Perfect Parsnips

Perfect Parsnips

Parsnips are a cream-skinned root vegetable with a delightfully sweet flavor. They are closely related to carrots, which is why they essentially look like a white carrot. They come in a range of sizes from medium carrot size to over a pound each, depending on the season and length of time we let them grow. 

Generally, parsnips have a very long growing season. They take approximately 110-130 days to come to full maturity, which is pretty much the exact length of our growing season here in Northern Wisconsin. We typically harvest them in October and November, but they can be stored much longer. 

Parsnips are an October and November vegetable for us. We put parsnips in the main season CSA once or twice, as well as once or twice into the fall boxes. If we have an especially good production year, you might find them at the market or in our online store (though we usually sell out very quickly).

What we grow

We grow standard, white parsnip varieties and tend to experiment with those that have a slightly shorter, less-daunting growing season. Parsnips are an exceptionally difficult vegetable to grow for quite a few reasons (the long growing season being one of them). The seeds don’t always germinate well and they get weedier than other crops because they are in the ground so long, and have such tender delicate leaves. Because of these factors, they are a crop with the greatest failure rate at our farm. We consider them a sort of delicacy and prioritize giving them to CSA members first. 

Storage tips 

Parsnips can be stored just like a carrot, in a loose bag or container. This goes for short or long- term storage. Parsnips store super well (just as long-term as carrots), but sometimes will sprout a little or grow some hairs from the top. That is fine, just wash and peel to prep.

How to prepare

Even though parsnips are buried deep in the soil for a very a long time, their skin is fairly tender and you do not need to peel them. After that, you can prepare them the same way you’d prepare a carrot (or really any root vegetable): diced, chopped, sliced, shredded, raw, roasted, hasselbacked (as shown above), and so much more.

Many, many ways to enjoy parsnips: The recipes!

Parsnips were once described to me as the lobster of vegetables: boiled until tender and then dipped into butter. While that might be a method, boiling parsnips tends to downplay their best features. We will boil parsnips for stews, soups, and purees, but find them most spectacular when roasted simply, shredded for raw salads, or grated into things like waffles and cornbread. 

Photo by: Alexandra Cooks

Roasted Parsnips with Spicy Honey Butter

Recipe by: Alexandra Cooks

Yield: 4-6 servings
Time: 35 minutes


2 pounds parsnips, cut into 3” lengths, halved, or quartered if large

2 tablespoons olive oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste) or 2 chiles de árbol, crushed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for finishing


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss parsnips and oil on a rimmed baking sheet (parchment-lined for easy cleanup); season with salt and pepper. (For every pound of parsnips, I use 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Parsnips can handle salt.) Roast parsnips for 20 minutes. Flip, and roast for another 10 minutes or until the parsnips are deeply golden in spots.
  2. Meanwhile, heat chiles de árbol or crushed red pepper flakes, butter, vinegar, and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted.
  3. Drizzle chile-honey butter over parsnips and toss to coat.
  4. Transfer to a serving platter. Season with sea salt. Taste. Add more sea salt as necessary.

Photo by: Our Salty Kitchen

Raw Carrot Salad with Parsnips

Recipe by: Our Salty Kitchen

Yield: 8 servings
Time: 20 minutes


1 pound organic carrots, multi-colored to achieve the ombre effect

3 medium organic parsnips

Fresh parsley

4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1.5 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 garlic clove, smashed

Flaky Maldon sea salt, to taste

Fresh cracked pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse/scrub the carrots and parsnips. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the outer skin from each parsnip and carrot and reserve for another purpose (they are great to add to vegetable stock).
  2. Continue to shave each parsnip and carrot until you reach the core. Arrange the peeled vegetable strips in a shallow platter. To achieve the ombre effect, I started with the parsnips, then yellow carrots, then orange carrots, finishing with purple carrots.
  3. Prepare the vinaigrette. Vigorously whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and smashed garlic.
  4. Pour the vinaigrette over the shaved vegetables. Top with fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Gently toss to serve.

