Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

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Parsnip Fries – So easy, fast, and healthier than fries. 

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

 

My husband loves potatoes in any form and thought he was eating French fries.

Until I told him he just inhaled a plate of parsnips.

What’s a parsnip, he asked?  Good question.

Parsnips are a root vegetable and they have more in common with carrots than with potatoes. Visually, parsnips resemble carrots and are those long, pointy vegetables with hash-marked skins that you’ve probably noticed them in the grocery store near the carrots, turnips, rutabagas, and fennel but may have dismissed them as a funny-looking blonder-hued carrot. Parsnips are usually pale in color, ranging from creamy tones to pale yellow, and are much lighter than their orange cousins, carrots.

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

Parsnips tend to be sweeter than carrots and more buttery, which is accentuated in the cooking process. Parsnips have a slightly spicy flavor, in a similar way that ginger and cardamom pack some warm-toned heat and spice. Until Scott was hip to the parsnip bait-and-switch, he said he liked the ginger I used in the potatoes. Exactly.

Nutritionally speaking, parsnips are very high in vitamin C, and have ample amounts of manganese, potassium, and folic acid. They’re also excellent sources of soluble and insoluble fiber, something which potatoes lack.

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

To make the fries, I peeled and trimmed the parsnips, and at their thickest part, I kept the slices about one-quarter inch wide. Cutting them thin enough so they crisp up nicely, but not too thin so they don’t shrivel up into little char-broiled nothings, is important.

Then place the trimmed parsnips in a large bowl and sprinkle and toss them with a bit of cornstarch, which helps them to crisp up better as they bake. Transfer the coated parsnips to a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive or vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any optional seasonings from curry to cayenne that strike your fancy, and then bake.

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip on them

After about twenty minutes of cooking, flip the parsnips over and drizzle with a few additional tablespoons of oil, if they’ve dried out. Bake for an additional fifteen minutes or until they’re as browned and crispy as you like.

I find the secrets to getting baked vegetable fries crispy is both the cornstarch and quite a hot oven. The oven needs to be at a higher temperature so it flash-cooks the vegetables and allows them bake up crispier, rather than a low and slow oven, which is geared toward tenderizing food. Because of the hot oven, watch the parsnips closely as the baking time draws near because they will have a tendency to go from browned to burned in those final moments.

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

Because of the fibrous nature of parsnips, the fries have plenty of texture and chewiness, much more so than a potato-based fry. All that texture makes for some great dipping. The more you chew, the more you want to dip. And dip again. I like a little food with my dip and the parsnips are firm enough to really dredge through a bowl of thick, creamy dip, and they hold up to it without caving or breaking, much like a thick-cut French fry can really hold up to maximum ketchup slathering.

The dip is a blend of balsamic reduction and (veagn) sour cream, or use Greek yogurt. I love balsamic vinegar and vinegar of any kind. Sometimes I let my homemade kombucha ferment just to the edge of turning into vinegar and relish in those tangy, pungent, sinus-clearing sips. Balsamic reduction is especially delightful because it concentrates the vinegar’s punch, yet the sharp tanginess is mitigated by brown sugar, and I really could eat the thick sauce from a spoon.

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

People tend to make a big deal about balsamic reduction and when I see jars of very overpriced balsamic reduction in stores, I cringe. My version takes ten minutes and costs pennies to make. Combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan, heat until they boil, and just allow the mixture to reduce. Because I keep the heat higher than just a low-grade simmer, the reduction goes very fast, in about five minutes, and it’s so simple.

Combine the mouth-puckering reduction with a bit of sour cream for a perfectly creamy and cooling dip. The cooling effect of the sour cream balanced the inherent warming qualities of the parsnips and it was a great balance. Plus, I liked the pale plum color of the dip. Bonus points for purple dip.

Baked Parsnip Fries

I started with two pounds of parsnips before trimming or cooking them and an hour later, every last morsel had been inhaled. My five year old loved them and dipped hers in ketchup, Scott liked his with Homemade Spicy Honey Mustard, and I was in balsamic reduction heaven.

Ever since I made these, Scott’s been asking for more parsnip fries. Not French fries; parsnip fries. And so I consider this recipe a success on more than one level.

