Parsnips Plus

Note: I always thought parsnips belonged in soup stock. But I am finding that it is a good root vegetable to be used in other dishes, such as combining them with potatoes or cauliflower. Actually, a recent article in, taken from a recent press release by the American Heart Association, reveals that white-fleshed foods are good for stroke prevention. Here’s the article and below it my “white” recipe, which I combined with spinach and paprika for the red, white, & green of the holiday season. I cut & pasted this directly from the website, but the underlines & bolds are mine.

There has been a lot of research on the health benefits of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, but this Dutch study found that it was white fruits and vegetables that were associated with lower risk of stroke. Previous research found that higher fruit and vegetable consumption in general was associated with lower risk of stroke. This was the first study to look at the contribution of different colored produce on stroke risk. Study participants included 20,069 adults, ages 20 to 65, who did not have a history of cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. They all filled out a food frequency questionnaire.

Photo of parsnips, which resemble a carrot, only white in color and even sweeter in taste than a carrot.

The data from the questionnaire were used to determine how much green, yellow/orange, red/purple, and white fruits and vegetables the people ate. White fruits and vegetables included garlic, leek, onions, apples, pears, apple juice, applesauce, banana, cauliflower, chickory, cucumbers, and mushrooms. The group was followed up for 10 years; during that time there were 233 strokes. Green, yellow/orange, and red/purple fruits and vegetables were not associated with lower risk of stroke, but higher consumption of white fruits and vegetables was. Each 25-gram per day increase in the consumption of white fruits and vegetables was associated with a 9% lower risk of stroke — an average apple weighs 120 grams.

People with the highest intake of white fruits and vegetables had a 52% lower risk of stroke than people with the lowest intake of white fruits and vegetables. The good news is that white fruits and vegetables are commonly consumed. They make up 36% of total fruit and vegetable consumption, and apples and pears make up 55% of the white fruits and vegetables consumed. One limitation of this study is reliance on self-reported food intake, which can be biased. Another is that it is an observational study, so researchers cannot conclude that eating a lot of white fruits and vegetables was solely responsible for the lower risk of stroke. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables could be a marker for a generally healthier lifestyle.

Parsnips Plus

Utensils: Cutting board & knife; Large, flat saucepan; potato masher
Prep. Time: About 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Category: Vegan, Sugar & Gluten Free (Parsnips & Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet with their own “sugar.”)

2 cups water or stock
one parsnip
one (white-skinned) sweet potato and/or
two red-skinned potatoes
two cauliflowerettes, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
2 T. olive or macadamia nut oil
sea salt & white pepper


1. Place 2 cups water or stock in saucepan & turn onto medium heat. (I used a large, flat saucepan, which is like a fry pan with high sides. If you use a deep one, you may need more liquid.)
2. Scrub & peel parsnip &potatoes, then chop; wash cauliflowerettes & into cut into thin slices. Parsnips are hard, so as you chop or dice them, just add them to the stock. Do the potatoes next & add them to the cooking water with the parsnips.  Then add the sliced cauliflower & minced garlic.
3. By the time you add the cauliflower, the other items will already start to be softer, so you need only about another 10 minutes for all the veggies to be soft and the liquid almost gone.
4. Add oil, salt & pepper to taste. (If you use water instead of stock, you may need more condiments.) Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. I like mine to be a little chunky. (You can puree the ingredients in a food processor, but white potatoes usually come out gummy.)
5. Place on a bed of spinach or dark green lettuce or kale and sprinkle with paprika.

Yield: About 3 or 4 side servings.

Note: Since parsnips & sweet potatoes are naturally  sweet, you can omit the garlic, if you like, for a sweeter taste. Also, sweet potatoes were on the good-for-you list for National Diabetes Month, so this recipe can double for stroke prevention & diabetes prevention. Berries are the last category & I will post some of my pre-posted berry recipes for the week-end, since  Friday is my birthday & I may take the week-end off.


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