Baked parsnip fries recipe

Baked Parsnip Fries | Pamela Salzman

I really, really ate too much the tail end of last week.  And it wasn’t lettuce I was overeating, in case you’re wondering.  The whole Thanksgiving-Hanukkah collision really did me in.  If all the pies and butter last Thursday weren’t enough, the potato pancakes fried in an inch of oil followed by more sugar over the weekend put me over the edge for sure.  In between all of that, my sister-in-law forced me, yes forced me, to try a s’mores cupcake at her son’s birthday party.  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!  It happens to the best of us.  It starts off with a weekend of over-indulgence which is followed by two weekends of holiday parties followed by Christmas and New Year’s and there’s the 8 pounds that “snuck up on ya.”  You have been warned.


trimmed and peeled

Ok, let’s make some parsnip fries!  Not to worry, parsnips are one of the few good white foods!  And these are baked, not fried.  Trust me, I’m on your side!  I don’t think I ever tasted a parsnip until 10 years ago, and I think it was in a soup mixed in with a bunch of other things.  But let me tell you, I have made up for lost time and I am now crazy for these little roots.  They’re kind of like intense carrots, really fresh, sweet and grassy.  My favorite way to eat them is chopped up, plain roasted with some salt (mmmmm……salty-sweet!)  But then my friend Avigail made me some baked parsnip fries and they were so super addictive, I went bonkers.  They aren’t crispy like regular fries, but they aren’t soggy either.  It’s really the caramelized sweet flavor mixed with the salt that I love.  I also think there’s something fun about eating with your hands, which makes these a little dangerous because I can eat an entire sheet pan all by myself in not a lot of time.  Sure, parsnips are a whole food, but they do have more carbs than a lot of other vegetables, so you don’t really want to eat a whole sheet pan of them.

cut the parsnip crosswise first


then cut each half into 1/2inch sticks

The trick with making parsnip fries is cutting them the right way.  Because they’re a bit skinny on the bottom and fat on top, I like to cut them in half crosswise first and then cut each half into sticks.  You have a much better chance of getting uniform pieces, which we all know is the key to making sure vegetables roast evenly.  Try not to allow the ends to be too skinny, otherwise they’ll burn before the rest of the parsnip is tender.  Some people like to cut the core out of the middle because it is supposedly tough, but I just slice the whole thing.

ready to be baked

I really don’t know what you couldn’t serve these with.  Parsnip fries re a perfect alternative to French fries, so these are great with burgers, veggie or otherwise.  Parsnips are fantastic with poultry.  I think Avigail served them to me with salmon.  Really, cooked this way they are so neutral you can’t go wrong.  Unless you do eat an entire sheet pan of them.  You have been warned…

Baked Parsnip Fries | Pamela Salzman

Baked Parsnip Fries
Serves: 6 or just you and me
  • 3 pounds of parsnips, peeled
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Cut the parsnips in half crosswise.  Then cut each half into ½ inch sticks.
  3. Place parsnips on the prepared baking sheets and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat with your hands and spread the pieces in one layer.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  (I like ½ teaspoon salt per pan.)  Bake until tender and golden, about 35-45 minutes, tossing once about halfway through roasting.  Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired (I always do.)

Maple-mustard roasted vegetables recipe

maple-mustard roasted vegetables | pamela salzman

This is the first year that my Thanksgiving menu has not been finalized so close to Thanksgiving.  I am not freaking out yet, but I might need an intervention.  I come up with new recipes every year for the Thanksgiving classes I teach and then I want to include them in my personal Thanksgiving dinner.  The problem is, the last few years I have just added to the menu without taking anything off and I think I am now at maximum menu capacity.  Also, there’s no balance to a meal with four Brussels sprout dishes, now is there?  I keep asking my husband, “can we just take stuffing off the menu?”  And he looks at me like I’m crazy.  Then he asks me, “why don’t you take the sweet potato casserole off the menu?”  Then I look at him like he’s really crazy.  I think I’m just going to take my Thanksgiving CEO job a little more seriously and make the tough choices.  Some dishes just aren’t going to make the cut this year (unless I get a few more ovens and a few more hours in the day) and I am prepared to deal with the backlash from my people.

the veggies

all prepped

If you are still looking for a winner side dish or two to add to your Thanksgiving menu, then look no further than these delicious vegetables.  I think what every Thanksgiving table needs is a little more color, i.e. vegetables and a little more texture, i.e. something other than soft, mushy food.  I love this recipe because it’s more interesting than just roasting vegetables with olive oil or coconut oil.  A little sweetness from the maple syrup, some acidity from the white wine and a touch of tang from the mustard — how good does that sound?  No marshmallows, no canned cream of something, no swimming pool of heavy cream.  Just beautiful vegetables tasting like they should.  You can choose whatever vegetables in whatever quantities you like and they are all super nutritious so you won’t go wrong there.  But….I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t omit.  Love, love, love the parsnips, and the red onion and the Brussels sprouts.  If you’re trying to keep it simple, do those three (or sub halved shallots for the onion) and pick either butternut squash or carrots or sweet potatoes to join the party.

maple, mustard, wine, oil, thyme

ready to be roasted

A little advice though — one year I made 6 sheet pans of these in one oven — two pans side-by-side, three racks — and they didn’t caramelize as beautifully as I would have liked.  Too much vegetable closeness.  And they take a little time in the oven, so you need to plan for your turkey to rest for about 40 minutes and then allow 10-15 minutes for carving and that timing should be about right.  But if you are reheating stuffing, sweet potato casserole and other stuff, you’ll need to roast these veggies before the turkey goes in and then just do a quick reheat before serving.  That will work just fine.  And if there’s no way you have room to add these to this year’s Thanksgiving menu, there’s always Christmas dinner, which is less than four weeks after Thanksgiving.  Ok, now I’m freaking out!

maple-mustard roasted fall vegetables | pamela salzman

Shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below:

Maple-Mustard Roasted Vegetables
Serves: 6
  • ¼ cup unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil or unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • ½ pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into sixths or eighths (keep root attached)
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato (e.g. Garnet or Jewel), peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 10 medium Brussels sprouts, halved
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (I've noticed that darker sheet pans, even lined with parchment paper, caramelize vegetables better/more quickly than light-colored pans.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, syrup, mustard, wine and thyme. Make sure the maples syrup is well incorporated. Add all the vegetables and toss to coat.
  3. Spread evenly between the two pans in one layer and sprinkle well with salt and pepper (about ¾ teaspoon salt or more.)
  4. Roast vegetables until tender and slightly caramelized, about 50 minutes, tossing after 30 minutes. You may need to rotate the pans if they are not side-by-side in the oven or if your oven has hot spots.
These are just examples of vegetables that work nicely together and with these flavors.  Feel free to concentrate on fewer vegetables, and use more of them.