Vegetable of the Week: Parsnips
Each week plant-based cook Bettina Campolucci Bordi, founder of Bettina’s Kitchen, gives us the lowdown on a particular seasonal vegetable or ingredient, offering cooking tips and a recipe. This week it’s parsnips.
It may look like a carrot’s very pale sibling, but a parsnip is much sweeter and more versatile than the orange vegetable. If you’ve always thought parsnips and carrots were the same thing, you aren’t alone. Historians estimate that parsnips have been cultivated since Ancient Greek and Roman times – but they can’t be sure, because they were classified as carrots for a long time.
Yes, we often cook it as part of the roast, or for mash and homemade stock – but I think parsnips can be so much more. They’re a treat when roasted, braised, pureed, crisped or even used in baking. Parsnips pair really well with honey, and spices like nutmeg, ginger, garlic and pepper.
I find that parsnips are the type of vegetable that you can easily hide in a dish – and the recipe I am about to share is pretty brilliant for that. Parsnip in a brownie, you say? Give it a go! Parsnips are naturally very sweet and you’ll be surprised how well they go together. You can keep this cake as simple as you like by just making it into a brownie, or go the whole hog and top it with a decadent chocolate mousse.
Recipe: Parsnip Brownies
Makes 6–8 brownies
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled
- 60 g (2 oz/1⁄2 cup) buckwheat flour
- 237 ml (81⁄2 fl oz/1 cup) plant milk
- 75 g (3 oz/1⁄2 cup) brown or coconut sugar
- 6 tablespoons cacao
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- a little coconut oil, for greasing
For the chocolate mousse
- 1 large avocado
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons cacao
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 120 ml (4 fl oz/1⁄2 cup) coconut milk
- Berries or seasonal fruits
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and grease a 20cm/8 in square cake tin with coconut oil.
- Boil the parsnips until nice and soft, then drain. Weigh out 130 g (41⁄2 oz) and put in a blender along with all the other brownie ingredients and blend until nice and smooth.
- Spoon the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes until just firm to the touch.
- If you decide to go all the way and make the mousse topping, put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until you have a smooth mixture.
- Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool, then spread the mousse on top and decorate with some berries.
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