If you are looking for the perfect holiday side dish or just a tasty accompaniment that celebrates the best in fall flavors, these honey roasted parsnips and carrots are sure to please. Celebrate fall and winter root vegetables with this easy vegetarian side.
It’s that time of year, and whether you are looking for holiday side dishes or just interesting new way to use fall and winter produce, these carrots and parsnips are sure to please. Because I so often use carrots in a supporting roll, they never have a chance to shine on their own. But this helps solve any doubts that carrots are delicious on their own or paired with some parsnips. Add a bit of honey and some warm spices and you have a dish that is completely addicting.
One of my favorite ways to prepare root vegetables is roasting. It brings out the natural sweetness of these starch vegetables and pair perfectly with any main dish like this baked pesto salmon I served them a week ago. Or sometimes I will just eat the carrots and parsnips all on their own. Maybe with a side salad to be healthy.
What do parsnips taste like?
Though they look like white carrots, parsnips definitely do not taste like them. Instead they are nuttier and earthy, and a hint of flavor that gives you the impression that they have already been seasoned with something like nutmeg. But like carrots, they have a subtle sweetness to them, especially when roasted or sauteed.
How to select the best carrots and parsnips
It can be tempting to go for the largest vegetables you see. After all, you will need to use fewer, requiring less peeling and chopping. But in the case of root vegetables like carrots and parsnips, bigger isn’t always better.
The best carrots are parsnips are the young, tender ones. These have the best flavor and are less fibrous and therefore more pleasant to eat. In a dish like this, where the carrots and parsnips are the stars, you definitely want the biggest flavor impact from the vegetables.
To peel or not to peel
There can be a lot of debate over whether or not carrots need to be peeled. And of course, parsnips are very similar. A good baseline is that young (small), tender carrots and parsnips do not need to be peeled, just washed. As they develop more, the exteriors of root vegetables (particularly parsnips) become tough and less pleasant to eat.
Unless you are buying parsnips at the farmer’s market, you are probably going to need to peel them. The ones that make it to the store are usually the larger ones. Freshly harvested carrots that still have their greens on are typically very tender and don’t need to be peeled, just lightly scrubbed with a vegetable brush to get any extra dirt off.
With that being said, I still peeled the veggies this time even though they weren’t the biggest ones. Just at that given moment I felt like peeling is needed.
No matter if you are serving this as a side at your holiday feasts or eating it as your main course on a weeknight, I am sure you will love it as much as my family. The seasonal beauty of these root vegetables should not be overlooked. All it takes is a few spices and some roasting to really make them shine.
Honey Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
- 1 lb (450g) parsnips
- 1 lb (450g) carrots
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt , or to taste
- 3 tbsp honey
- A few sprigs fresh thyme , leaves only
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- Peel the carrots and parsnips. Cut off the tops and cut lengthwise in halves or in quarters depending on their size so all the vegetables are the same thickness.
- Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
- (Optional step). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the parsnips and carrots for 5 minutes. Your can skip it and proceed straight to the next step. Transfer the veggies to a baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients. Pour the mixture over the parsnips and carrots and toss to coat.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender to your liking. Serve on the side of a main dish or enjoy on their own.