Parsnips: A Hint of Sweetness

Béatrice Peltre plays around with the unique flavors of parsnips.

When it comes to root vegetables, parsnips are somewhat of an anomaly. They look like a cross between a carrot and a turnip, but when you bite into a parsnip, its powerful and unique flavor quickly proves your eyes wrong. They’re a vegetable like no other and, let’s be honest, not everyone takes to them immediately.

My trick with parsnips is to use them as a flavor enhancer, not as a sole ingredient. They’re deceptively sweet and flavorful, so a little bit can go a long way. Add one or two to a stew to infuse it with a bite of the unexpected; spread a few throughout a pan of roasted potatoes, turnips, and carrots for a hint of sweet in the savory.

For my parsnip and carrot soup recipe, I use equal parts of the two vegetables, along with a balance of other sweet and savory ingredients like orange and apple, and onion and garlic. The result is a dish with a complex and enticing marriage of flavors. Then there’s my all-time favorite use for parsnips: as the base for a spiced cake. The recipe I’ve whipped up for you features parsnips in the same way you would make…