How to make a parsnip taste good

barb_roselover_inDecember 25, 2012

I am trying to incorporate new vegetables into my diet because of the "wheat belly" thing. Can somebody tell me how to season these because I understand they have a licorice taste and that doesn't especially tickle my appetite. Thanks in advance. Barb

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I don't believe parsnips have a licorice taste. The closest taste I can think of is celery but parsnips have more sweetness. They really have a taste of their own.

Do a web search on the words 'parsnip', 'honey' and 'curry'. You will find dozens of recipes for baked parsnips and parsnip soup which have a good combination of flavors.


    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 9:16PM
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I agree, parsnips are slightly sweet, they actually remind me somewhat of carrot. The only thing I know that tastes of licorice is fennel. I love it, but I like licorice.

Anyway, parsnips. I like them boiled and mashed and I like them roasted with other root vegetables after drizzling with some olive oil and adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

If all else fails, there's this:

Spiced Parsnip Pecan Cupcakes

For the cupcakes (Adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2006)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (packed) shredded peeled parsnips
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped, plus 12 whole toasted pecans for topping the cupcakes
cinnamon, for dusting

For the cream cheese frosting (From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.)
8 oz cream cheese (full fat), at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 3/4 cups confectioner�s sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a standard muffin pan with muffin cups.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, then pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Stir in the shredded parsnips and chopped pecans.

Fill each muffin cup with the batter and bake for 23-25 minutes, until the tops spring back when gently pressed (or a tester inserted into the middle of one comes out clean.) Cool the cupcakes 5 minutes in the pan, then remove them to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Make the frosting:
In the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice.

Frost the cupcakes however you like. Dust the tops with cinnamon, and top with a toasted pecan.

Makes 12.

These are yummy, but I love parsnips nearly any way, even frosted!


    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 12:31AM
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Another nice recipe is roasted with parmesan.
Par-boil parsnip wedges for 5 minutes. Toss them while still damp in a little flour with a lot of grated parmsan mixed in. Sprinkle with a little oil and roast until golden ad crispy.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 4:54AM
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If you are following a wheat-free diet - a la the book "Wheat Belly", check out some Paleo recipes. Do a search on "Paleo recipes using parsnips".

Caramelized Onion Parsnips
Peel and slice parsnips lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (use a cutting mandoline). In a large saucepan cook parsnips, covered, in a small amount of boiling lightly salted water for 7-9 minutes or until tender; drain. Top parsnips with caramelized onions.

Parsnips can be cook and mashed and used instead of mashed potatoes. They can be made into baked parsnip fries. 

The recipe linked below is wheat\-free. 


Here is a link that might be useful: [Primal Parsnip Cupcakes](
    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 6:03AM
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I too think you are confusing parsnips with fennel. Parsnips are a very similar to carrots, just white and sweeter. Great peeled and cut, then oven roasted or cooked with your potatoes for a great mashed side.

Fennel eaten raw is good for your digestion and an excellant palate cleanser.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:35AM
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I hated them as a child, but mom just stewed them. I have of late tried them again roasted and it brings out the sweet taste of them greatly. I use them in oven pot roasts, stews, etc.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 10:32AM
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I never liked parsnips until I had these: DH's mom cut them into sticks and parboiled, then dipped in beaten egg, rolled in seasoned flour and fried them. I'm sure a gluten-free flour would work...I think almond flour would be yummy.

Now I want to go dig some up. Well, except for the 3' of snow...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 11:53PM
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Katie, I'm also sure gluten free flour would work, just as it would work for the cupcakes.

I think parsnip muffins would be a lot like carrot muffins, and I also like them grated and added to potatoes for hash browns.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 1:20AM
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I like parsnips, but so far I've only used them in making chicken or vegetable stock or tempura. I cut them into 1-1/2 inch chunks for the stock and remove them after about an hour so that I can eat them. They get flavored by other ingredients in the stock (onion, garlic, carrot, celery, chicken bones, etc), but I think they still have their own flavor - nothing like licorice or fennel. Fennel is the only thing I know that tastes like licorice, and I would never add it to chicken stock. Anyway, I like the flavor of parsnips as they are, and I like them a lot better than carrots. I throw out the carrot I use when making chicken stock. For me, carrots are sweeter than parsnips but parsnips are supposed to have a higher glycemic index.

I sometimes deep-fry parsnips in tempura batter, but I prefer turnips for this, although both are good.


Here is a link that might be useful: parsnip glycemic indes

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 3:17AM
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IMHO, parsnips need to be roasted or deeply sauteed to bring out the natural sweetness, a pinch of sugar helps to enhance this. Also thorough cooking also helps to make them very tender. Make sure they are brown and caramelized.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 5:54PM
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