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Maple Roasted Parsnips

by Tansy Boggon

Maple roasted parsnips are sweet, soft and sticky with an earthy, peppery and toffee-like flavour. They’re a delicious side dish to meats like chicken, turkey or pork or vegetarian dishes like nut loaf or burger patties.

I love the sweet earthy flavour of parsnips. Yet not everyone likes them as I do. It seems that parsnips are an acquired taste and texture.

I hazard a guess that only those of you who enjoy parsnips would’ve found yourself on this page. However, if you’re reading because you’re curious, I hope I can help you fall in love with parsnips too. Or at the very least, combine them in your diet occasionally.

How do parsnips taste?

Parsnips are closely related to carrots. They have a similar sweetness but are more nutty and earthy in flavour. It is this flavour people either enjoy or don’t.

Or it may be the texture people don’t like as cooked they become quite soft. Overcooked parsnips can be mushy. And if they’re old, quite woody and dry.

I encourage you to try these roast parsnips. No pressure, but why not give them a go?

However, if you’re on the fence about parsnips, you may enjoy my Gingery Parsnip and Carrot Soup recipe, which tastes a bit like pumpkin soup. I’ve had feedback from people that didn’t think they liked parsnip say they actually enjoyed it and have made it multiple times.

So, if you’re not sure you’d like to start with straight-up roasted parsnip you might like to try this recipe, which is in my FREE eBook you can download, A Hug in A Bowl: 12 Plant-Based Soup Recipes to Nourish and Comfort.

How do maple roasted parsnips taste?

The maple syrup in this recipe brings out the delicate, sweet and earthy taste of parsnips. They’re so good I could devour them as a snack.

If you’re not as enthusiastic about roast parsnips as me, they’d be delicious alongside roast meats, veggies or nut loaf.

You want to use young, small-medium parsnips for this recipe and cook them on high heat to give the yummy crispy toffee-like coating without overcooking them.

Are parsnips healthy?

Adding a variety of veggies to your meal repertoire is always going to be a good thing.

Parsnips are a good source of dietary fibre and vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin involved in blood clotting and regulating blood calcium levels. They also contain falcarinol, a phytonutrient that may be protective against some cancers.

Not that I’m proclaiming they’re any health miracle—nothing is!

It’s about getting variety in your diet and remembering that enjoyment of what you eat is as important as what you’re eating. If you don’t enjoy them, why eat them?

Do you have to peel parsnips?

In this recipe, use young parsnips, unpeeled.

When young and small parsnips don’t need peeling—they simply need cleaning and can be cooked whole, or cut lengthwise or into rounds.

However, older parsnips generally need peeling as the skin can be thick. It may also be necessary to cut out the central core, which can be fibrous. Older, large parsnips are best kept for soups and stews.

How to store parsnips for freshness?

Store parsnips, unwashed, in a cool dark place along with your carrots. They can also be stored in the crisper of your fridge. Wrap them in a paper towel and place in a plastic bag to extend freshness for up to two weeks. You won’t want to keep them longer than this.

Once your parsnips have become wrinkled, shrivelled and limp, although they are still probably okay to eat, are likely to be woody and dry. Combine them in a soup or stew before they get to this stage or peel, pre-cut and freeze, ready for soups.

Maple Roasted Parsnips

Course: Side Dish
Author: Tansy Boggon


  • 6 (~500-600 g) young parsnips, unpeeled, cleaned and sliced into quarters lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper optional
  • Pinch salt


  • Preheat oven to 200oC.
  • Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl so the parsnips are fully covered in oil and syrup.
  • Spread parsnips on a baking tray in a single layer.
  • Roast for 30 minutes, until tender.

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to hear if you’ve tried this roast parsnips recipe and whether you enjoyed it.

overhead tray of maple roasted parsnips

If you’d like to cook more with parsnips, you generally can substitute them where you’d use potato. You could even try them mashed.

Delicious flavour pairings with parsnips

If you’re looking to get more adventurous with parsnips, here are some ingredients that compliment them well:

  • Sweet: maple syrup, brown sugar
  • Spices: nutmeg, ginger, garlic, pepper
  • Herbs: parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
  • Vegetables: carrots, potatoes, spinach
  • Fruits: apples, pears, sultanas
  • Proteins: pork, chicken, nuts (particularly hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts etc.), tempeh
Tansy Boggon holding Joyful Eating open to Chapter 2: Debunk the Diet Myth

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