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MissAusten's avatar

How do YOU cook parsnips? Beets?

Asked by MissAusten (16132points) May 25th, 2011

My husband brought home some parsnips and beets yesterday. I’ve never cooked either of these things and don’t even know what they taste like. Can you share a recipe using parsnips or beets that you enjoy? If it’s something kids would at least try, even better!

Tried and true recipes, please. I know I can look up recipes easily, but I’d like to hear what you, personally, like to cook with these things.


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35 Answers

RareDenver's avatar

Don’t know about Beets but when we cook parsnips we cut them into quarters and roast them in a ceramic dish with olive oil and herbs de provence. Hmm might have some tonight.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Parsnips are best after a few frosts so I’m curious where he got those. Simple recipe: Peel, cube and boil in water til tender. Then mash with a little milk and butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Beets, depending on the size you can boil til they’re tender. Serve with a little vinegar. The greens are excellent when small. Boil with a few strips of bacon and serve with vinegar.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Maybe garlic too.

Qingu's avatar

Parsnips are soooo delicious! They have a sweet, almost vanilla-y flavor. You can roast them on their own, but I like to use them to jazz up mashed potatoes.

• ½ lb parsnips, halved or quartered and chopped
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1½ lbs yukon gold potatoes, quartered lengthwise and sliced
• ⅓ cup chicken or veggie broth
• ⅔ cup half-and-half
• lots of chives, salt, and pepper

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, add parsnips and cook until carmelized and butter has browned, about 10–12 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, rinse sliced potatoes under cold running water, shaking occasionally, to rid them of excess starch. After parsnips have carmelized, add potatoes, broth, and about ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, then cover pan tightly, reduce heat to low or medium-low (to maintain simmer), and cook for about 20–30 minutes until potatoes are tender and fall apart when pierced with a fork.

3. Uncover pan, off heat, and let sit for a few minutes to let steam release. Coarsely mash with a potato masher or large fork. Microwave half-and-half so it’s warm, then stir in, along with chives and salt and pepper to taste.

Qingu's avatar

As for beets—you don’t even have to cook them! You can grate them raw into a salad.

Pele's avatar

⅓ parsnips, ⅔ carrots, boiled drained and mashed. Add butter, salt and pepper, and it’s my favorite food in the whole world. It’s the best side dish. I also make it every Thanksgiving too. Simple, yet to die for. Trust me. As for beets. I don’t like beets. I also like parsnips in my soups.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Haven’t done parsnips, but I do fresh beets whenever I can. Peel with veggie peeler, then slice into ¼ in slices. (If they’re really big, quarter them before slicing) Steam for 7–10 minutes, still firm but piercable with a fork (longer if necessary, but I just check them periodically). Serve plain or with a little butter, they’re very sweet.
Added bonus: Young children will be thrilled with the magenta poop that is sure to follow.

Blueroses's avatar

For beets Harvard Beets is just about my favorite. Sweet, tangy and buttery. Yum!

marinelife's avatar

Both of them have an earthy taste that can be iffy for kids. Some will like them; some won’t.

I like them roasted. Peel and cut in chunks. Salt, pepper and coat with olive oil. Roast at 375 degrees for 45 min to an hour (until soft and browned).

YoBob's avatar

You can pretty much treat the parsnips like potatoes. Boil them and mash them with a good dollop of butter with salt to taste.

As I am the only one in my family who will eat beets, I pickle them so they will last. The recipe is simple:

Boil your beets until fork tender (don’t overcook)
Make a brine with 1cup of the beet juice, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of salt, and a bit of sugar and bring to a boil. While the brine is coming up to temperature, put the beets in a container with a clove of garlic, a couple of whole cloves, and a few pepper corns. Pour the brine over the beets and let cool. Put the container in the fridge and enjoy as the mood strikes.

Buttonstc's avatar

Roasting really concentrates the flavors of both of these veggies and brings out their natural sweetness.

When dealing with beets, I find that the simplest and least messy way is to wash them but don’t peel them and wrap in foil. Roast them at the same temp and time as potatoes.

After they’ve cooled enough to handle, the skins will slip off easily by rubbing with paper towels.

