Roasted carrots and parsnips are currently enjoying a heyday. I’ve seen recipes for them in cookbooks, on cooking blogs, and even in a weekly handout at a recent Weight Watchers meeting.
Some WW members were unfamiliar with them and I had to describe what whole parsnips look like. Although they’re available at most supermarkets, parsnips aren’t as ubiquitous as carrots, their close relative. They look like cream-colored carrots and are usually sold in quantities of three in small plastic bags in the produce department. Because they’re not particularly popular, they’re coated with wax to prolong their shelf life. You remove the wax when you peel them.
Before roasting these, I had thought that I didn’t like parsnips, as the only time I’d cooked them before, they had been braised in liquid in a stew and they tasted bitter and woody to me. Very unpleasant.
Cooking them in dry heat is another story — parsnips have more natural sugar than carrots and when roasted they become sweet and, if you close your eyes and imagine, candy-like. Delicious. The carrots were good too but you must try the parsnips — if you’re like me I bet you’ll grab them off the baking pan instead of the carrots, especially if you go with the candy analogy!
Here’s the recipe, straight from the WW weekly handout. Don’t let the fact that this came from Weight Watchers put you off — Ina Garten has a similar recipe in her latest cookbook, and Ina never errs.
8 medium carrots, julienned
6 cups parsnips, julienned
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a shallow baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place vegetables on pan, sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
Roast for 20 minutes; flip vegetables over with a spatula and roast until they start to caramelize, about 10 to 20 minutes longer.
Serves 8 (according to Weight Watchers!)
WW PP per 2/3 cup serving: 3