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How to Roast Parsnips for a Healthier Christmas

Written by, Bojana Atanasovska

Updated November, 4, 2021

Feel like your Christmas dinner is missing something? Then it’s about thyme you add parsnips to the menu! This seemingly tedious root vegetable makes a great addition to any plate and will quickly become your favourite. Well, our scrumptious recipe will teach you how to roast parsnips to perfection. Just make sure you leave some room for pudding!

Let’s get cooking!

The Cooking Process

Don your cooking apron for we are embarking on a culinary journey that will reveal the secrets to adorning the often overlooked parsnip for the Christmas centre table.

Ingredients and Prep Time

What ingredients do you need?

Parsnips are an excellent side dish to enrich your Christmas dinner. While this delicious meal can be prepared in many different ways, we believe to have perfected the best parsnips recipe that will have your guests asking for more. With a preparation time of only 10 minutes, you’ll have your parsnips ready to roast in just a couple of Christmas carols. But first, let’s have a look at the ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1 kg parsnips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • A pinch of salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • A pinch of ground red pepper flakes 
  • Goose or duck fat (optional)

Variations of this recipe also ask for honey, thyme, garlic butter, or even carrots. In the end, your personal preference will determine how you prepare these healthy veggies.

How many parsnips should you buy?

The most convenient place to buy parsnips is a supermarket since they are sold in bags of around 500 g. However, if you are close to an open-air farmers’ market, get your parsnips there since they are fresher. According to Jamie Oliver, 2 kg is just enough to feed 10 people.

To avoid burning your roast parsnips, choose evenly thick ones, and avoid those with skinny ends. Remember that a fresh parsnip is pale of colour and that dark spots indicate rot.

What Is the Best Way to Prepare Parsnips?

Should parsnips be boiled?

When preparing parsnips for roasting, you have the option of boiling them beforehand. Should you choose to boil, put your veggies in a saucepan with cold water and throw in a pinch of salt. Generally, parsnips take around 5–10 minutes to boil. However, if you choose not to boil, simply placing your prepared parsnips in a pan and roasting them for 35 minutes will work just fine.

When to peel your parsnips?

Before roasting parsnips, some chefs prefer to peel them. However, baby parsnips usually don’t require peeling and can simply be washed and baked just like potatoes. On the other hand, older parsnips tend to have softer skin that should be thinly peeled.

The easiest way to get your parsnips ready is to cut away their tops, slice them in strips, and then cut them in halves. A pro tip for crispy parsnips is to carve them into eighths. This way, more corners will absorb the fat.

Note: Ripe parsnips with a harder core should always be sliced and have their cores removed, so they aren’t chewy or bitter.

Parsnip Roasting Method

The process of roasting the perfect parsnips is comprised of several straightforward steps:

  • Start by preheating your oven to 200°C on a fan setting or 180°C on Gas Mark 5.
  • Place foil or a baking sheet on the roasting pan.
  • Evenly spread the parsnips across the pan.
  • Sprinkle olive oil and add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano.
  • Toss the parsnips around the pan to thoroughly coat them.
  • Roast for around 35–40 until golden and toss halfway through.

Note: If your preferred variation includes anything from thyme to honey, just add them to the mix before baking.

A key element in roast parsnips recipes is the fatty ingredient you’re cooking with since the right cooking fat will prevent your parsnips from drying out. Some great options include olive and vegetable oil, but goose and duck fat will really make them juicy. Of course, you can also roast the parsnips along with your Christmas turkey for that extra flavour.

The final factor to consider when roasting is your oven—some ovens can significantly influence the cooking time as they overheat by up to 30°C over the selected temperature.

How to Save Time When Roasting Parsnips

Although parsnips don’t take much time to make, you can still prepare them the day before cooking your Christmas dinner to save some time and get them out of your mind. Namely, you can parboil or half-roast your parsnips and put them away in the fridge, or just add them to cold water overnight.

If you’re in a real rush but still want to try that roast parsnip recipe, you can save even more time by adding seasoned parsnips to bake alongside your potatoes or carrots.

Famous Recipes

Many professional chefs put their spin and elevated the famous roasted parsnips recipe using unconventional ingredients. The following three variations will surely inspire you to reimagine your roasted parsnips as none before you.

Jamie Oliver’s Parsnip Recipe

Jamie Oliver amazed us yet again with his savoury honey-glazed parsnips, which make a perfect companion to roast meat or gravy. For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2 kg parsnips
  • Half a bunch of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons liquid honey
  • Seasoning per taste
  • Olive oil

Jamie even recommends a clever twist on the above ultimate honey roast parsnips. You can also dip blanched parsnips in flour and parmesan cheese, so you get crips and golden parsnips. Or you could try a juicier combination of orange peels, maple syrup, and rosemary for a delicious and distinct taste.

Gordon Ramsey’s Spicy Parsnips

Gordon Ramsey’s glazed parsnips will make any roast that much crunchier. Britain’s feistiest chef mixes carrots and parsnips with herbs, honey and cinnamon for a syrupy and savoury dinner. Here are the ingredients required:

  • 500 g parsnips
  • 500 g carrots
  • 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
  • A couple of thyme sprigs
  • A cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1–2 tablespoons honey
  • A few knobs of butter

This recipe will serve 8 people and pairs up perfectly with any roast meat. You simply have to roast the vegetables until they caramelise.

Delia Smith’s Parsnips Recipes

Delia Smith took Christmas dinner to the next level with three different roast parsnips recipes. In one of them, she skips the parsnips with honey and uses maple syrup instead for added sweetness. On top of that, she adds wholegrain mustard for extra zest. Take a look at the ingredients:

  • 1.35 kg parsnips
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons of any flavourless oil
  • Salt and pepper

Delia’s alternative versions of this tasty side dish ask for parmesan and curry, both a great and outlandish addition to your holiday meals.

What About Leftovers?

Leftover roast parsnips can be fridge-stored to remain edible for another three days. If you want to keep them for a while longer, add them to the freezer instead. Bear in mind that the time your food will keep its quality while refrigerated depends on your fridge’s capability to cool the food and keep it at a constant temperature.

As for your extra uncooked parsnips, wrapping them in plastic foil or a paper towel before placing them in the fridge will keep them fresh for two more weeks.

Let’s Wrap It Up in a Tin Foil!

Now that you’ve read our extensive guide to roasting delectable parsnips, you can use your newfound skills to help out with the holiday roast. Everyone will surely enjoy this healthy and yummy recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

How do you cut parsnips for roasting?

The best way to cut these healthy roots is in eighths, which will ensure you get crispy parsnips to crunch on at dinner.

Do you leave the skin on parsnips when roasting?

This depends on how fresh or ripe parsnips are. Fresher parsnips generally don’t require peeling, while older ones cook better after removing their softer skin.

How to roast parsnips in the oven?

Before placing your parsnips in the oven, spread them on the baking sheet without overcrowding them. This way, every piece will roast evenly.

How long do parsnips take to roast?

The usual cooking time is around 35–40 minutes, while the prep time takes about 10.

Can you cook parsnips in an air fryer?

Parsnips are perfectly safe to air fry. All you need is a sprinkling of oil, as well as some seasoning, and you’ll have the perfect side dish in no time.

Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.