When was the last time you popped a parsnip in your grocery cart? While the potato reigns as America’s favorite starchy tuber, parsnips are one of the unsung heroes of the produce aisle. Here’s why I love them, and why I hope you’ll add them to your next shopping list.
Impressive Nutrition Creds
Parsnips boast a wide variety of vitamins and minerals: one-half cup of cooked parsnips has 3 grams of fiber and packs potassium, folate, vitamin C and manganese – all for just 55 calories. With much dietary advice focusing on choosing dark, richly-colored produce (think berries, kale and pumpkin) don’t overlook the nutrient creds of this white root vegetable: parsnips, too, contain antioxidants and belong to the Apiaceae family, which has shown promising bioactivity in antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory areas. In fact, a review earlier this year called white veggies “a forgotten source of nutrients” that can be an important tool for Americans to close some of our most common nutrient gaps (like fiber and potassium).
Fight Winter Doldrums
Parsnips come into their glory in the fall and winter, when much of the summer spectacular of produce has drawn to a close. So they help you maintain a vibrant, delicious, nutrient-rich diet during some of the coldest months of the year. Roast them with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with some fresh chopped herbs and a pinch of salt. They are stunningly good when roasted and then pureed with some garlic, olive oil and vegetable broth. Or grate them fresh and enjoy them in raw salads or slaws. As they are a hearty root, they can last up to three weeks in your fridge, reducing the risk of costly spoilage.
A Sweet Nutty Taste
Think of parsnips almost as a more sophisticated cousin to the potato: these roots taste sweet and nutty when roasted – and offer a delicious way to help you meet your 2.5 cups of vegetables that the most recent USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend we consume daily for a healthy body weight and to slash our risk of chronic disease. And adding parsnips to your plate will not only perk up your tastebuds, but will help you to increase the variety of the foods you eat-which growing evidence suggests is one of the best ways to cultivate optimal health.