Parsnips are long, tapered root vegetables. They resemble carrots in this way, and indeed they are part of the same family. But parsnips don’t taste too much like a carrot. They’re sweeter—think sweet potatoes—and they have a delicious naturally nutty or earthy flavour.
However, certain flavour nuances separate one from the other. The parsnip’s sweetness is almost spicy (think nutmeg), while the carrot’s sweetness is reminiscent of a winter squash (think butternut squash). There’s a lot to take in when you bite into a parsnip. The flavour is starchy like potatoes, sweet like carrots, and bitter like turnips.
To prepare a parsnip, avoid peeling it the way you would a carrot—you might accidentally strip away some of the best flavour. Instead, grab a vegetable brush and scrub, scrub, scrub.
The texture of a parsnip will greatly depend on how you cook it...
- Roasted Parsnip: The texture of a roasted parsnip is similar to a roasted white potato, but more starchy. The outside of can get kind of crunchy, but it usually has a softer texture than a roasted potato.
- Boiled Parsnip: Boiled parsnips have a creamy texture. Some of the starch will get boiled out in the water, so it's a big lighter and less dense than a roasted parsnip.
Soups: Parsnips are great additions to any kind of soup. They add a pleasant texture when boiled whole in a soup or can be pureed to get a butternut squash soup texture.
Salads: Thin and raw parsnips pair well with fresh veggies in a salad.
Mashed Potatoes: You can pair mashed parsnips and mashed potatoes to for a creamier texture and slightly sweet and herb-like flavour profile.
Savoury Herbs & Spices: Roasting parsnips with herbs is a great way to compliment it's flavour profile. With a little bit of olive oil, salt and herbs of choice, you'll end of with delicious veggie chips.
Sweet Spices: Spices like clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg are perfect.