Parsnips look a lot like whitish carrots, but they’re actually quite different! They are sweeter than carrots and this root vegetable is a nutrition powerhouse, too! Just one cup of raw parsnips is an excellent source dietary fiber, vitamin C for your immune system, vitamin K, folate (a B vitamin), and the mineral manganese. Plus it’s a good source of heart healthy vitamin E and the super star minerals magnesium and potassium. The parsnip is definitely the kind of veggie that will help keep you healthy through a cold, snowy winter!
Parsnips are root vegetables that grow underground, like carrots, with their green leaves sprouting up above ground. At the Barn, we plant seeds in the spring and harvest the root vegetables in late summer or early autumn. The great thing about parsnips is that they’re not so time-sensitive. They’re even sweeter if you harvest them after the first frost, and it’s ok to leave them in the ground for a while even after they’re ready for harvest. Parsnips hide pretty deep below the surface of the soil so make sure to put them in a deep raised bed to grow to their potential. The kids at HealthBarn USA love digging for parsnip gold!
Parsnips can be chopped and roasted or boiled and mashed. They get super sweet when roasted—like candy! Parsnip also makes a great soup veggie because it stands up well to being boiled, and tastes great alongside carrots, another classic for soups. We can’t get enough of the Homemade Chicken Penicillin Soup from Appetite for Life. It’s keeping us healthy and strong through this cold winter season!
Homemade Chicken Penicillin Soup
Recipe from Appetite for Life, by Stacey Antine, MS RD
This immune-boosting soup is the best natural “medicine” for staying strong during flu season because it’s loaded with the antioxidant vitamins A and C. We have been told that a bowl of this soup looks like we went down to the garden, picked a lot of vegetables, and threw them all in a pot. That’s pretty close to how we actually make it! We also use skinless chicken breasts, low in fat and high in protein, but made flavorful and succulent by the variety of veggies that give this soup a big boost of flavor. The whole wheat spaghetti adds fiber.
Kids can chop veggies using a plastic knife with adult supervision and break spaghetti in half using their hands.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
5 stalks celery, chopped (about 1½ cups)
4 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 parsnips, chopped (about 1½ cups)
3 tomatoes (1½ pounds), cut into quarters
¼ cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3 quarts water
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- In a large saucepot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or until it just starts to turn brown, stirring constantly.
- Add the chicken breasts to the pot and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165˚F, about 10 minutes. Add celery, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, and parsley. Add 3 quarts water or enough to cover ingredients. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to very low and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours.
- Remove chicken from the saucepot; cut into bite-size chunks and set aside.
- Remove pot from heat. Pour 1/3 of mixture into a blender; cover, with center part of blender cover removed to let steam escape, and blend until pureed. (Or, use an immersion blender and puree in saucepot.)
- Pour the pureed soup into a bowl and repeat in batches with remaining mixture. Return all soup to the saucepot; add chicken and stir in salt and pepper. Return the soup to boiling.
- Once the soup is boiling, break spaghetti in half and add to saucepot. Boil for 7–8 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
- To serve, ladle 1 cup of soup into each of 12 bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if you like.
Makes 12 servings (1 cup per serving)
Nutrition Facts per serving: 170 calories; 4g fat (1g sat fat, 2g mono, 1g poly, 0g trans fat); 45mg cholesterol; 15g carbohydrate (3g fiber, 4g sugar); 20g protein; 110mg sodium; 70% Daily Value (dv) vitamin A; 25% dv vitamin C; 4% dv calcium; 8% dv iron
What is your favorite way of eating parsnips?