Growing up in France, I remember my grandmother cooking parsnip in soups, and sometimes as a replacement for mashed potatoes. It was naturally sweet and delicate and loaded with cream! It was only years after I came to the states that I rediscovered them. So this recipe is our go-to dish that can be made in less than 30 minutes, is low-fat, gluten-free and delivers comfort and fulfillment!
A little background on parsnips
A native of Europe (Mediterranean region), parsnip is related to carrots, parsley, and turnips. Its natural sweetness makes it unique. Parsnip requires cold winters to transform the starch into sugar. It is said that the Roman emperor Tiberius was so fond of parsnip that he would have them brought over from France. It was Europe’s main root crop until the potato was introduced from the New World. But it was the British colonialists who brought them to the New World in 1609.
What do parsnips taste like?
It is a delicate combination of a little starchy like a potato, a little sweet like a carrot, and a light bitter touch like a turnip.
How to pick the perfect parsnip
It should be firm but not soft. If you can bend it, don’t buy it!
How to store parsnips
As with all root vegetables, you must keep it dry so out of the refrigerator. They will keep longer if you wrap them in paper or store them in a paper bag in a dry place.
What to do with parsnips?
It is great for soups, stews, casseroles. Parsnip can be steamed, baked, roasted, pureed, and fried. You can even use it in a refreshing salad by making shavings with a vegetable peeler.
Fun fact about parsnips
It was used as a sweetener in Europe before cane and beet sugar was industrially developed.
It takes 6 months from seed to harvest and it will produce for 2 years making it a biennial plant.
Because parsnips are not grown industrially, you never have to worry about pesticides.
If you are allergic to walnuts, parsley, or figs, chances are you could also be allergic to parsnip.
Nutritional information on parsnips:
Parsnip is rich in fibers, vitamin C, B6, B9, K, E, and minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, and copper.
It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal.
Note: since most of the nutrients are found near the skin it is best to cook or roast your parsnips whole with the skin or peel them very thinly.
What is another name for parsnip?
– Sweet root
– White carrot
– Albino root
– Pig carrot
Answer at the end of the article!
Vegan cream of parsnip soup
- 1 large carrot cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large potatoe cubed (or 1/2 cup cauliflower)
- 3-4 medium parsnips, sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp sesame/tahini paste
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp dry sage or thyme
- 2 slices of bread with the crust removed
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
Prepare the soup
- Pan-fry the sliced onions and minced garlic in a little olive oil.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, and parsnips and stir.
- Add the broth, the curry, the tahini, and the sage or thyme and simmer for 10 minutes.
Make the croutons
- Remove the crust from the bread and cube it.
- Toss the cubes in a bowl with a little olive oil, some garlic powder, 1 tsp of smoked paprika, and a dash of sea salt.
- Pour the soup into a blender and process until smooth.
- Taste and season.
- Serve immediately and place a few croutons on top.
Quiz answer: white carrot