Enjoy these elegant, easy and delicious maple roasted parsnips, topped with a creamy tahini dressing and crunchy toasted hazelnuts. It's a wonderful combination that makes a pretty and tasty change to your usual veg.
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Parnsips are one of those vegetables that seem to be strangely under-loved in many places. Or maybe more accurately, not well know. I, meanwhile, grew up eating them fairly regularly and love them.
A lot of why they are less well known I imagine is they are a crop that you find more in colder climates than warmer ones. They grow best in cooler, damper conditions, hence me having them in Scotland and them also being more common in New England.
Parsnips are a root vegetable related to carrots, but both lighter in color and with their own unique flavor and texture. For roasting in particular, however, it's worth taking a little care as you buy them.
Tips for selecting parsnips
- Look for parsnips that feel slightly moist rather than very dry on the outside. This way, they are probably fresher.
- Bigger is not always better - larger parsnips are more likely to have a woody texture or tough core.
- In the US at least, the spring-dug parsnips are typically sweeter than the fall/winter parsnips. They are the same vegetable, just left in the ground through the winter and being in the cold ground intensifies the sugars in them. Both are good, but spring can be especially tasty.
If your parsnips seem like they may not be the best, don't throw them out. Instead, they are great for soups where the liquid helps to get past any less-than-perfect texture, especially blended up (like this parsnip and caramelized onion soup from Donna Hay).
Once you have some nice fresh parsnips, then take the opportunity to enjoy them in this delicious side dish. Roasting really brings out the best in so many vegetables, especially root vegetables, and the additions here make them that bit special.
Steps to prepare these roasted parsnips
These are really much easier to prepare than you might think as all you do is:
- Peel and chop the parsnips.
- Melt together the butter and maple syrup then drizzle over the parsnips. Toss them together then roast.
- Meanwhile, shake together the dressing, dry roast the hazelnuts and chop the parsley.
- Once roasted, add the toppings and serve.
It might seem like a couple of extra steps compared to just simple roasting, but they are really easy and the result is a dish with a wonderful combination of textures and flavors.
The parsley adds some color and freshness, the hazelnuts are a wonderfully complimentary crunch. And the creamy tahini dressing (basically like the one with my roasted eggplant with tahini) is just plain delicious and always a good idea.
These parsnips would go with a range of mains, from roasted meats to fish and more. They'd be great with a festive meal, for something that bit different, but could work with a whole range of dishes.
These maple roasted parsnips are an easy way to dress up an often under-used veg and make them into a special side. They are easy to make, versatile and with a delicious mix of flavors and textures.
Try these other tasty side dishes
- Hasselback sweet potatoes
- Maple roasted buttercup squash (super simple but the same idea)
- Butternut squash wild rice salad with cranberries and fennel
- Greek green beans (fasolakia)
- Plus get more side dish recipes and holiday ideas in the archives.
Maple roasted parsnips
For roasted parsnips
- ½ lb parsnips 225g
- ½ tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tbsp butter 7g
- ½ tbsp tahini
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp honey
- ½ tbsp water as needed
- ½ tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp hazelnuts
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
- Peel the parsnips and trim the ends. Cut them into quarters lengthwise (or smaller, if very large). If they become very thin towards the end, you may want to cut them in half lengthwise first, then cut the top part into more pieces than the top. Place them in a roasting dish.
- Melt together the maple syrup and butter in a small microwavable bowl in the microwave in 20 second intervals until the butter is just melted. Stir to combine. Drizzle the mixture over the parsnips and toss to coat evenly.
- Roast the parsnips for approx 35min until golden brown and tender.
- As the parsnips are roasting, mix together the dressing. Place all of the ingredients in a small jar and shake together to combine well (or alternatively, whisk together). Add additional water if needed to thin slightly so it is pourable.
- Roughly chop the hazelnuts and dry fry them in a small skillet until golden and nutty-smelling. Alternatively, you can roast them in the oven for a few minutes but you will need to keep a close eye on them - I find the skillet method easier.
- To serve, place the cooked parsnips on a plate, drizzle over the dressing then sprinkle over the parsley and hazelnuts.
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