How to cook roast parsnips: the best winter veg for a festive feast

Cooking roast parsnips: no Yuletide meal is complete without these crisp, deceptively sweet and delicious root veg

How to cook roast parsnips
(Image credit: Getty)

Parsnips, though divisive, are bang in season around Christmas time, so they always seem to make an appearance on the Christmas dinner table. By comparison with the rest of your meal, parsnips shouldn’t give you many problems – you can more or less bung them into a hot oven with a bit of fat and some salt and they’ll come out 30 minutes later looking nice and crispy. You have the option to parboil them – like potatoes, parsnips get a bit of extra crunch this way but it’s not really necessary. Jamie parboils his, Delia steams hers, Nigella pops them directly into a hot oven. Take your pick.

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A note on buying and preparing too: younger parsnips tend to have more tender skins so by all means, don’t worry about peeling. If you’re dealing with older, tougher skins, whip them off with a peeler. Also, when you come to chop them, make sure they’re all the same size – parsnips have a relatively high sugar content, so any smaller ones will burn very easily if given the chance.

Easy roast parsnips

SERVINGS 4

TIME 45 minutes

Ingredients

1kg parsnips, trimmed, peeled and halved/quartered

50ml Vegetable oil

Salt and Pepper

Method

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Preheat your oven to 200ºC.

Once your water is boiling, parboil your parsnips for 5 minutes, then drain and allow to steam-dry in a colander for another couple of minutes.

Toss the parsnips in a roasting tin with vegetable oil, salt and pepper, then roast them in a hot oven for 25-30 minutes. Make sure to give them a shake every now and again so they cook evenly.

When the parsnips are golden and crisp, they’re ready to eat! Drain off any excess fat with kitchen towel, finish with a pinch of flaky sea salt and serve.

Roast parsnips with honey mustard glaze and thyme

How to cook roast parsnips

(Image credit: Getty)

‘It is strange, I agree, to add honey to what is already the sweetest of vegetables,’ says the Guardian's Nigel Slater. A fair enough observation, but as proof that food isn’t quite that simple, the two do work extremely well together. It’s all a question of balance – you need a good sprinkling of salt, the gentle heat of wholegrain Dijon mustard and a touch of acid at the end to even things out, but the result is fantastic.

SERVINGS 4

TIME 1 hour

Ingredients

1kg parsnips, trimmed, peeled and halved/quartered

50ml vegetable oil

Salt

2 sprigs of thyme

2 tbsp wholegrain Dijon mustard

2 tbsp runny honey

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Cracked black pepper

Method

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Preheat your oven to 200ºC.

Once your water is boiling, parboil your parsnips for 5 minutes, then drain and allow to steam-dry in a colander for another couple of minutes.

Meanwhile put a roasting tin in the oven with the vegetable oil.

When the oil is hot, add the parsnips to the roasting tin carefully and baste them in the hot oil. Turn the oven down to 180ºC, add the thyme sprigs and roast the parsnips for 25-30 minutes, by which point they should be golden and caramelised. Shake them occasionally to move them around the pan and make sure they cook evenly.

Mix together the mustard and honey and coat the parsnips evenly with the mixture. Return the parsnips to the oven for another 5-10 minutes until they’re nicely glazed.

Drain off the excess fat and serve the parsnips with a splash of cider vinegar and some black pepper.

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