Parsnips are a fairly recent discovery for me and my family.
We started eating them last year when I was desperate for new veggie options due to following a program known as Nutritional Balancing. In this program, patients are encouraged to eat 8 to 9 servings of cooked vegetables per day. As much as I love them, a girl can only handle so much roasted broccoli and steamed carrots, ya know?
Enter: the lowly parsnip.
Azure Standard had parsnips available for a decent price last winter, so I ordered five pounds. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with them! I delight in roasted parsnips with fresh thyme, mashed parsnips on top of shepherd’s pie, and parsnips added to soups. And pan-fried parsnips? Ahhhh-mazing!
This fall, I was craving something crispy and salty. I just happened to have one last quart of home-rendered, grass-fed beef tallow and several pounds of parsnips on my hands, so I knew just what to do: deep fry them!
Hey, I’m a Southern girl. When all else fails, fry something! 😉
This may seem like a complicated process, but it really isn’t. Deep-frying anything is a bit time-consuming, but it’s definitely not difficult. And I promise, it’s worth it!
Crispy Deep-Fried Parsnip Strings
Craving something crispy and salty? The will hit the spot. This may seem like a complicated process, but it really isn't. Deep-frying anything is a bit time-consuming, but it's definitely not difficult. And I promise, it's worth it!
- spiralizer with a 1/8-inch blade
- vegetable peeler optional
- 5- quart Dutch oven or stock pot, can be larger
- deep-frying thermometer
- pair of long tongs
- flat slotted skimmer or other large slotted spoon
- paper towels
- cookie sheet or other flat surface to lay fried parsnips on to drain
- timer optional
- 8 to 10 large parsnips top ends only (use the thinner bottom ends for slicing and roasting, in soups, or puree)
- 1 to 1-1/2 quarts beef tallow home-rendered
- sea salt
- garlic powder
- seasonings any other desired, to taste
Get out all your equipment.
When deep-frying, it is important to have everything ready to go before you begin. This will enable you to give your full attention to frying and significantly decrease your chances of burning yourself or your food.
Attach your thermometer to the side of your Dutch oven or pot. It needs to go all the way to the bottom.
Add a full quart of tallow to the pot and turn the heat to medium-high.
Begin melting and heating the tallow.
The tallow needs to reach between 350 and 370 degrees Fahrenheit before you attempt to fry.
If desired, peel the parsnips.
With a knife, cut off the bottom, thin part of the parsnips, and the top where the greens were.
Make sure you leave both ends round enough in diameter that you can easily spiralize them without a lot of waste. My parsnips were 3 to 4 inches in diameter at the top and 2 to 3 inches in diameter where I cut them off.
Spiralize your parsnips (here's a quick video on Instagram).
Using scissors, cut the parsnip strings a couple of times so they're not two or three feet long. Anywhere from 6 to 18 inches is fine. There's no need to be exact.
Combine all desired seasonings in a bowl, ready to be sprinkled on fried parsnips.
Check the temperature of the tallow.
If it is between 350 and 370 degrees Fahrenheit, you're ready to go!
Using the tongs, gently place a portion of your parsnip strings into the hot oil.
Notice on your thermometer that the temperature immediately decreases significantly. Don't worry — it will go back up slowly.
Keeping a close eye on your parsnips, fry them until they are golden in color.
Too white, and they won't be crisp.
Too brown, and they're burned.
Turn them a couple of times during frying for even cooking.
If it helps, set a timer for 3 to 4 minutes.
When they are the perfect golden brown, carefully remove them from the pot to your paper-towel lined cookie sheet to drain.
Immediately sprinkle with whatever blend of seasonings you've chosen.
Use the slotted spoon to fish out any small bits that the tongs missed.
It is very important to remove all the parsnips before you allow the oil to reheat and start the next batch. This will keep your oil clean and will prevent burning.
Working in batches, repeat these steps until you've fried all your parsnip strings. If, during the process, you feel your pot needs more tallow, add a cup or two more.
Bring the tallow up to temperature and keep working.
This made enough parsnip strings to make 3 meals over 3 days for our family of 4. Store in a zip-top bag for up to 3 days. No need to refrigerate. Our parsnip strings stayed crisp until they were all gone!
How Does One Use Deep-Fried Parsnip Strings?
We used part of our batch to top bun-less, grass-fed burgers. It was so delicious! The next day, we had them as a side with fried eggs at breakfast. My kids said it was like having really crispy hashbrowns! That evening we used the rest of our crispy parsnips as a topping for some Paleo clam chowder. They were the perfect textural component and didn’t even get soggy in our soup.
You can serve them as a replacement for French fries if you’re trying to cut carbs or nightshades. Add them to salads for extra crunch if you’re like me and miss croutons. Or just do like we did and eat them right out of the bag as a yummy snack!
How do you like your parsnips?
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I love parsnips. I was not familiar with them until just last year when I tried them on a whim. I love them roasted and usually serve them with chicken. Mashed on a shepherd’s pie sounds absolutely lovely.
Lindsey Dietz says
Jenny, I’ve topped a shepherd’s pie with them before, and it wasn’t a hit. Oddly, the parsnip flavor was too sweet for the dish. 🙁 I think if I mixed parsnips with potatoes, it would lessen the sweetness and improve the combined flavors. Let me know if you try it!
Lindsey Dietz says
Hey there! I was reading back through some old comments, and as I read my reply to you, it hit me that I didn’t make very much sense since I talked about how delicious mashed parsnips were in the post. LOL What I SHOULD have said was that the mashed parsnips on top of shepherd’s pie wasn’t a hit with the family. THEY thought the flavor too sweet. I, on the other hand, did love them — thus, the reason I used that example in the post. I must have had pre-Thanksgiving crazies on the brain when I wrote that comment to you! 😉 I plan to try mixing parsnips and mashed potatoes on a shepherd’s pie that I’m making tomorrow and seeing if that combination goes over better with everyone. Sorry for the misunderstanding!
I wonder how these would work in place of onions on green bean casserole? Parsnips are one my favorites. I usually roast them with other root veggies, but this recipe sounds delicious! Could coconut oil be used in place of tallow?
Lindsey Dietz says
Nancy, I think they would be lovely atop a green bean casserole! You wouldn’t have the onion flavor, of course, but the crunch is unbeatable. I suppose you could use coconut oil instead of tallow, but tallow is excellent both for flavor and heat for frying root vegetables. If you do use coconut oil, I would try expeller pressed. There won’t be any coconut flavor, and I think expeller pressed is slightly more heat stable. Avocado oil might be another option for you.
Lindsey Dietz says
Oh Nancy, it occurred to me as I was re-reading comments — what if you added a generous amount of onion powder in your seasoning for the fried parsnips? Do you think that might help with the onion flavor on top of a green bean casserole?
Hey ya’ll- There’s a traditional Scottish Dish called Neeps and Tatties (Parsnips or Turnips & Potatoes, mashed) I had them in Crieff baked crunchy in a muffin tin and they had a light gravy. Sublime!