I feel like parsnips are seriously underappreciated. I know they don't look like much, but what they lack in appearance they make up for in the flavour department.
They're little bit sweet and a little bit nutty, and pair beautifully with all sorts of fall and winter flavours.
Parsnips are often served as a soup or puree, or braised in soups and stews, but my hands-down favourite way to enjoy parsnips is to roast them until they're meltingly soft and dark brown around the edges.
Cider-Roasted Parsnips is the Perfect Side Dish for Fall
Roasted parsnips are an essential dish in British cuisine, where they're commonly served with the traditional Sunday roast and are one of the trimmings that often accompany Christmas dinner.
This version takes the traditional roasted parsnip recipe and adds a little splash of sweet apple cider and maple syrup for a boost of fall flavour. As they bake, the cider reduces into a glossy glaze that bumps up the sweetness level, though a dash of cider vinegar balances things out by adding a much-needed pop of acidity.
The beauty of this dish is that it looks beautiful and tastes amazing, but requires just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep work. No fuss, no muss.
How to Prepare Roasted Parsnips
Roasted parsnips are one of the simplest side dishes you can prepare this time of year. To achieve delicious caramelized perfection, you just need to follow this simple formula:
- Pick Smaller Parsnips: Bigger parsnips tend to get a tough woody core, so try to pick smaller parsnips if you can. That said, if all you can get is big fat parsnips, never fear - just cut out the woody core and carry on with the recipe.
- Peel and Cut Into Matchsticks: Parsnips can be a little challenging to cut into similar-sized pieces, because they're kind of cone shaped with a fat top and a really skinny bottom. I find the best way to work around this is to cut into 2" lengths, and then cut the skinny bottom part in half, the next part in quarters, and the top part (if I have a really long parsnip) into sixths.
- Toss with Oil and Seasoning: Toss the parsnips with oil in a large bowl to make sure they get evenly coated. Add lots of salt and pepper, and whatever other seasonings you want. Another one of my favourite combos is a splash of maple syrup and a generous dash of powdered ginger.
- Don't Crowd the Pan: Use a large baking pan, and spread out the parsnips into an even layer so that there's room for all the liquid in the pan to cook off. If the pan is too crowded, the parsnips will steam instead, and won't get those lovely crispy edges you're looking for.
- Roast in High Heat: The hotter the oven, the sweeter the parsnips. I find the sweet spot is around 450F, which gets you the perfect blend of tender softness and dark brown caramelization. Make sure to give the tray a shake partway through the roasting process to help the parsnips cook evenly.
More Ways to Enjoy Parsnips
While roasting is by far and away my most favourite way to enjoy parsnips, they're equally delicious in soups, stews, casseroles, and yes, even dessert.
Here are two oldies-but-goodies from my archives that feature parsnips:
And here are a few more delicious parsnip recipes from some of my favourite bloggers:
A splash of apple cider and maple enhances the natural sweetness of roasted parsnips in this easy-as-can-be side dish. Perfect for pairing with roast chicken or pan-fried pork chops.
1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 2" sticks
- ¼ cup sweet apple cider
2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a large bowl, toss parsnips with cider, olive oil, cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper until evenly coated. Tumble onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Roast in preheated oven, tossing occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until the cider has completely evaporated and parsnips are tender and lightly caramelized around the edges.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Category: Side Dishes
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Canadian