On a cold winter day, there is nothing better to warm up your soul like a nice bowl of soup with the most popular winter vegetable called parsnip. This root is a close relative to beets and carrots, but the taste is somewhat hard to explain. The taste of parsnip is everything but simple. You get a variety of flavor profiles, sweet, kind of spicy with a slight hint of zestiness, starchy flesh like potatoes, and earthy. If you happen to not have parsnip in your home, don’t worry, there are a couple of suitable substitutes for it.
The best alternatives for parsnip in baking are butternut squash, carrots, and celery root.
If you want to find out more about these amazing and healthy vegetables, then keep on reading.
Substitutes For Parsnip
Butternut squash is a winter vegetable with a nutty taste, similar to pumpkin. This is honestly one of my favorite vegetables to eat during winter, and let me tell ya, it is pretty easy to come up with a dinner dish with this one. I love to cook it the simple way, cut it into cubes, put some sunflower oil(I find it to go best with this vegetable), salt, chili powder, and black pepper, and just pop it into the oven for 20 minutes or so. You can even add some pumpkin pie spice blends to make it even sweeter.
Believe me, it is the most healthy and delicious thing to eat on a cold Saturday evening. Butternut squash like most vegetables is low in calories and full of vitamins, so you get a nice and tasty meal without having the quilt and the worry of eating too much. Butternut squash is a good alternative for parsnips, especially when you’re making it with some red meat, and other root vegetables like carrots.
Carrots need no introduction. It is one of the most used and famous vegetables for soups, stews, side dishes, carrot cakes, etc… Carrots come from the root family and they have a sweet taste with a little bit of an earthy flavor and a crunchy texture, making them an excellent alternative to parsnips. You can do basically whatever you want with this vegetable, and I have some ideas of what you can prepare it with.
Ideas To Make Your Carrots Taste Even Better
- Roasted Veggies- In a baking dish with a baking sheet on it, put cubed potatoes, cubed carrots, red bell peppers, and cubed spring onions. To add more flavor to this dish, add paprika, some garlic powder(I prefer powdered garlic because regular garlic tends to burn easily, and can give your meal a bitter taste), fresh herbs (or herbes de Provence), curry powder, salt, pepper, and to top it all off, pour some melted butter over it and a couple of drops of some light vinegar like rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Mix it all up, and put it to bake on 180 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes. You can skip the melted butter if you’re trying to cut on the carbs or you don’t like the buttery taste or you want to do some vegan baking, and instead pour some olive oil or coconut oil. This side dish goes amazing with roasted dishes like roast beef, roast cubed chicken, etc…
- Old Fashioned Soup- Prepare a healthy bowl of soup from scratch with some celery, ground ginger, some fresh parsley, carrots, and of course, chicken stock. If you’d like you can always mix it up and put a spoonful of sour cream if you want more creamy options.
- Baby Carrots Side Dish- Baby carrots are the smaller, cuter version of regular carrots. I love steaming them and putting them on the side with some chicken nuggets (make with a mix of ground chicken, onion powder, garlic powder, and panko). It is one of the easiest and tastiest dishes that I love to make on a lazy weekend.
While not the most appealing vegetable on the outside, celery is most definitely beautiful on the inside. Some may call it turnip-rooted celery, and some may call it Celeriac but either way, this awesome root with white flesh is the way to go when making all sorts of soups and stews. There isn’t a day where my uncle doesn’t make soup and just talks my ear off how celery is one of the most healthy, must-have vegetables around the house.
This vegetable is not just for soups, you can also make a beautiful salad out of it with just some apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper, as well as a healthy variant of mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. Celery root has an earthy flavor, that is almost bitter and kind of sweet. You can find it in almost every one of your local grocery stores, and markets. Celery roots are excellent parsnip substitutes.
The Most Unbelievably Tasty Celery Burger
The coolest thing about celery is that you can easily just swap your ground meat for it. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, simply just boil one celery root, mash it up, put some Italian herbs or any type of savory herbs(like rosemary), some panko, ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and form a patty out of it.
To make the taste even better, I recommend putting a touch of cream cheese(or a type of light cream like creme fraiche or maybe some cottage cheese) on top of your non-meat burger. This no-meat patty is an amazing substitute for ground beef and ground turkey in your favorite burger recipes. Fry your burger in a pan with some peanut oil so you have a more enhanced flavor. Try to keep this recipe in mind when you have nothing to prepare for dinner at home, trust me you won’t be disappointed.
Parsnip Root Recipes
- Peel and slice parsnips and cut them in the shape of fries.
- Now, add a blend of spices (garlic powder, chili powder, mustard powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper) and a touch of vegetable oil.
- Deep fry your parsnip fries in peanut oil(you can also make baked parsnip fries if you’re going for a more healthy variant but be aware that the cooking time will be prolonged)
- Put the parsnip fries on a cooling rack and salt them generously.
- Enjoy these fries along with some hot honey pork chops, and try to eat as much as you can.
- 400 grams of plain ground meat (ground pork, ground beef, or lamb mince)
- 2 0r 3 Parsnip roots
- 1 carton of half-and-half or heavy cream
- 1 cup milk(you can use oat milk or light coconut milk if you like)
- 1 cup of diced tomatoes
- Tomato puree
- 1 cup diced onions
- Put your meat in a greased-up pan and fry it until it’s no longer red and bloody(it should have a grey color).
- When the meat is ready add the diced onions, diced tomatoes, and tomato puree to the pan. Mix it all up and leave on medium it to soak up the flavors.
- While all of that is cooking, take a baking dish, and put some baking paper on it.
- Cut the parsnip into long strips and boil them for five minutes(parsnip is a firm vegetable and needs to parboil)
- Put a single layer (like lasagna) of parsnip strips directly on the baking paper.
- Follow up with a layer of the meat mixture.
- On top of the meat drizzle a little bit of heavy cream or make a fresh bechamel sauce(it’s better with bechamel but this is much easier)
- Follow the same order until you’ve run out of ingredients and remember that you have to finish with layered parsnips.
- Pour a cup of milk on the finished product(try to get some on the bottom too)
The Cooking Process:
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C and bake for half an hour, until you start to see some browning on top.
- Top off your dish with some bright herbs, herbs de province, or collard greens.
- Parsnip root
- A cup of milk
- Shredded Monterey Jack cheese(or any cheese with a mild flavor like queso fresco)
- Peel, and cut the parsnip into cubes, and put it to boil for 15 minutes(put a fork through the root, and if it has a soft texture, you know it’s done)
- Mash the cubes of boiled parsnip along with the cup of milk, and butter.
- When you’re satisfied with the texture, add in the cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Stir the hot puree until it’s all nice and incorporated.
- Enjoy this puree as a side dish to some pan-fried skinless chicken thighs(or filet mignon)
- Top off your puree with the leftover chicken fat.