These spiced roast parsnips are soft and tender on the inside with a golden outside. Lightly spiced to complement the natural sweetness and flavour of the parsnips they make a great side dish.
Parsnips are a popular winter root vegetable and are often served roasted. Indeed when I was growing up it was the only way they were served. Later I got to enjoy them served in different ways, as mash and steamed among others but roasted still remain my favourite way to enjoy them.
And just went I thought they could not taste better I discovered spicing them before roasting, so now they are even tastier.
When are parsnips in season?
Although parsnips are in season from around September until March, it is often said that the best-flavoured parsnips are those that have been left in the ground until after the first frosts, and I have to say I totally agree with that. So it is usually around Christmas time that I eat my first parsnips after which no roast dinner is complete in my eyes without them.
To prepare the parsnips
First, wash and then peel the parsnips. Trim away the ends and discard. Then cut them into even-sized pieces. Depending on the size that usually involves cutting into halves and then quarters. If your parsnips are much thinner at one end than the other then cut this off first and cut in half or leave whole as required. If they are long I cut them into shorter lengths about 7cm (3in ) long.
The trick to success is to cut them into roughly equal-sized pieces and thicknesses. This will ensure that they all take the same time to cook. Without some becoming burnt before others are fully cooked.
If your parsnips are older fatter ones cut away the core as this can be a bit tough and fibrous.
Some recipes advocate parboiling the parsnips first but I have never found that necessary. So let’s keep this easy and skip that step. Simply toss with the oil and spices to ensure they are evenly coated, then roast in a single layer on a roasting tray until tender and golden.
What to serve the parsnips with
Roast parsnips go well with any roast dinner and are perfect for roasting alongside roast potatoes. Pop them into the oven about 10-15 minutes later to be cooked at the same time. Parsnips go well with any roast. Try them with my roast topside of beef or roast pork with crispy crackling.
Can roast parsnips be prepared ahead of time?
While I generally prefer to prepare my vegetables just before required to minimise the loss of vitamins and nutrients, when it comes to a big family roast, such as at Christmas, then preparing ahead is the way to go. Simply prepare as above and toss in the oil and spices then leave covered in the refrigerator until required.
Spiced roast parsnips step by step
1 Place the prepared parsnips in a single layer on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil.
2 Place the spices in a pestle and mortar and lightly crush. (Or crush between 2 spoons)
3 Sprinkle the spices over the parsnips on the tray.
4 And toss until coated evenly with the oil and spices.
5 Roast for 20 minutes then turn over.
6 Roast until the parsnips are golden.
Leftovers make a great soup when blitzed with a little stock. Or if you have enough spare parsnips why not try my roast parsnip soup. If you only have one or two then cut into bite sizes pieces and add to a salad. Parsnip trimmings can be added to the stockpot when making your own vegetable stock.
Spiced Roast Parsnips
- sharp knife
- vegetable peeler
- chopping board
- baking tray
- pestle and mortar
- fish slice/ spatular
- 900 g parsnips
- 2 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6.
- First, wash and then peel 1 kg (2lb) parsnips. Trim away the ends and discard. Then cut them into even-sized pieces. Spread out on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil.
- Place 1 teaspoon each of cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar and add ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes (if using) and a little salt. Pound briefly to coarsely grind. If you do not have a pestle and mortar you can crush them between two spoons or on a board with the end of a rolling pin.
- Sprinkle over the parsnips and toss the vegetables on the tray to coat with the oil and spices.
- Roast for about 20 minutes then use a fish spice or spatula to turn the parsnips. Return to the oven and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and tender. Transfer to a warm serving bowl and serve immediately.