PRIMO PARSNIPS: 2 SAVORY RECIPES
Parsnips are not a vegetable I grew up with–and apparently I’m not alone. In one school in Southern California where I was presenting young author assemblies, not a single student or staff member had ever eaten a parsnip. Most of them had never even heard of a parsnip!
In fact, I’d never eaten a parsnip till after I’d already written a picture book called Once Upon a Parsnip. Serendipitously, a friend served apple-parsnip soup for a luncheon I was invited to just a month before Parsnip went into production. Suzanne is an excellent cook who worked as a professional chef for much of her adult life, and her delicious soup inspired me to include an adaptation of the recipe as back matter in my book. You’ll find the recipe below.
Parsnips, I have found, are an extremely versatile food. They can be substituted or added to any carrot recipe. Like carrots, they can be eaten raw; the small, tender ones can be peeled, grated and tossed into salads. Most people, however, eat parsnips cooked. They are a little sweeter than carrots, and cooking brings out that sweetness, along with a slightly nutty flavor. They can be cooked in many ways—baked, boiled, pureed, roasted, fried, steamed, microwaved. They can also be mixed with potatoes, carrots, apples, or oranges or added to casseroles and soups.
The breakdown of instructions for child and adult in the recipes below are suggestions; depending on age and ability, your child might be capable of more or less participation than the steps suggested. With careful supervision, older children will be able to carry out most of the steps for both recipes on their own.
LITTLE RED’S APPLE-PARSNIP SOUP (serves 4)
– 1 TBS. butter
– 1 TBS. olive oil
– 3 parsnips
– 1 small onion
– 2 large apples (try Fujis)
– 1-1/2 tsp. ground coriander
– 2 cups vegetable broth
– ½ cup apple cider
– ½ cup whipping cream
– salt and pepper to taste
1. Peel parsnips and onion. Peel and core apples. Finely chop all.
2. Measure butter and olive oil into a heavy-bottom soup pan. Turn burner to medium high. Saute parsnips and onions till tender. (Don’t let them get brown!)
3. Add apples and coriander and cook until tender.
4. Measure broth and cider into pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.
5. Cover pot and simmer until apples, onion and parsnips are very soft (about 40 minutes).
6. Transfer mixture to blender in small batches.
7. Puree mixture until velvety smooth.
8. Transfer mixture back to pan.
9. Measure and stir in cream. Thin with more broth if desired. Season with salt and pepper and heat through.
Delicious with warm sourdough bread or a French baguette.
BAKED PARSNIP FRIES WITH ROSEMARY (serves 4)
– 1-1/4 pounds parsnips
– 1/2 TBS. chopped fresh rosemary + 2-3 fresh sprigs
– 1 small garlic clove
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1-1/2 TBS. olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Peel and cut parsnips into 3 inch by 1/2 inch strips.
3. Mince garlic.
4. Chop enough rosemary to make 1/2 TBS.
5. Place parsnips, chopped rosemary, garlic, olive oil and dash of salt and pepper in large bowl. Toss to coat parsnips with mixture.
6. Place coated parsnips on large, rimmed baking sheet, spread out in a single layer.
7. Roast for ten minutes.
8. Turn parsnips over and roast 10-15 minutes longer until tender and browned in spots. Remove from oven.
9. Crumble leaves from 2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs and scatter over top of parsnips. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp. cumin. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more cumin, if desired.
Serve these delicious, low-fat, high-nutrient French-fry substitutes with catsup or ranch dressing. Your kids will scarf them up!
For additional veggie fry* recipes, follow the link to four more delicious French-fry substitutes: sweet potato fries, zucchini fries, carrot fries and asparagus fries, along with a simple Greek yogurt dip to serve them with. Yum! You’ll also find a demonstration video showing you how to make these tasty snacks.
*Note that all these veggie “fries,” including the parsnip fries above, are baked rather than fried–a healthier cooking option.
Here’s to Team Cooking!
Barbara Jean the Story Queen
Parsnip Soup recipe adapted from an original recipe by Suzanne Hood Butler. Parsnip Fries recipe adapted from www.epicurious.com. Photos via Flickr.com, used under license from creative commons.org: Peeling Parsnips, Bart Everson; Parsnip Soup, Stuart Spivak; Parsnip Fries, Foodmoods. Veggie fry photo from www.buzzfeed.com.
First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a chef. I’m not even a mom. What I know about healthy food and healthy eating I’ve learned by reading and doing, just like you.
What I am is a children’s book author. A Story Queen! My area of expertise is FUN. In the last dozen years, I’ve written a number of entertaining, award-winning picture books–about monsters, cats, Disney princesses–and veggies, of all things.
I’m big on imagination. Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli encourages kids (the way my dad encouraged my siblings and me) to think of broccoli as crunchy, munchy, fun-to-eat trees. Once Upon a Parsnip is a fairytale rematch between Little Red Riding Hood (a vegetarian) and the Big Bad Wolf (NOT a vegetarian). Scary fun!
On the surface, neither of my veggie books is really about healthy eating–they’re just plain fun. But the fun is subversive: both books introduce and normalize the idea of eating healthy, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. (Never underestimate the power of fun to get your kids to try something new!)
My goal in these pages is to find and share fun ways to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to children and to normalize healthy foods and healthy eating in their experience. My means is to expose them–through you, their parents and caregivers–to food-friendly books, videos, downloadable and printable posters and coloring pages, hands-on activities and kid-friendly recipes. Anything that equates healthy food and FUN!
I’m here for you–to help you make healthy eating feel as natural to your children as breathing.
Because healthy food and healthy fun make healthy kids. And that’s something all of us can get behind.
Barbara Jean Hicks, a.k.a. “The Story Queen”
To purchase signed, personalized copies of my picture books, visit the “Books” page on my website. To contact me about my well regarded young author presentations for schools, or for other enquiries, send an email from the “Contact” page at barbarajeanhicks.com. I look forward to hearing from you!