A look around your produce department will reveal vibrant carrots cut into a variety of shapes for your convenience or culinary needs . Thanks to their sweet flavor and versatility, carrots are one of the most commonly consumed vegetables in America today.
Parsnips, a close relative to carrots, have been around since ancient times. Parsnips resemble carrots in shape but are white/cream-colored and are considered a "cousin" to carrots. If you’ve never tried parsnips, you’re in for a treat—sweet, nutty and somewhat potato-like, their flavor is easy to love!
Nutritionally, carrots are known for their carotenoid content. Carotenoid’s job in plants is to protect chlorophyll and parts of the photosynthesis system; carotenoids absorb wavelengths in the light spectrum that have the potential to be damaging to plant cells. They act as an antioxidant by soaking up high energy by-products generated by the plant’s metabolism. Carotenoids can do the same thing in our body once we’ve eaten them and our body has converted them to Vitamin A.
Parsnips are known for their high-fiber and low-calorie and carbohydrate contents. Parsnips also provide vitamin C and more than 10 percent of your daily needs of folate and manganese.
Carrots are convenient for snacking raw but the sweetness of carrots and parsnips is enhanced by roasting. Roasting is a simple oven-cooking method at high temperatures (generally, above 450F) that allows the natural sugars stored in vegetables to caramelize. Roast carrots and parsnips together to bring out their natural sweetness and you’ll be left with a delicious, easy, weeknight side dish.
Try using parsnips in cakes or muffins instead of carrots, toss them in soups or stews, or roast alongside other root vegetables. Perhaps one of the best ways to use parsnips is to use them as a stand-in for potatoes; roasted, mashed, pureed or made into fries, parsnips have fewer calories and carbohydrates than potatoes but twice the fiber.
Both carrots and parsnips remind us of spring and both deserve a place at the table this Easter. Toss them into your shopping (or Easter) baskets this year - and once you start exploring the deliciousness and ease of these nutritious vegetables, you’ll be glad you did so!
Oven-Roasted Carrots & Parsnips
All you need:
3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into thirds
3 medium parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into thirds
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon. dried dill
All you do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place carrots and parsnips on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil.
Season with salt and black pepper, as desired, to taste.
Page 2 of 2 - Roast approximately 45 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting time.
Sprinkle with dill and serve.
Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at email@example.com.