Photo by: Bon Appetit

Parsnip Puree

Recipe by: Bon Appetit

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes


1½ pounds parsnips, scrubbed, sliced ¾” thick

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced


  1. Place parsnips in a medium pot, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and add enough water to cover the parsnips. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then uncover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the parsnips are very soft when tested with a small knife. Don’t drain the pot!
  2. With a slotted spoon or small strainer, transfer the parsnips to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to chop the parsnips. Pour the cooking liquid into a glass measuring cup and pour ½ cup down the feed tube. Purée the parsnips, adding more cooking liquid (about 1 cup total) through the feed tube until the parsnips are creamy and almost smooth but still have some texture. Add butter, diced, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and purée until combined. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Photo by: Plant Based on a Budget

One-Pan Root Vegetable Hash

Recipe by: Plant Based on a Budget

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes


1 tablespoon of med-high heat oil

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 cup of diced onion

2 garlic cloves chopped

2 cups of diced potato (any variety)

½ cup of diced beets

½ cup of diced sweet potato

½ cup of diced parsnips

½ cup of diced carrot

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of black pepper

Freshly chopped parsley, dill, or chives (optional)


  1. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot, add paprika. Let it sizzle for 15 seconds to bring out the flavor, then add onion and garlic. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until onions begin to soften.
  2. Add potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots to the skillet and let cook on medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often until veggies are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Optionally, garnish with freshly chopped parsley, dill, or chives.

Photo by: NYTimes Cooking

Carrot-Parsnip Soup With Parsnip Chips

Recipe by: NYTimes Cooking

Yield: 6 servings
Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2½ cups chopped yellow onion

3 cups coarsely chopped parsnip (about 1 pound)

3 cups water

2½ cups coarsely chopped carrot (about 1 pound)

2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium vegetable broth

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup parsnip, cut into ⅛ inch slices

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add chopped parsnip, water, carrot and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes
  2. Place half of carrot mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed carrot mixture in a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining carrot mixture. Stir in salt and pepper.
  3. Heat remaining 5 teaspoons oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add parsnip slices; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle parsnip chips and chives over soup.

Photo by: NYTimes Cooking

Pasta with Parsnips and Bacon

Recipe by: NYTimes Cooking

Yield: 2 servings
Time: 45 minutes


3 medium parsnips (¾ pound), peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

Kosher salt and black pepper, as needed

½ pound dried campanelle or farfalle pasta

¼ pound bacon, diced

1 medium leek, thinly sliced

¾ cup heavy cream

⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss parsnips with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until parsnips are golden and tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions until 1 minute before it’s al dente. Drain.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes; use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.
  4. Return skillet to heat and add leeks. Cook in remaining bacon fat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and cooked bacon. Simmer mixture until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in pasta, parsnips and cheese. Simmer until heated through and cheese is melted, then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper; toss with parsley. Serve drizzled with olive oil, with plenty of black pepper on top.

Photo by: Naturally Ella

Shaved Parsnip Salad with Parsley

Recipe by: Naturally Ella

Yield: 4 small side servings
Time: 15 minutes


1 pound parsnips

½ cup parsley (roughly chopped)

¼ cup minced red onion

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper (to taste)


  1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel of the parsnips. Shave thin ribbons of parsnip until you reach the core.
  2. In a large bowl, combine shaved parsnips with parsley, red onion, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Toss until well combined and add salt and pepper to taste.

Photo by: Bites of Wellness

5 Ingredient Parsnip Waffles

Recipe by: Bites of Wellness

Yield: 2 waffles
Time: 12 minutes


1 pound parsnips

2 large eggs 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Preheat the waffle iron.
  2. Peel the parsnips and cut the top and bottom ends off. Cut the parsnips down into small enough pieces to fit into the feeding tube of your food processor.
  3. Using the grating attachment of your food processor, grate the parsnips. You can also do this by hand if you don’t have a food processor.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the two eggs, salt, garlic powder and dried thyme. Mix well.
  5. Add the parsnips to the egg mixture and stir well to fully incorporate the eggs into the parsnips.
  6. Spray the waffle iron with non-stick spray and pour half the mixture onto the waffle iron. Even it out and close the waffle iron. 
  7. Cook for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the waffle when finished and cook the second waffle the same way. 

Photo by: Dishing up the Dirt

Cardamom Spiced Parsnip & Date Muffins With Honey & Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe by: Dishing up the Dirt

Yield: 12 muffins
Time: 35 minutes


2 cups Hazelnut Flour

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 eggs

1/2 cup hazelnut oil (or another neutral tasting oil)

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup shredded parsnips

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (reserve some of this mixture for sprinkling on top of the muffins)

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (room temperature)

1/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a standard 12 cup muffin tin and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the hazelnut flour, salt, baking soda, and cardamom.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, honey and vanilla. Gently fold in the shredded parsnips, dates and hazelnuts. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Divide the batter between the muffin tins and bake in the oven until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a muffin. About 18 minutes.
  5. Prepare the frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and honey and continue to beat until smooth and well incorporated. Taste test and adjust as needed.
  6. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Sprinkle with reserved crushed hazelnuts and enjoy!

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