Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better: Trading Carrots For Parsnips

Much more than “white carrots,” parsnips have a deceptively complex flavor profile. With sweet, earthy, and spiced flavors reminiscent of nutmeg and cinnamon, parsnips build off the typical “carrot” flavor to create their own unique experience. The root vegetable is just as versatile as its orange cousin too; it’s able to fit into any carrot dish you can think of. Try out these dishes for yourself and help parsnips usurp carrot’s throne.

Parsnip “Carrot” Cake

Carrot cake is awesome, but it’s not revolutionary. By substituting parsnips into your carrot cake and fine-tuning the spices, you can add a lush, holiday spiced twist to the long-running classic. Parsnips bring their own “holiday” flavors, but it’s best to pump them up by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. For extra flavor, infuse some cinnamon or ginger into your cream-cheese frosting. 

Roasted Parsnips

Roasted root veggies help us thaw out during the cold months and roasted parsnips hold a particularly warm place in our heart. Although it can be tempting to use large parsnips in this dish, stick with small to medium sized ones; they’ll be much more sweet and tender. Additionally, don’t shy away from seasoning with strong flavors like garlic or ginger, your parsnips will benefit from them!

Parsnip and Cauliflower Soup

Combine parsnips with the other heavyweight “white” veggie, cauliflower, into a smooth sophisticated main course. While it may not have the bright orange color associated with carrot soup, it isn’t lacking in flavor; by roasting your parsnips before adding them to the soup, your veggies will get a serious blast of fall flavors. 

Parsnip Juice

Parsnips aren’t often found in fresh-pressed juice, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a superior ingredient. Similar to carrot juice, parsnip juice is sweet and nutritious, but it can be a little overwhelming on its own. Try incorporating other white produce like cauliflower and pears or stick with heavyweight juicing ingredients like apples and beets.

  • Fun Fact: Parsnips have fewer calories than carrots, so they’re great for diet friendly juices.  

Parsnip Salads 

By peeling or julienning your turnips, you can create add a dash of color and subtle sweetness to a variety of salads. Cold-weather produce makes an exceptionally good partner here, so be sure to utilize cold weather greens like kale and spinach. Additionally, some fresh apple slices can go a long way. 

Mashed Parsnips

While mashed carrots are often combined with other root vegetables for a heartier texture, mashed parsnips are more than capable of going it alone. For best results, boil small pieces of parsnips instead of whole turnips because they’ll be easier to mash afterwards. A simple salt and pepper seasoning works well too, but feel free to utilize fall spices.