Baked Parsnip Fries

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

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5 from 2 votes

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip (vegan, gluten-free)

By Averie Sunshine
Parsnips fries are slightly sweet, with just a hint of spiciness and a peppery nature. They're more buttery than a white potato and have loads of extra nutrients. Baking, rather than frying, keeps them healthier with sacrificing flavor. The balsamic reduction comes together in minutes and when sour cream is stirred in, the cool and creamy, tangy, dip pairs perfectly with the hot fries right out of the oven.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients  

For the Parsnip Fries

  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and trimmed into fries about 5-inches long by about 1/4-inch wide (2 pounds is shown in the photos, reduce batch size if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 4 tablespoons+ olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed (either light or dark), or to taste
  • ½ cup sour cream, or to taste (vegan or regular sour cream may be used; Greek yogurt may be substitued)

Instructions 

  • For the Parsnip Fries - Preheat oven to 425F and line two baking sheets with Silpat liners, aluminum foil, or parchment paper; set aside. Peel and trim parsnips into fries, about 4 to 5 inches long, and about 1/4-inch wide (they do shrivel, but not as much as carrots or sweet potatoes).
  • Place parsnips in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with corn starch and using your hands, toss to coat evenly. Transfer parsnips to prepared baking trays, divided evenly, about one pound per tray. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil over each tray and toss parsnips with hands to disperse and coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Prior to baking, arrange parsnips on the trays so they are not touching each other and have air space between them; air circulating allows them to crisp up better in the oven.
  • Bake on the first side for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove trays from the oven, flip parsnips over with a tongs, drizzle with about 1 tablespoon oil over each tray, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until parsnips are browned and crispy. Baking times will vary greatly due to size parsnips were trimmed, the moisture content in them, how thick the cornstarch was applied, how much oil is used, and personal taste preferences. They will be prone to burning in the final minutes of cooking so keep a watchful eye as this is a very hot oven. Remove from oven and serve immediately with ketchup, mustard, Homemade Spicy Honey Mustard, barbeque sauce, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or balsamic reduction or creamy balsamic reduction dip.
  • For the Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip - While the parsnips are baking, combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to come to a boil and boil fairly rapidly for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until volume has reduced by about half, stirring intermittently while it boils. Keep a watchful eye so mixture doesn't boil over, which its prone to doing.
  • Immediately transfer the reduction to a heat-safe container or bowl and do not let it cool in the saucepan because it will be prone to sticking to the saucepan as it cools and it will turn into a sticky, hardened mess on the saucepan and the scrubbing becomes epic; transfer immediately to a container and then soak the pan.
  • After balsamic has cooled for about 10 minutes, combine about 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction with sour cream, to taste, playing with the ratios as desired. Stir until mixture is smooth. Serve immediately with fries. Extra balsamic reduction will keep for months in an airtight container in the refrigerator. After balsamic reduction has been combined with the sour cream, I suggest consuming it within a week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 504kcal, Carbohydrates: 69g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 177mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 25g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Baked Parsnip Fries with Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip

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Have you tried parsnips or made any non-potato based fries?

Balsamic vinegar fan?

I’d love to hear about your favorite parsnip recipes or recipes for baked fries of any sort.

Or hear if you love vinegar and vinegar recipes as much as I do.

 

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. LOVED them! First oven fries BOTH my parents liked! Now parsnips are on the shopping list for a repeat. I suspect the cornstarch made the difference. I’ll have to try it on sweet and reg. potatoes, too! Thank you. :)

  2. These looks great! Really want to try them as a healthy alternative to my usual baked potato fries!
    If you have a moment, do you mind checking out my blog please? Thank you! :)

  3. It’s interesting to see parsnips in the form of fries. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  4. My husband hates carrots. I would say that hate is too strong a word, but no. And by extension, claims to hate parsnips. So I was a kind wife and warned him, it’s ok if you don’t like them – but you should try them.

    He loved them. (astonished wife) Thanks so much for the healthy alternative to french fries!

    And I’m HOOKED on the balsamic dip. I make a balsamic glazed chicken that the whole family loves, so that’s what I put on the dinner menu that night – so I’d already have the reduction – 2 birds, and all… when chasing a 7 year old boy and a 7 week old puppy!

    I love reading your blog – look forward to seeing what comes next!

