P is for parsnips

Courtesy of www.sheknows.com

Guest blog by Susan Aldridge, freelance writer and editor, based in London, interested in medicine, health, science and food/nutrition.

My husband is the romantic type – he sometimes comes home with a bag of parsnips for me. He hates them himself and starts to complain if he sees them lying around in the vegetable rack, so then I have to find a way of using them.

Parsnips are the sweetest of the root vegetables – containing about as much sugar as bananas or grapes. They are a great source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibres. And, like carrots, they are rich in polyacetylenes, which are a family of powerful antioxidants. Parsnips are also high in potassium and other minerals and a reasonable amount of vitamins C, K and E, and folic acid. Added to that, they are cheap and store well.

However, parsnips do not fit readily into the juice + salad + main meal formula I devised for this blog. They are great as an addition to, or substitution for, roast potatoes in a roast dinner. Aside from that, my main parsnip recipe is for a soup.

Parsnip and cinnamon soup

• Two parsnips, chopped into cubes
• One red onion, finely chopped
• Teaspoon of cinnamon, turmeric
• Teaspoon of cumin seeds
• 600 ml or so of vegetable stock
• Tablespoon tomato puree
• Lemon juice
• One tablespoon coconut oil

First, toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan till you just catch their aroma (no more, or you’ll burn them) and then crush in a mortar and pestle. Melt the coconut oil and fry the onion and parsnip for a few minutes till soft and add the spices.
Stir and cook gently uncovered for a few more minutes, then add in the stock. Cook until the parsnips are soft and then puree with a hand-held blender. Then add the tomato puree and squeeze in the lemon just before serving.

After economising by buying coconut oil from the local Asian shop, I’ve decided to splash out on Viridian’s coconut oil. Not only is this high quality, it has a lovely coconut flavour, which the cheaper versions do not.

This is one of the soups I use in my version of the 5:2 diet, where the fasting days consist of two juices and one soup (and most weeks, I only do one day). I found the idea of juicing parsnips quite funny, but looked it up and apparently you should treat them as other root vegetables.

The idea of substituting parsnips for carrots (one of my main juicing ingredients) is quite bizarre and I’m not even going to try [but if you know different, please let me know!].



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