Seasonal Recipe: Parsnips

Written by Desireeh Chevere | Reviewed by Laura Kahn MS, RDN, CDN, CLT

It’s a new season, which means new produce and new recipes to try! This month’s post features the parsnip, a root vegetable that is related to the carrot.  Parsnips look like a white version of carrots and can be enjoyed raw or cooked.  Parsnips are often substituted for carrots, however, it’s worth noting that the former are sweeter.  Parsnips are commonly paired with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, curry, cardamom, and sugar.  Parsnips also pack quite a nutritional punch as they contain high levels of fiber, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, and vitamins B, C, E, and K.

Turkey Legs with Apples, Parsnips and Onion


  • 2 large turkey drumsticks

  • 1 large apple (any kind, but preferably tart), peeled, cored and chopped to 1-inch pieces

  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped to half-inch pieces

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • ½ cup fine yellow cornmeal

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pat drumsticks dry with paper towels and rub with a few pinches of salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. In a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe skillet with a lid, heat the oil over a high flame. Place the turkey legs down and reduce heat slightly. Let cook 1-2 minutes or until gently browned on bottom (do not turn legs until checking). Flip with tongs and brown the opposite sides for another 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the onions, apple and parsnips to the pan. Cook for a minute, stirring occasionally. Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cover pan with the lid and transfer to the oven. Cook approximately 25 minutes, depending on the size of the drumsticks, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the drumstick reads 180F.

3. Meanwhile, bring two cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. When water begins to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the cornmeal while whisking rapidly. Continue whisking for about 2 minutes, or until mixture is smooth and about the consistency of a thick custard.  Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

4. Distribute the polenta (cornmeal mixture) evenly amongst two serving plates. Arrange the turkey drumsticks on top of each plate of polenta. Scoop the apples, parsnips and onion from the pan with a slotted spoon and arrange around the drumsticks. Return the pan to the stove and bring pan juices to a boil. Simmer, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until sauce is reduced to about one-half, or is thick as gravy. Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper if desired. Pour sauce over each plate and serve immediately.


Parsnip Fries


  • ½ pound parsnips, peeled

  • 2 tablespoons safflower or grape seed oil

  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano, crushed

  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika

  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • ½ teaspoon salt


1. Position racks in upper and lower third of oven. Place 2 large, rimmed baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 450°F.

2. Cut parsnips into "fries", about 3 inches long and ½ inch thick (cut out the cores if necessary; see Tip below). Toss the parsnips in a large bowl with oil, oregano, paprika and onion powder. Spread on the hot baking sheets in an even layer.

3. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir the parsnips and rotate the baking sheets top to bottom. Bake until browned around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and serve.

Tip: For the best texture, pick firm, small to medium parsnips; trim and peel before cooking. Large parsnips have a fibrous, woody core. Trim, peel and quarter them lengthwise, then cut out the core before cooking.

Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1½ pounds parsnips (about 5 medium), peeled, cored and chopped

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 medium russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and chopped

  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped

  • 1½ teaspoons mild curry powder

  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander, plus more for garnish

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • ½ cup low-fat plain yogurt


1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add parsnips and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and stir occasionally until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add broth, water, potato, apple, curry powder, coriander, cumin and ginger; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender when mashed against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon, about 20 minutes.

2. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, blend the soup in batches in a blender with the lid slightly ajar. Use caution when blending hot liquids. Return the soup to the pot.) Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve with dollops of yogurt swirled on top, garnished with pinches of coriander.



Compass Nutrition