What is the Best Substitute for Parsnips?

by Charlie
Parsnips

Cream-colored, flavorful, and highly nutritious, parsnips are great ingredients in main meals, side dishes, and snacks. The sweet-tasting carrot-like vegetables can be served baked, fried, roasted or cooked, while still maintaining their unique sweet taste.

Home-baked honey parsnips are great parsnips snacks and can be used to replace packaged crisps. Parsnips can add some oomph to dull dishes, and their sweet flavor can easily make most dishes attractive. They are great for both kids as well as adults and boasts an impressive nutrient profile. With all the charm it has to offer, what other ingredients would be a suitable replacement for parsnips?

What are the best substitutes for parsnips? The best substitutes for parsnips are turnips, sweet potatoes, parsley root, and carrots. Other plausible substitutes are celery roots and salsify.

An Overview of Parsnips

Native to Eurasia, parsnips have been cultivated at least since the era of the Roman Empire. They have featured in local American dishes as early as the 1600s.

Parsnips are immensely rich in vitamins and minerals. On average, a cup of raw parsnips can contain as much as 34 milligrams of vitamin C, approximately 56% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C. They’re also low in fat but rich in heart-healthy fiber. It is a very versatile vegetable and can be used for different purposes in a wide variety of dishes.

Parsnips have a sweetness that is similar to carrots, although with an extra earthy nuttiness. They have a thin outer flesh that is typically peeled to expose its white flesh. They’re usually moderately priced and can be quite cheap while it is in season. 

Why Replace Parsnips?

Below are two reasons why replacing parsnips in your diet might be a concern:

  • You need less sweet alternatives: if you’re not comfortable with the sweetness of parsnips, then you’ll probably need less sweet alternatives. 
  • Allergies: some parsnips, specifically wild parsnips, can cause some serious allergic reactions. If you’ve established that you have any parsnips related allergies, then finding a substitute is the next course of action.

Best Substitutes for Parsnips

Below are some of the best substitutes for parsnips:

Turnips

Like parsnips, turnips are super nutritious. They have a sweet, succulent flesh that can replace parsnips in several recipes. If you consider parsnips as being too sweet, you might find comfort in the less sweet taste that turnips offer. They can be used to replace parsnips in several vegan dishes.

Turnips typically have a somewhat intense flavor that is quite similar to raw radish or cabbage. If you love a little bit of intense flavor in your salad, turnips can do the job for you.

Both parsnips and turnips are rich in vitamins and low in calories. A half-cup of turnip packs around 4g of carbohydrates, 1.6 grams of fiber, 0.5 grams of protein, 17 calories, and no fat.

Turnips also likely to be available whenever parsnips are available. Both root vegetables are usually in season during the same time of the year. 

Carrots

Carrots and parsnips have quite a lot in common. In terms of physical appearance, it’s very easy to mistake a parsnip for a white carrot. They also have a similar texture.

What differentiates the two is the unique taste that parsnips offer. Like parsnips, carrots are packed with vitamins, fibers, and antioxidants. Although carrots and parsnips form a great pair in some dishes, carrots can also be used to substitute for parsnips.

If you’re watching your sugar consumption, you’ll find that carrots contain smaller amounts of sugar. However, if you need a parsnips alternative that packs more antioxidants and vitamin A, carrots are a good option.

Carrots contain substantially more vitamin A per 100g. Vitamin A is crucial for the development of soft tissues, bones, and skin, as well as maintaining a healthy vision. Carrots also pack more fiber and water content than parsnips. Fiber aids digestive functions, while increased water content is important for proper hydration in the body.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato is an excellent sweet tasting alternative to parsnips. Like parsnips, sweet potato is also a winter vegetable, although sweet potatoes can be available all year round. Instead of parsnip crisps as snacks, you can bring in sweet potato crisps.

Sweet potatoes can also perfectly replace parsnips in carrot parsnips, although you’ll have to call it “carrot sweet potatoes soup”. If you need a sweet alternative that has less sugar content, then sweet potatoes fit the profile.

Sweet potatoes contain around 13% less sugar than parsnips. However, that’s not all. Sweet potatoes also contain 14.67% more food energy and 30.83% more protein per 100g. If you require more protein in an alternative to parsnips, you’ll find sweet potatoes to be a great replacement. Besides having more protein, sweet potatoes also pack more iron and the fat-soluble vitamin A than parsnips. 

Parsley Roots

Parsley roots are incredibly close to parsnips in appearance. It’s easy to mistake either of them for the other. However, parsley roots less creamy in color and gravitate towards a purer white. With an impressive nutrient profile, parsley roots are yet another nutrient dense alternative to parsnips.

Parsley roots are loaded with lots of essential minerals and vitamins. They’re particularly high in Vitamin C, Zinc, and folate. It also contains appreciable amounts of magnesium. Like parsnips, parsley roots are a good source of health boosting antioxidants.

Also, parsley roots can be quite versatile. It can be eaten raw or cooked and can fit into a wide array of dishes. If you have a hard time getting parsnips when it is out of season, you’ll find parsley roots easy to access since they are always available all year round.

Other Plausible Substitutes for Parsnips

If the options above are not available or do not meet your requirements, you can also try out celery roots and salsify.

Celery Roots

Like parsnips, celery roots are also nutrient-packed. Celery roots offer similar health benefits to parsnips, including improved digestion, improved bone, and tissue development, as well as working to support a healthy heart. They’re also rich in antioxidants. Celery roots are a great low-carb alternative to parsnips. 

Salsify

Salsify also fits the nutrient profile of a parsnip. It is high in fiber and vitamins and low in calories. It also offers similar health benefits as parsnips. Instead of parsnips, salsify can be an excellent alternative in stews, soups, and gratins.  

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