    1. Thanks for the awesome comment and glad your hubs loves these! And that you’re hooked on the dip, too. It also makes a great marinade for things in case you want to try it that way as well. And you have a 7 yr old, 7 week old, and a puppy…and you’re cooking from scratch. God bless you :)

  5. what a great idea to make parsnip fires. i just made sweet potatoes fries last night and this would be a great alternative.

    1. It’s nice to mix it up sometimes. I love sweet potatoes but these are fun and have that slight peppery kick which I love!

  6. I love how you mentioned that “the scrubbing becomes epic”. Been there, done that! I can’t wait to try this dip with my homemade fries!

  7. you are such a good girl
    i never ever would have thought about using parsnips.
    what a clever ( and healthy) idea.
    gold stars on your creative chart!!

  8. Averie, this is one of my favorite root vegetables (I have a few). They are very tasty roasted indeed. My favorite would be a parsnip roasted over a campfire. If you never tried it, I am sure you would love it. I am still learning to love a sweet potatoes. For our taste it has too much sweetness. My mother, when they came last year with the visit, added some to the soup and was very disappointed with it’s taste. My husband completely refuses to eat it, and only teenager and I would go from time to time for a roasted sweet potato “fries”.
    There is one variety though that we all love, but it’s hard to find in the stores: Murasaki. It is smaller that a regular sweet potato, and has a white flash, but it tastes just fantastic.
    Averie, how is your cast iron pan doing? Did you find a way to season it? I don’t remember if I told you this, but I found out that unrefined sunflower oil tends to work the best out of all oils: it doesn’t get rancid so fast. Grapeseed oil is number two with reservations: if you use your pan every week.
    Have you tried coconut oil? If you did, does it make all food smell coconut?
    Have a lovely time with your family! :)

      1. Thanks, I was actually asking about the skillet you found in the thrift shop, the yellow one. :) Your new Le Creuset is great, I love the color. My daughter decided to start cooking, and asked me to share some pans. I told her to pick what she likes. Guess what did she pick? My Le Creuset frying pan (similar to yours) and a small pot. Oh well, mother can never say no to a daughter, right? :) And I can cook in my well seasoned by now black Lodge cast iron skillet.

  9. Can you believe I’ve never had parsnip before?! I totally need to try it now and make this ASAP along with that heavenly dipping sauce. And I want to give this to Jason and see if he thinks it’s potatoes too! He’s a bit of a fry fanatic so I wonder if the parsnips can fool him!

  10. I was excited to make the parsnip fries so I had some for lunch. They were soo good (perfectly crispy on the outside). I’ll be happy to make another batch along with the kabocha tonight to share with my hubby! I saved some balsamic reduction to drizzle on salads but also like the creamy version.

    1. Thanks for the comment over here :) and the feedback, Paula! So glad you are kind enough to share round 2 with your hubs. Hope he’s a fan, too! Have a great weekend :)

  11. I love this so much I can hardly stand it. I love how crispy the fries look, I love that you used parsnips, and I love, love, love the Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip! I’m going to put a plate of this in front of my husband this weekend (he’s also a potato and balsamic lover) and then laugh with glee when I tell him that he’s actually eating parsnips!

  12. I am amazed! These parsnip fries look exactly like regular fries… well actually much MUCH better. I’m adding parsnips to my shopping list for sure. I just recently attempted to make sweet potato fries.. Not very successful unfortunately. I can’t make them crisp! Anyway, I’m so jealous of your parsnip fries! hehehe

  13. I’ve never really known what to do with parsnips, so I never buy them. This looks like a really fantastic recipe, and I love the bait-and-switch idea! Can’t wait to try this out on my family!

  14. I think I’d inhale these too! Great tip about tossing in a bit of cornstarch. :)

    p.s. I Love the tables (and cutting boards?) that you use in your photos!

  15. Great idea! I am a big fan of all root veggies so these are right up my alley. Love the reduction!

    1. Just serve them as if they’re potatoes. If he’s anything like mine, he’ll have no clue. Just straight-face, serve them, business as usual :)

  16. I love parsnip fries and yours look all browned and crunchy, just the way I like them. They would be perfect paired with a burger. I tried baking them once, but they didn’t brown up the ways yours did. I will follow your recipe next time I make them up.
    Jackie :)

  17. I make sweet potato fries all the time. I tried parsnip ones once but wasn’t a fan. I’ll have to give them another shot after this rave review. Sometimes it takes a couple times of trying something to like it.

