March: Parsnips

by Haille Tallon

If parsnips are not a part of your diet now, they should be! Parsnips are packed with tons of nutrients – they have been deemed the “royalty” of the root vegetables and have been used in herbal medicine and as an aphrodisiac for centuries. They sit through the winter and improve in sweetness and flavor in the cold and frost – few vegetables can claim to do that. 1 Luckily, this is the time to get them because they are best in the early spring!

Health Benefits of Parsnips
Parsnips contain high levels of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron. They also include B vitamins, vitamins C, E and K and are high in fiber and protein. Parsnips are one of the sweetest vegetables, but not as sweet as most fruits. 2

Since parsnips are so high in fiber and low in calories, they help to fill you up and may help prevent release of ghrelin, which is the hormone that gives you that hungry feeling. This makes them an amazing addition to any diet, especially to those looking to lose some weight.


Aside from these amazing benefits, parsnips are packed with antioxidants, which protect the body from damaging free radicals. Parsnips are packed with vitamin C, which helps in the production of white blood cells the cells that attack disease and foreign cells in the body. The antioxidant powers of the phenolic compounds in the parsnips are found to be the most concentrated in the lowest weight roots. This means the smaller the parsnip, the more antioxidants!  So, go for the little ones when picking them out in the store! 3

Adding Parsnips to Your Diet
There is no shortage of ways to prepare parsnips. Parsnips are typically eaten cooked, but they can be eaten raw. They are usually roasted, baked, mashed, or pureed into soups. It is best to scrub the outside of the parsnip, not to peel, to get the best flavor out of them. Cut parsnips oxidize in the air like apples do, so be sure to soak them in water with some lemon juice if they are sitting out for a while. 4

Rustic Parsnip Puree (Joyful Healthy Eats) 5


  • 1 lb. of parsnips, peeled and cut
  • 2 Yukon potatoes, peeled and cut
  • 3 cups of low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Place parsnips, potatoes, and broth in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15-17 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Puree mixture (including broth) with an immersion blender until smooth. (you could also place entire mixture to blender and puree until smooth)
  5. Add in butter and parsley, stir until butter is melted.

Baked Parsnip Fries with Rosemary (Epicurious) 6


  • 2 1/2 lbs parsnips or carrots, peeled, cut into about 3 x 1/2″ strips
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 5 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp(or more) ground cumin


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix parsnips, chopped rosemary, garlic, and oil on a large rimmed baking      sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out in a single layer. Scatter rosemary sprigs over.
  2. Roast for 10 minutes; turn parsnips and roast until parsnips are tender and browned in spots, 10-15 minutes longer. Crumble leaves from rosemary sprigs over; discard stems and toss to coat. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cumin over. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cumin, if desired.


  1. Vaheems B. Perfect Parsnips Every Time. GrowVeg. Published March 30, 2012. Accessed April 6, 2017.
  2. Top 5 Benefits of Parsnips. Organic Facts. Published February 28,2017. Accessed April 6, 2017.
  3. Nikolić NC,Lazić MM,Karabegović ITStojanović GSTodorović ZB. A characterization of content, composition and scavenging capacity of phenolic compounds in parsnip roots of various weight. Nat Prod Commun. 2014; 9(6): 811-4.
  4. Foster K. Now is The Time to be Eating Parsnips.| Kitchn. Published December 2008. Accessed April 6, 2017.
  5. Creamy Rustic Parsnip Puree. JoyfulHealthyEats. Published January 5, 2015. Accessed April 6, 2017.
  6. Gold R. Baked Parsnip Fries with Rosemary. Epicurious. Published February 14, 2012. Accessed April 6, 2017.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email