. You could try them pureed as a soup with curry spices- they are so creamy when blended and go so well with turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli. they balso make really decadent deep fried chips :)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      The soup you describe sounds so wonderful with all those warming spices! I love making soups during the winter too. When you mash them up with potatoes, do you boil them before hand or do something else to them? I will have to keep all these great suggestions in mind next time I get some parsnips.

      Reply
  3. coconutandberries

    Crazy that you hadn’t had parsnips before! We always had them alongside roast potatoes with our Sunday roasts growing up :) I second the mash and soup ideas above too. I’ve had them raw as parsnip rice in raw sushi rolls and raw tex-mex bowls and liked them like that but agree that they have less flavour raw.
    I haven’t had any yet this season so thanks for reminding me to do something about that!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I know right! I’m beginning to realize that there are actually like a ton of foods that I still haven’t tried. I guess I’ve opened up a little to more culinary treats in the last year or so. I am totally game for trying the mash and soup ideas. Both sound wonderful. I’m still not sold on it raw yet though. Do you leave the skins on when you eat them raw or peel them?

      Reply
  4. catherine

    I looooove roasted parsnips–your fries look delicious! Can’t say I’ve ever been tempted to try one raw though :)

    Reply
  5. cookeasyveganAndrea

    I’ve had oven-roasted parsnip fries before and thought they were pretty good. My favorite way to use parsnips is in soup. They cook pretty quickly and kind of disappear, leaving a wonderful sweet, woodsy flavor behind. They really add a lot to veggie soups. (My kids hated them and referred to them as a group — “white things”. The group included not just parsnips but celery root, and turnips.)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Mmmm, I am definitely going to have to try it in a soup next time. Your kids’ comment about the “white things” is funny. Do they like eating “white things” now?

      Reply
  6. Kelli

    I have only used them once before – I actually used them grated in a raw borscht salad (they replaced the potato that’s usually in borscht since potatoes aren’t good raw). They weren’t bad… but I’d love to try your parsnip fries now!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I haven’t given up on the whole parsnip raw thing. Brussels sprouts were something that I thought I couldn’t eat raw, but now I love them that way so there might still be some hope for raw parsnips. When you grated it into the borscht salad, did you include the skins too? I’ve read that the skin can give it a bitter taste (which I didn’t really get myself).

      Reply
        1. luminousvegans Post author

          Awesome, thanks for the linky! For raw brussel sprouts you can shred them up like coleslaw (stems removed) and marinate in your favorite dressing. Because it’s shredded so thin, it makes it easier to eat raw.

          Reply
          1. Kelli

            That sounds great – I’ll have to try them shredded. I’ve also seen lots of recipes lately for roasted sprout leaves – someone’s trying to make them the new kale chip :) But I don’t think I have the patience to separate all of the leaves, unless I buy the ones that TJ’s has already separated for me…

  7. roughseasinthemed

    Like your other readers, I’ve had them roasted around the meat as a kid (my dad loved parsnips), mashed with potato/carrot/swede – whatever combination was to hand, plain boiled, and again, in soups. I tend not to buy them because they don’t do much for me, but my partner likes them. Oh, and they got put in stews as well when I was a kid along with carrot and celery. You can basically cook them anyway you cook other root veg. I’ve seen recipes for parsnip gratin as well, which is great if you can get decent vegan cheese which I can’t.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I can totally see what you mean when you say they don’t do much for you. Though good and a great substitute for potato, they don’t have a super strong, unique taste. The parsnip gratin that you mentions sounds intriguing. I will have to google that. And I’m definitely going to have to keep the soup thing in mind as well. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      LOL! Yeah, I still have not entirely given up on eating them raw yet. First time around though wasn’t great. I will definitely make them in fry form again though!

      Reply
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  9. acookinthemaking

    I’ve had parsnips roasted (on a big tray filled with other root vegetables). They’re also an ingredient in the Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry from Veganomicon, and that was the first way I’d ever tried them. They don’t really add much to that recipe though, because the flavor comes mainly from the curry spices. So I usually substitute carrots (because that’s what I normally have in the fridge). I think I might like to try parsnips as fries though! They look yummy and I’d definitely eat them with ketchup (or sriracha ketchup!).

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      High five for carrots in the fridge! That is normally what we have on hand as well. And its usually the little baby carrots in a bag. I don’t know why, but that is just like the thing we always pick up. *shrugs*

      The parsnips in that curry sound amazing! I have Veganomicon and I don’t think I’ve ever made that. I’m going to have to bust it out soon and try it.

      Reply
      1. acookinthemaking

        It might be my favorite recipe in the book, and that is saying something! My omni husband adores it too. He gets really excited now when he sees cauliflower in the fridge :)

        Reply
  10. Richa

    i love the title and the look of these “fries”. this is probably how i might start to like parsnips. i an still on the edge with them. i do add them to soups sometimes, but then there are other veggies and flavors to hide them:)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Ha ha! I also wasn’t blown away by parsnips. I see myself getting them again if I see them on sale. But I probably will just do the same thing with them…roast them. Although adding it to soup sounds good too.

      Reply
  11. Becky Striepe

    I love parsnips! They sweeten up when you cook them in soups or stews, too. They’re like supercarrots! There fries are definitely on my list, and I’ll send them to my dad. He’s crazy about parsnips!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I definitely want to try them in a soup if I pick them up next time. Though they didn’t “wow” me, they are just as good to me as any other root vegetable. I like thinking of them as supercarrots! :-)

      Reply
  12. Kylie @ FotV

    I don’t think anything will ever replace my precious potato, but I do like to stray outside the relationship occasionally and experiment with other root veggies….I’m going to have to try these!!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      That is absolutely brilliant to use it as a base for a creamy sauce! It sounds so delicious. Thank you so much for sharing it! I’ll keep this in mind next time I pick up parsnips. What did you think of them given that it was your first time eating parsnips?

      Reply
      1. harmony1228

        I kinda thought they were weird in the beginning but after a few bites I easily got used to it. I really thought they had an intricate taste with a lot to it- if that makes any sense.

        Reply
  13. Maggie Muggins

    Ugh, eating a raw parsnip is like licking a tree! But roasted they’re so delicious. Roasting is my favorite way to eat them or blending them into soup. So good when they’re glazed in a balsamic reduction!

    Reply

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