    1. I say go for it again b/c you’re right, it can take awhile! But these honestly, are so good. You may have had ‘dud’ parsnips :)

  18. We always have parsnips at home, but I never thought to make them into fries before!!! We usually just toss them in soups and such. This is such a fab idea, Averie!

  19. I love how different root vegetables other than the standard potato are making a foray into our favorites list. This recipe is exactly the reason why. Gorgeously drool worthy.

    1. Drool worthy. Why thank, Miss Photographer of the year. Every time I look at your posts, I am blown.away. and you keep growing – amazing!

  20. You turned Scott and Skylar into parsnip lovers without them knowing–genius. I totally need to try these because you had me fooled, too! I saw “French fries!!” and then realized they were not potatoes, but in fact, a veggie I’ve never tried before. And that balsamic reduction dip… holy yum. I am already in balsamic dip heaven and I haven’t even had it yet!

    1. Oh I bet you’d love them and the bite they have, just a bit, pair it with some of that fancy cheese you have access to!

  21. I have made parsnip fries, but not for a looooong time. Yours sound and look awesome! I love the idea of a creamy balsamic dip – haven’t had the balsamic flavour in a creamy form before. I definitely am a fan of balsamic vinegar.

  22. I’ve tried parsnips a few times, roasted even, and I am not into them for some reason. I am not a hug carrot fan either. Maybe it’s a texture thing? I’m weird.

    And usually I am all about anything roasted!

    1. Brilliant? No, that’s your chipotle ketchup. Just like I wanna trade bread w/ you, I wanna trade condiments, too!

  23. These look awesome! I tried parsnips for the first time last year and loved them. I will have to try them this way!

  24. I LOVE parsnips. My favorite is that slight spice that they have when they’re raw and how they mellow out when they’re roasted. Endless options with this recipe.

  25. Oh Averie! These homemade parsnip fries look and sound amazing. And I like Skylar’s style…. ketchup all the way!!!! Your Creamy Balsamic Reduction Dip undoubtedly sounds incredible though too. Balsamic Reduction is like sweet candy. I like it with brie cheese and pears! And yes, I like a little food with my dip, thankyouverymuch. Lovely photos – second row FG WOOHOO!! You somehow always manage to make VEGETABLES look as incredible as chocolate glazed pumpkin cake. I want to come over for dinner and stuff my face with these and have soft CCCs for dessert and a side of cinnamon swirl bread. Can you tell I’m hungry??

  26. I looove parsnip fries! Haven’t made them in forever, and now of course I’m craving them.

  27. I don’t think I’ve ever had parsnip fries! Roasted parsnips with other root eg, yes; parsnip fries, no. That balsamic dip sounds amazing!

  28. My husband is a potato lover, too. So are our boys. These look like such a fresh and fun alternative to regular french fries! I love how crispy and perfect they look and that dip!! AWESOME. I agree that you need a little food with your dip and this dip looks like the perfect pairing to me. I like the one reader’s suggestion, also, that a little butter and cinnamon and possibly sugar could make those babies delicious, too!

    Fantastic recipe and delicious photos! (As always!) ;-)

  29. I have not had luck using corn starch to yield a crunchy baked fry. I don’t mind because I actually like non-crispy fries, but my husband does not. Maybe I’ll have to give it another go.

    1. Well nothing is going to get a baked fry as crispy as frying them in oil, but…as baked fries go these are pretty crispy! I also cook them to the point of being quite well done in a high heat oven. All the little tricks all add up :)

  30. I’ve roasted parsnips before but never made them into fries. And I’m always looking for ways to get more vegetables into my family. They’re suckers for “fries” so I’ll have to try these. I didn’t know about that cornstarch tip to help crisping. Would that work with making sweet potato fries?

    1. Yes it does help immensely~ And that’s where I learned the trick. From a Pinterest pin about making sweet tater fries with it and it works like a champ on both them and parsnip fries!

  31. These look soooo good. I’ve been wanting to try parsnip fries for a while now but I’ve had trouble finding good looking ones in the store.

    1. They all look pretty raggedy raw, truthfully – at least in my grocery stores. But once they’re peeled and trimmed though, they transform :)

  32. YUM! I never know quite what to do with parsnips, but fries are always the best options to get those veggies in!

    1. Yes they sure are! And did you change your blog name? Why do I think of it as totesdelish or something to that nature?