For kids I would cook them similar to honey-glazed carrots (and I’d also add some carrots into the mix). A little orange zest and some of the juice added is also nice.

For myself, I’ve found that the perfect pairing for beets is Gorgonzola Dolce cheese (or any other type of blue cheese) and served either hot or cold. Another cold option is to add the beets and cheese to salad greens. Delish.

Parsnips go great with carrots or pretty much any other root veggie (butternut squash, celeriac etc.) and also mashed/pureed with them.

deni's avatar

We usually buy several kinds of root vegetables at once so we can do a root vegetable bake. Then chop them up into small-ish cubes, toss them all into a loaf pan, or whatever kind of pan, and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, pretty much whatever you want. Cover with foil and bake. They’re delish!

snowberry's avatar

I’ll put fresh parsnips or beets into any soup or stew I’m planning. In these dishes it does not help to overwhelm the dish. Maybe it was the fresh beets out of our garden, but those critters tasted best on the compost pile! :( I do enjoy them if they are prepared by someone else, or maybe beets out of someone else’s garden. Parsnips or beets alone are normally awesome. I’ve had mashed parsnips with butter and salt and pepper. Beets are lovely pickled, or in salad. I’m not as fond of them just boiled, but I think I’d like them fine served with butter, salt, and pepper as before.

MissAusten's avatar

These ideas sound really good! We also have carrots and potatoes, so lots of options for paring the parsnips with things the kids are already used to eating.

@Adirondackwannabe He got them at the grocery store here in town. He bought them, along with the beets and several other things, to serve as a reference for a mural he’s painting in a client’s kitchen. He photographed the veggies today out on the lawn just to confirm to the neighbors that we are crazy so they are free to be eaten!

snowberry's avatar

Parsnips have a rather distinctive taste, so don’t use very many, and cut them up fine if you use them in soup or stew for the kids. Beets are more generic in taste, and you could hide them in many dishes without being noticed.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@MissAusten I was just curious. I’ve grown them from seed and they take quite awhille to grow.

adrifoxx's avatar

my family boils beets…only my mom likes them though…

Seelix's avatar

My mom always cooked parsnips along with a bunch of other root veggies and Polish sausage. She’d roast everything all together – sausage, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnip, onions and garlic. No other seasoning – it was heavenly.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Parsnips I always roast in goose fat and herbs.

Beetroot – you can grate up and mix into chocolate cake batter before you cook it. It will make fantastic moist cake and people will never guess that’s what you’ve done.

downtide's avatar

For parsnips, I cut them lengthwise in half or quarters, depending on how thick they are. Drizzle with some olive oil and roast in a medium oven until tender and golden-brown. Take them out and turn them during cooking. The amount of time varies depending on how thick they are, but it should be around 30 minutes, give or take a few.

Beets I don’t know, is that the same as turnips?

Kardamom's avatar

This is one of my new Go-To recipes for root vegetables. It’s actually an un-cooked salad, but it’s divine. It’s called Raw Kale Salad with Root Vegetables I’ve made this salad about 5 times in the last 6 months, and the best root veggies were beets, parsnips and rutabagas. So far everybody that has tasted it has loved it.

Parsnip Puree is a really tasty way to eat parsnips. You can use this dish in place of mashed potatoes. You can use vegetable broth or clear mushroom broth in place of the chicken broth for a vegetarian version.

Of course, just roasting them is the most common way to prepare them. You can also add other veggies like carrots or garlic or sweet potatoes. Yum!

Your kids would probably like these Sweet Potato and Beet Chips with Garlic and Rosemary. If you have a dehydrator, you can also make beet chips (and kale chips) that way.

This Creamy Beet Salad is really tasty too. It goes very well with barbecue, in place of or in addition to potato salad. I first tasted this at at a Swedish festival.

This is a slightly different take on the salad above, it’s also called Creamy Beet Salad and it’s served with a creamy pink sauce on the side.

Here’s another recipe that would be great for a picnic, Wheat Berry Salad With Beets in Tahini Dressing

This Pickled Parsnips and Carrots sounds really tasty too, especially with picnic weather coming up. I love pickled anything and most kids do too.

