When I found this recipe on A House in the Hills, I couldn’t wait to try it. The unsung hero of the produce aisle, parsnips have twice as much fiber and more than four times the amount of iron as potatoes. With this recipe, they're an easy-to-make, tasty substitute for french fries. Delicious, crispy, and piquant — exactly what you need when you've got a craving for something savory.
The cashew cream dip sounds like an indulgence, but it’s actually guilt-free and made of high-protein cashews, detoxifying lemon juice, almond milk, and salt.
Before cutting your parsnips into fries, cut off both ends. You can slice your parsnips as thin or thick as you like, but you may have to adjust your bake time. I find that parsnip fries as thick as the greater end of a chopstick provide the right amount of crispiness.
While it’s great for baked goods, virgin coconut oil will retain the taste and aroma of coconuts if used on your parsnip fries. I recommend using refined solid organic coconut oil in this recipe. Just heat the coconut oil over low heat until it’s a liquid.
For the raw cashew cream, you’ll need to soak your cashews at least 4 hours. If you soak them overnight, don't let them sit in water for more than 12 hours or mold may grow. For a faster process, you can pour boiling water over cashews and let them soak for an hour. Regardless of the method you choose, drain the water before blending.
Choosing a Variety of Paprika
Paprika is so strongly associated with Hungary that its name was derived from the Hungarian word for Turkish pepper, paparka. It was first introduced to Spain and Turkey from Mexico in the sixteenth century. Invading Ottoman Turks first brought the pepper to Hungary. Hungarian paprika was bred from the spicier Native American varieties and belongs to Capsicum annum, which includes the bell pepper and chili pepper.
The main types of paprika you’ll find are Spanish, Hungarian, and American and they vary in color and flavor. American paprika is bright red and the most mild; it’s usually used for color and flavor. Spanish paprika varies from “dulce” (sweet and slightly smoky), to “agridulce” (bittersweet and slightly hot), all the way up to “picante” (hot). As the national spice of Hungary, Hungarian paprika varies in sweetness and pungency from region to region.
If you can find organic smoked Spanish paprika, you absolutely must try it. It’s a more complex, rich flavor than the standard sweet paprika. It’ll really take your parsnip fries to the next level and you only need a tablespoon for this recipe. Find it in the spice section of your local natural grocery store.
Paprika Parsnip Fries with Lemon Cashew Cream
- Prep time: 10 minutes, not counting soaking time for the cashews. Soak organic cashews in purified water for at least 4 hours. Alternatively, soak them in very hot water for one hour.
- Cook time: 45 minutes
- Total time: 55 minutes
- Serves: 3
- High-powered blender or small (4 to 6 cup) food processor
- Large mixing bowl
- Large roasting pan (avoid non-stick cookware)
- Optional: Silpat or parchment paper for baking
Organic Parsnip Fries
- 1 pound or 500g of jumbo organic parsnips (about 3), peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon organic paprika
- ½ teaspoon organic cayenne pepper, or more if you’re brave
- 2 hefty pinches of Himalayan Crystal salt or sea salt
- Organic parsley, cilantro, or rosemary to garnish
- ½ cup of organic cashews, soaked overnight
- 1 tablespoons organic lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons organic almond milk, plus one to adjust consistency
- Dash of Himalayan Crystal salt or sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Peel the parsnips and slice into fries.
- Mix the parsnips, coconut oil, and paprika in a large bowl.
- Put your Silpat non-stick silicone baking mat or parchment paper on your cookie sheet and spread your fries into an even layer.
- Roast for 25 minutes, then toss the parsnips and turn up the oven to 500 degrees.
- Cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes at 500 degrees until crispy. Keep the oven light on and check on your fries often to make sure they don’t burn.
- While parsnips are roasting, combine the cashews, lemon juice, Himalayan salt, and almond milk in a blender or food processor. Blend until creamy and fully combined. Add another splash of almond milk if necessary.
What Makes Paprika Parsnip Fries So Healthy?
Just six grams of paprika can provide over 70 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A. The antioxidants in paprika also defend against oxidative stress from free radicals.
- “Parsnips.” USDA: SNAP Ed Connection. Feb. 2016. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
- Raghavan, Susheela. Handbook of Spices, Seasonings, and Flavorings, Second Edition. N.p.: CRC Press, 2006. Ebook. 2 Aug. 2016.
- Han, Emily. What’s the difference? Paprika. The Kitchn, 30 Oct. 2008. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
- Falkowitz, Max, and Serious Eats. “Spice Hunting: A Guide to Paprika.” N.p., 20 May 2010. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
- Sciences, Division of Plant, and plantsciweb. Extend the harvest with hardy vegetables. University of Missouri. 29 Aug. 2013. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
- “Reasons for the seasons.” N.p.: University of California Cooperative Extension Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2012. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
- Vanovschi, Vitalii. Spices, paprika: Nutritional value and analysis. Google+, n.d. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
- Márkus, F, et al. “Change in the Carotenoid and Antioxidant Content of Spice Red Pepper (paprika) as a Function of Ripening and Some Technological Factors.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 47.1 (1999): 100–7. Web. 2 Aug. 2016.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.