Transform the humble parsnip into a delicious vegan and gluten-free side dish by roasting them with wholegrain mustard and maple syrup until crisp and caramelised. Easy to make and pop in the oven with the roast potatoes - this might just be the ultimate vegan and gluten-free side for your Christmas menu!
In the UK, we ALWAYS have parsnips with our Christmas dinner! They can be tricky vegetables as they are so starchy and sweet but can have a bitter after taste. So we often pair it with something sweet like honey. Here is my vegan version, substituting honey with maple syrup and adding wholegrain mustard to balance out the sweetness. The result is crisp caramelised shards of roasted parsnip that you just won’t want to stop eating!
- Parsnips - organic if possible.
- Maple syrup - good quality maple syrup is a must!
- Wholegrain mustard - substitute for dijon mustard if you prefer (I like the little mustard seeds on the parsnips!).
- Olive oil - since this is high heat cooking, it is best to use plain olive oil rather than extra virgin olive oil (which burns at high temperatures).
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Prepare the parsnips – peel and cut into even-sized shards.
- Parboil the parsnips for 5 minutes until just cooked on the outer edges.
- Heat the oil in a roasting tin then, when hot, add the parsnips and stir into the hot oil.
- Pour over the maple syrup, mustard and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix the parsnips in the roasting tin then put in the oven to roast for ½ hour at 200°C. Turn half way through cooking time.
Roast Parsnip FAQs
This is just another way of saying “boil until partly cooked”. i.e. boil the parsnips in boiling water until they are just cooked on the outer edges (the outer 5mm of the parsnip)
As you probably already know, most of the vitamins and minerals are just under the skin of vegetables so it’s always a good idea to leave the skin on if you can. If you choose to do this, make sure you buy organic parsnips and wash them thoroughly as they can often be quite muddy!
Parsnips can come in many shapes and sizes! Some can be quite small and spindly whereas others can be huge with a very thick end. For thick parsnips I generally find I need to cut them once horizontally across the middle, then cut the thin tail end once again vertically, then cut the thick end twice vertically (into quarters). Thin parsnips might just need to be cut once horizontally and then the thick end cut once vertically and the thin end left as it is. The main thing is to try to get all the pieces roughly the same size. You can also cut out the core if it seems very hard and woody.
Yes! You can peel and cut the parsnips and parboil them up to 4 hours in advance and leave them in a bowl of water in the fridge. You can even pre-roast the parsnips in advance but if you do that then don’t add the maple syrup and mustard, just roast for 20 minutes in the oil. Then you can freeze the roasted parsnips and defrost overnight, then roast for another 20 minutes with the maple syrup and mustard added.
They do go dark and crispy which adds to the crispiness and rich flavour. If you prefer them only gently cooked, add half way through the cooking time instead (when you are turning them anyway).
These maple mustard roast parsnips are a classic side dish for Christmas dinner. Being naturally vegan and gluten-free makes them useful for guests with dietary restrictions too! Serve with a luxurious festive nut roast and all the trimmings for a fabulous vegan and gluten-free Christmas dinner.
See this page for a full vegan and gluten-free Christmas dinner menu!
📖 Recipe 📖
Roasted Parsnips with Wholegrain Mustard & Maple Syrup
- 500 g parsnips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
- Peel and cut the parsnips into long shards but cutting in half straight across the middle and then cutting the thicker end in half again until you have roughly similar sized finger-width pieces. (If they are particularly large parsnips you may need to cut each piece in half again).500 g parsnips
- Parboil the parsnips by boiling in salted water for 5 minutes until cooked on the outer edges only. Then drain and shake the parsnips about in the colander to roughen up the edges slightly.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a roasting tin in the oven. Once hot, add the parsnips (be careful as the oil will spit when the wet parsnips hit it!) and tip the roasting tin to one side and quickly mix the parsnips in the oil. Then drizzle over the maple syrup, mustard and sprinkle on the salt and pepper and mix it all together in the roasting tin.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard, salt and pepper
- Roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 200°C. (Turn the parsnips half way through the cooking time.)
- Remove from the oven and serve!
- If you want to prepare in advance, you can prep the parsnips (peel and cut) and parboil them up to 4 hours in advance and keep them in a bowl of cold water in the fridge until you are ready to roast. Alternatively, you can roast them in advance for 20 minutes without the maple syrup and mustard, freeze for up to a month, defrost overnight and then add the maple syrup and mustard and roast for a further 20 minutes on the day.
- The mustard seeds may burn in the oven for the whole cooking time. I quite like this as it make it more crispy but if you're worried about it, just add the mustard when you turn the parsnips half way through the cooking time instead.
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