I vividly remember the first time I ate parsnips, well, at least the first time I realized I ate parsnips. I was visiting Ireland and my brother-in-law’s sister, Angela, made us the most glorious meal featuring these funny carroty, potato-like root vegetables and I just had to know what they were! So, here I am about 10 years later sharing these delicious and nutritious root vegetables with anyone who is brave enough to try them out. If you do, I’m confident you too will become hooked!
Aside from being delicious, you might wonder what’s in it for you to delve into this uncharted territory. Two words: fiber and folate. One serving of these fries provides 6 grams of dietary fiber, most of which is the soluble fiber linked to a decreased risk of diabetes and high blood cholesterol. High fiber foods may also help prevent heart disease, cancer, hemorrhoids, obesity, stroke and diverticulitis. Yes, please!
Eating one serving of these fries will also provide you with almost a quarter of your daily need of folate, a member of the vitamin B family. Why is this important? Folate is a key player in energy metabolism; the promotion of nervous system health and function; and in the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and red blood cells. Getting your recommendation for folate also lessens your risk of depression, heart disease, cancer, and age-related vision and hearing loss. Lastly, I would be remiss to leave out folate’s crucial role in decreasing the risk for birth defects in pregnant women. Convinced? Get out your grocery list and copy the ingredients below, though I’m guessing you’ll have most of them in your pantry already!
Helen Highlights/Ideas for Getting Your Kids Involved & Chowing Down:
- Examining (this included trying to eat them like carrots) and playing with the parsnips while I peeled. If your kids are old enough, put them to work peeling!
- Building towers out of the spice bottles.
- Mixing the ingredients. I’m not going to lie, this took some guidance to keep things in the bowl.
- Motivational speaking to support the parsnips during the baking process. Why didn’t I ever realize the importance of this?!
- Taste testing once they were cooled!
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled, dried and cut 3 X 1/2" strips (The important part is to try and make them uniform in size so they cook evenly. But keep the wispy ends, they are pure deliciousness!)
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (two if you are a garlic lover, one if not 😉
- 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea or Himalayan salt, and freshly ground pepper (pepper increases curcumin absorption from turmeric)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and then spread out parsnips in a single layer (for maximum crispiness) on a baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with foil if you don't want it stained turmeric yellow; mine definitely is now (oops)!
- Roast for 10 minutes then flip parsnips and roast until tender and just starting to brown in spots, about another 10-15 minutes longer (if you're feeling risky and low maintenance you might be able to get away with not turning them, I did). Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more turmeric. Enjoy!
- Extra virgin olive oil: Buying EVOO can be tricky because there are so many options and the prices seem to be all over the board! Here are a few quick tips to make the best choice from Orietta Gianjorio, a UC Davis Olive Oil Taste Panel member who grew up in Rome.
- 1. Try to find one that is grown, processed and packed in the same location, as the nutritional value and flavor degrade over time.
- 2. Look for the harvest date. The shelf life of EVOO is two years if stored in optimum conditions, which means in a dark, room-temperature cupboard. So, if you're EVOO is currently near your stove top like most people, find a new home for it.
- 3. Favor domestic oil. Again, the shorter the commute=less time after harvest=fresher and better quality oil!