Parsnips are my all-time favourite root vegetable, which makes them ideal for roasting. Their sweet earthy flavour and firm texture are complemented with just a hint of delicious sharpness. My kids call them ‘white carrots’ and love when Dad fills up Half Their Plate with their tasty goodness.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 with leftovers
For the Parsnips
3 lbs. (1.36 kg) of parsnips, peeled, trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoons (45 mL) of olive or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) of sea salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
For the Pesto
1 cup (240 mL) of pumpkin seeds
1 bunch of green onions (7 or 8 stalks)
1/4 cup (60 mL) of your very best olive oil
2 to 3 ounces (56 to 85 g) of authentic Parmesan cheese
Prepare and preheat your oven to 375°. Turn on your convection fan if you have one.
Begin with the parsnips. Toss them with the oil, salt and pepper until they’re evenly seasoned. Transfer the works to a casserole dish or small roasting or baking pan. Roast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and delicious, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile make the pesto. Measure the ingredients into your food processor and process until a smooth yet slightly chunky pesto emerges.
When the parsnips are done roasting stir or toss in the pesto until evenly mixed.
Serve and share!
© Chef Michael Smith 2016 – #HalfYourPlate
Parsnips are often irregularly shaped. They taper considerably which means you’ll end up with a variety of shapes as you cut them down to bite-size. Try lopping off the narrow end once or twice before halving the remaining thicker end. Continue with a few more cuts than, if you need to, halve the remainder once again. Don’t worry about the results; as long as you can fit the chunks in your mouth you’ve done it the right way!
One of the best ways to fill Half Your Plate (and all of your soup bowl) is with a simple pureed soup. They’re a time-honoured and super-simple way to get a whole lot of vegetable flavour on the table in a hurry – maybe even hide vegetables from finicky eaters. This one was custom created by MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes with Chef Michael Smith’s coaching!
Leeks are the easiest-to-get-along-with members of the onion family. They’re deliciously sweet, mildly pungent and simple to prepare. In this recipe they’re paired with apples and thyme. They easily fill Half Your Plate with flavour so you can fill the other half with any simple pork, chicken or fish dish!