October 18, 2018
Peeled parsnip with slices

How to Cook and Serve Parsnips

by Berkeley Wellness  

Unlike carrots, parsnips are almost always eaten cooked. They’re quite fibrous when eaten raw. Be careful not to overcook them, however. Their flavor is sweetest when just tender, and brief cooking also helps to preserve nutrients. Just before cooking, cut off the root and leaf ends. Trim any major rootlets or knobs.

Peel the parsnips before or after cooking, depending on how you plan to prepare them. For example, if you plan to cut them into chunks for a stew, or if you simply want to shorten the cooking time, peel them first, as thinly as possible using a paring knife or vegetable peeler.

Then cut the parsnips as you wish. Halve them crosswise and then quarter each half lengthwise. Then dice them or cut them into “coins” or julienne strips.

On the other hand, if you’re going to purée parsnips, peel them after cooking. This technique helps to preserve their color and flavor, and also saves nutrients since you’ll be able to remove a thinner layer of peel. Make a lengthwise cut through the skin of the cooked parsnip down one side and then pull the peel off with your fingers. Halve the cooked parsnips lengthwise. If you find a fibrous, woody core, pry it out with the tip of a sharp paring knife.

If the tops of the parsnips are much thicker than the bottoms, halve the vegetables crosswise and cook the top halves for a few minutes before adding the bottom halves. Then the slender tips will not cook through before the bulbous tops do.

Whenever you cook parsnips in liquid, consider saving the flavorful liquid for making a sauce or adding to a stock or soup. The liquid contains any nutrients that may have leached out in cooking.

6 ways to serve parsnips

1. Toss cut-up parsnips, carrots, and turnips with some olive oil. Roast until tender.

2. Cook parsnips with potatoes and mash the two together. Or simply served mashed parsnips on their own.

3. Cut parsnips into French-fry shapes, toss in olive oil and rosemary, and then roast until tender.

4. Steam sliced parsnips and toss while still hot with olive oil, lemon juice, and minced fresh mint and parsley. Serve warm. Or chill and serve as a salad.

5. Add diced parsnips to vegetable soups and stews.

6. Cut parsnips and turnips into 1-inch wedges, and cook with some chicken broth and maple syrup on the stove until the vegetables are coated in a glaze.

See also: Cooking Vegetables A to Z.