With the low carb fad in full swing, it seems like everything in the grocery store wants to masquerade as a potato for a day. There’s celery root, cauliflower and jicama to name a few. Low carb dieters must crave french fries and bacon more than anything.
Today’s masquerader is parsnip. Someone told me that parsnip was the best potato substitute. I consider myself pretty educated in food, but I thought parsnip was something green. I had no idea it was a root vegetable related to the carrot. When I went to find one for myself, I was reminded of a book I read when I was a kid: Bunnicula. It’s about a vampire rabbit that, instead of blood, sucks the juice of vegetables leaving a path of white carrots in his wake. This guy looks like he’s seen a vampire bunny.
Parnsips are slightly sweeter than carrots, and also slightly more nutritious. A half cup of parsnip has 50 calories, 11 grams of carbs and 3.2 grams of fiber. It’s a good source of fiber and potassium.
Choosing a parsnip is very similar to choosing a carrot. The one difference is that you want a parsnips to be free from color. The whiter the flesh, the sweeter the parsnip. Much like carrots, you want parsnips to be firm, heavy for their size and free from blemishes. The smaller ones are sweeter.
I decided to really test the parsnip’s ability to imitate the potato and make parsnip fries.
- 2-3 parsnips
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the parsnip like you would a carrot. Julienne it to french fry size. I used a mandolin.
- Toss the parsnip with minced garlic and olive oil.
- Spread out on a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees. You should flip the fries a few times during cooking.
- Toss with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper before serving.
These I would definitely eat again. They taste like a sweet french fry, but not too sweet. I find sweet potato fries a little too sweet. These are just perfect. With something like a cajun spice blend, they’d be to die for. I tried adding rosemary my second attempt at these and it was great. I think I’ll be making these instead of sweet potato fries from now on.