Food of the Month: Parsnip

Tuesday 1 October 2013 by

When it comes to food in October, everyone thinks of three things: pumpkin, apples and blackberries (Raymond Blanc’s apple and blackberry crumble* on BBC Good Food is TO DIE FOR). But October also sees in harvest season, and now is the best time for lots of delicious seasonable food.

September was the last of the summer foods, and now it’s time to look forward to warming dishes – soups, roast dinners and jambalayas are perfect Autumn staples. It also means one of my absolute FAVOURITE vegetables has just come in to season – parsnips.

The season for parsnips runs from now until March, so you have plenty of time to truly enjoy these tasty veggies. Simply peel and slice, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30-40 minutes at 190°C for the perfect roasted parsnip (they work particularly well with pork), or boil until soft and mash them with potatoes and carrots for a tasty upgrade to mashed potato. They are a great source of folate, vitamin C and fibre, too!

Parsnips are quite a sweet root vegetable, so work well as a sweet accompaniment to any main meal, and work really well in bubble and squeak or hashes. To get an extra burst of veggie goodness, try Honey-baked parsnips with sweet potatoes and apples – which adds up to 1 and a half of your 5 a day!

Aside from roasting, the best thing to do with a parsnip is to make them into soup! Unfortunately, ‘snips have a habit (like potato) of becoming rather bland soups, which is why this recipe for spicy roasted parsnip soup from BBC Good Food (again) is so good – the spices and extra cumin give it some real flavour. Bonus? It reheats well so it can do for lunches too!

Spicy Roasted Parsnip Soup – serves 4

You will need:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Roasting tray
  • Blender or liquidiser


  • 2 tablespoons of Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seed, plus a pinch extra to garnish
  • Half a teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • Half a teaspoon of mustard seeds (these have a real kick so be cautious)
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 675g parsnips, chopped into chunks (cut them lengthways for an even roast)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1.2l vegetable stock (remember to check your stock for gluten if you’re using cubes – Knorr generally are safe, or Bouillon offer a stock powder available at most supermarkets)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

How to do it:

Pre-heat your oven to 220°C (200°C fan) or gas mark 7

Parsnip, BBC Good Food, Roast, Soup, Spices, Food, RecipeIn a bowl, mix together the oil and spices, then add the vegetables and mix well, coating all the veg evenly (I used plain old salad tomatoes in the end)

Roast vegetables, Tomato, Parsnips, Onion, Spices, Food, BBC Good Food, Recipe, ScoupSpread over a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until tender

Put the vegetables and half the stock in to the food processor and whizz until smooth

Soup, Spicy roasted parsnip, Vegetable, Vegetarian, BBC Good FoodPour the liquid into a pan with the remaining stock, season to taste (be reserved with the pepper and generous with the salt), and heat until it’s just simmering

Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and serve

Garnish your soup with the leftover cumin seeds!

The roasted vegetables retain their flavour much better (and fill the house with delicious smells), and the mustard seeds, cumin and turmeric adds a pleasant heat. The final result is quite a thick soup, so it’s perfect to eat on its own, but if you’re like me and prefer to dip in bread, try some lightly toasted soldiers – top dipping! If you’re reheating, the best way is always over a hob, but if you’re microwaving, just gently heat it through (around 2-3 minutes tops, depending on the strength of your microwave) – nuking this ruins the taste.

Do you love parsnips? What’s your Top ‘Snip Tip?

Check out more parsnip inspiration on the Pinterest board!

*Use Dove’s Farm plain white flour for a gluten-free alternative

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