      1. Yep, you are right! It was Totes Delish, but I am vegan focused so I wanted to change it around : )

  33. These sound fabulous, I’ve never baked parsnips before but need to add them to my shopping list now!

    1. Oh this is SUCH a Christine recipe – vegan and easy and savory! You just need to make a Vitamix sauce with it and it’ll be totally up your alley :)

  34. Oh–these look so much like regular French fries and they will be made tomorrow for dinner! I also have a kabocha squash (I FINALLY got my little mitts on one of those–they are hard to find here)! So–I’ll do both because that creamy balsamic dip will be great with pretty much everything. I have roasted parsnips with turnips, rutabaga and other roots but at a lower temp because of my ultra sensitive smoke alarm. Now that I can actually run my oven over 400 with my avocado oil, I’m excited to get some crispier parsnips!

    1. My smoke detector is the world’s MOST annoying. Omg. It goes off ALL the time! Anything over 400F usually but with these, they don’t seem to set it off as bad as other roasted veggies. I also kept the oil to the bare minimum and it also really soaks into the uber-porous parsnips so less to just sit there and char and heat to the smoking point. Funny you say that about kabocha squash. Everyone in other parts of the country says that but here, they’re easy to find. A little pricey but easy. We are spoiled here :) The creamy balsamic is super universal. The color, in person, is on the gray-mauve side. Not exactly ‘gorgeous’ but it sure tastes good. LMK how it all goes!

  35. I’ve tried parsnips maybe a couple of times and just wasn’t blown away by them. But these really look fantastic and that dip….yum! I love balsamic anything really.

    1. Between your love of balsamic (thought of you when I was typing this as I know we could both literally eat it with a spoon!) and your love of sweet taters/fries, this is perfect for you. Try ’em again and see what you think!

  36. I love the little side stories about Scotts confusion, they are always quite amusing lol! Men will be men and they are typically easy to please through their stomachs.

    1. He’s frequently highly confused about the food, which is FINE! I actually would go nuts if I was married to a ‘foodie’ who over-analyzed things (like I do). We’d never eat…we’d just talk about the food, dissect it, belabor the preparation & methods, etc. Lol We’re a good balance that way :) And yes, most men are quite confused – about everything. Not just food. Lol

  37. I love the bowls you used for your peanut soup, where did you get those, they’re amazing!

    I totally forgot about parsnip fries, they’re SO good and Kevin likes them, too!

      1. Wow, thanks a lot, Averie! I guess we have an Anthropologie in Montreal (I’d never heard of them). When I go to the website they tell me that they don’t have a site that’s multilingual so I’m not allowed to view it in Quebec. So strange (and frustrating) soooo I’m planning to just go there tomorrow. Wish me luck!

      2. I *just* got back from the real store and they have the blue ones there still (looked for you) and the white, is gone. But they have new stuff :) That sucks that you can’t access their site…that is WEIRD!

      3. Awesome, thanks Averie! You’re so sweet :) Haha ya, that’s Quebec for you. If it doesn’t come in French, we don’t want it. Needless to say, it’s taken some adjusting that’s for sure! I’ll let you know if I’m able to find them today!

      4. Well I hope things pan out! If nothing else, you will find about 10 other equally amazing things if you set foot in that store!

  38. what a great idea! and i LOVE balsamic reductions, but never thought about serving them as a dipping sauce for fries! fabulous – will be making these as soon as possible!!

  39. I make parsnip fries all the time! I love them. I also make butternut squash fries (just posted about them recently), and turnip fries.

    I’ve also made my own balsamic reduction, but my husband can’t stand how potent the whole place smells afterwards. So, I’ve gone back to buying it…..but you’re right, it’s expensive, and sometimes difficult to find one that doesn’t have added ingredients that I don’t want in there.

  40. Parsnips are awesome! I love how they have a little funky bite. Josh just tried them for a first time and is a fan. I roasted them, but will make them more fry like next time!

  41. They sound really good! I’ve never had roasted parsnips but you make me want to try. They definitely look like French fries! I bet cinnamon and butter would go great with them too?

    1. They would be heavenly with cinnamon-sugar or cinnamon-butter – really anything goes with cinn-butter-sugar for me but these would be glorious with it!