Dec 10, 2014

Baked Parsnip Fries

I realize the title of this post is contradictory. How can fries be baked? Well, it’s just a play on words in order to present this nifty, healthier alternative to french fried potatoes. They’re not french, fried or potatoes! In fact, parsnips are not even related to potatoes. They are closer in kin to carrots and parsley.

Nutritionally, white potatoes pale in comparison to parsnips. This lovely, cream-colored root contains anti-oxidants such as falcarinol, falcarindiol, panaxydiol and methyl-falcarindiol (did you try to pronounce those out loud like me?) which have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. The dietary fiber in parsnips is partly soluble and partly insoluble and is comprised of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Their high fiber may help prevent constipation and reduce blood cholesterol levels[1].

The flavor of parsnips, when ripe and harvested properly, is sweet! Especially when roasted, like these “fries” are. I served them with a little homemade ketchup, but we wound up eating most of them plain as the flavor is so wonderful, all on its own!

Recipe:

  • There isn’t really much of a recipe for these… simply take however many parsnips you want to serve, peel and cut into fairly thin strips (similar to french fries), coat with a smidgen of oil and bake in a single layer at 425° for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Toss a few times while they’re baking to ensure even cooking. Garnish with a few twists of freshly ground black pepper and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
NOTE: I have noticed lately that not all parsnips are created equal… at least not on my grocer’s shelves. Some are sweeter, some are more fibrous. Ideally you want to use really fresh parsnips that haven’t been laying around too long. That way, they will be moist inside and not dry out too much when baked. I also tried baking some without any oil at all. The result was less than satisfactory in that they were VERY chewy. Flavor-wise they were about the same. So if you don’t mind a little workout for your jaw, then ditch the oil!
Healthy trails,
 
 
 
 
References:

  1. Siddiqui, I. R. (1989). “Studies on vegetables: fiber content and chemical composition of ethanol-insoluble and -soluble residues”. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 37 (3): 647–650.

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