So, to prove that I really do know what a parsnip looks like, I roasted some the other night. It was Genie who got me thinking about them again when she made the same mistake I almost did, by buying diakon radishes instead of parsnips. How parsnips and daikon radishes can bring such self-awareness and tolerance, I’ll never cease to be amazed. I mean, they make great vegetables, but counselors? I had my doubts.
Turns out parsnips are pretty good listeners. Daikon are too, although, I find Daikon, with their brilliant white exterior, to be a bit condescending. I mean, it listens, but is it judging? Daikon seem to be a bit superficial for my taste; the way they use their good looks to lure you away from other, say, tastier root vegetables, while the brownish, well-worn exterior of the parsnip shows life experience and tolerance, if you will. Sure, it’s kind of fugly, in that “my-cousin-was-born-with-an-antler” kind of way, but it’s a veg you can bring home to Mom and Dad.
So, now that you will be able to tell these two albino-looking carrots apart, what do you do with them? I’d only used parsnips once, in this delicious crepe filling. I was really impressed with this “new to me” vegetable since:
1) They are surprisingly sweet tasting
2) They are similar to (yet somehow better than) carrots
3) They are unexpected
4) They are pleasing to my husband, unlike most vegetables.
This could be one of my favorite side dishes and I will surely make it again and again! Parsnips roast up so well – they caramelize and taste so yummy! I didn’t know how adding the carrots would turn out; I thought they might detract or compete with the parsnips, but I was really happy they were there. The glaze is delicious yet subtle; it enhances the flavor of the vegetables instead of just adding sweetness.
Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with Thyme
2 lbs parsnips, peeled
1 lb baby carrots
5 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 Tbsp fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to the pan. Stir to combine just until sugar melts. Remove from heat.
Quarter the peeled parsnips lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces, roughly the size of the carrots. Place the carrots and parsnips on a baking sheet and drizzle with the buttery glaze. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss the vegetables until evenly coated with the butter.
Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the thyme over the vegetables, stir to combine, and return them to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. The parsnips should be caramelized and tender. Serve warm. Serves 4 generously.