This might freak your kids out, but I love this Vegetarian Borscht The dried porcini mushrooms are used instead of beeth broth to give it that super rich earthy flavor, and this recipe calls for both beets and parsnips. Maybe if you tell your kids they’re eating Vampire Blood, they might be more willing to eat it. It’s very delicious.

Another thing that I love is a sandwich made with thinly sliced raw beets (wash them, but you don’t even need to remove the skin) layered with Havarti or Swiss Cheese, a little bit of Arugula and some butter on a wonderful crusty bread (like some of those artisan breads that they have at Trader Joe’s).

You can also make a nice salad with Butter Lettuce, small chunks of raw beets, candied pecans, crumbled bleu cheese in a Balsamic vinaigrette.

I love soup and this Parsnip and Wild Mushroom Soup looks amazing. My mouth is watering just looking at it.

And this Cream of Parnsip Soup sounds wonderful.

Wow! Here is a soup that even I never would have thought of, but it sounds wonderful. It is a Spicy Parsnip Soup with Coconut Milk! It sounds kind of Thai inspired.

Here’s something that your kids are sure to like Red Velvet Cake Back in the old days, the red coloring actually came from beets, not food coloring. Beets lend a sweet and moist texture to baked goods and are sometimes used in chocolate cake recipes too.

The fellows would probably appreciate this Marinated Flank Steak with Parsnip Frites

And I will leave you with this over the top yummy sounding dish that is called Parsnip Fettucine with Marinated Mushrooms This dish kind of looks like pasta, but I would describe it as a salad. This sounds beyond amazing! This is like something that they would serve at a spa, but it sounds relatively easy to make.

Bon Apetite!

YARNLADY's avatar

We cook them the same way we do potatoes, and use in recipes in place of or in addition to potatoes.

Kardamom's avatar

@YARNLADY That must made me think of something that would be totally yummy, but I haven’t looked to see if anyone has made this, since you mentioned using them just like potatoes. French fried parsnips! Or maybe parsnip tempura like they do with sweet potoes in a Japanese restaurant.

You can probably tell I’m hungry right now : P

laureth's avatar

For parsnips, the way I usually use them is cutting them to size (like I would potatoes or carrots) and throwing them in the oven or crockpot with a roast, be it pork or beef.

Also, for any root veggie, dice up into bite-size with a bunch of other roots (parsnips, beets, potatoes, carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, rutabaga etc), lightly coat with olive oil, some salt, and rosemary, and roast in the oven until they’re tender and done, hopefully nicely caramelized. I go in at least once about halfway through and mix ‘em up so they roast evenly.

RareDenver's avatar

@Kardamom I have had french fried parsnips but you have to be careful as they are easy to overcook when done that way

Kardamom's avatar

@RareDenver That sounds yummy. What did you dip them in? I’m thinking something like ketchup mixed with horseradish would be good.

RareDenver's avatar

@Kardamom not dipped them in anything usually, just with a bit of salt, have had them as part of a Christmas dinner before so with a bit of cranberry sauce, nice and sweet.

RareDenver's avatar

Oh and just a heads up to all non vegetarians out there. Parsnips are amazing when cooked in goose fat, I can’t even begin to describe the order of magnitude that it improves on an already amazing tasting vegetable.

MissAusten's avatar

We ate a lot of the parsnips tonight. I cut them up with carrots and potatoes, drizzled it all with olive oil, tossed in some garlic and seasonings, wrapped it up in a foil packet, and threw it on the grill for a while. My kids didn’t even notice the parsnips. They just thought they were eating potatoes and carrots, but asked why the potatoes were so sweet. I confessed after dinner. Anyway, it was delicious and I’m sure parsnips will become a regular addition to dinner!

I think I’ll mash the rest of the parsnips with potatoes. Still deciding on the beets, but we’ll probably try them tomorrow!

RareDenver's avatar

One more thing, not sure if it’s an old wives tale but I’ve heard it said that parsnips are a mild aphrodisiac.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@RareDenver yeah… I think that’s mainly to do with their shape.

RareDenver's avatar

@Lightlyseared butternut squash must really get people hot under the collar then

Buttonstc's avatar

Good one !

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