What’s the first food item that comes to mind upon hearing the words “fast food”? I’ll bet you answered, “French fries.” I understand why; it’s salty, it’s oily, and it’s so easy to eat. Once you get started, it’s hard to stop, especially if you’re having your fries with a yummy sandwich or burger. Unfortunately, French fries have very little nutritional value. They also contain additives and preservatives which have been linked to certain health risks and diseases.
Roasted parsnip fries is an excellent, healthy substitute for French fries. They’re so good that your kids probably won’t be able to tell the difference. Did we mention that this recipe is paleo-friendly as well?
What are Parsnips?
For those who have never heard of a parsnip, it’s a root vegetable that is closely related to a carrot as they have a similar shape, structure, and texture. With regards to flavor, parsnips have a sweet flavor which works well with a variety of spices.
Parsnips are also loaded with nutrients. For every 100 grams of parsnip, it contains about 5 grams of dietary fiber. Most people have a difficult time hitting their fiber intake on a daily basis. Consuming food high in fiber such as parsnip will help relieve constipation and will improve overall digestive function, as well as helping balance your gut flora. (1)
Surprisingly, parsnips also have a high vitamin c content. Getting a sufficient daily dose of vitamin c will help boost your immune system to protect you from illnesses, will help maintain good eye health, and will improve the appearance of your skin.
Roasting and Baking VS. Frying
For obvious reasons, roasting and/or baking food is superior to pan-frying or deep-frying because of the lower fat content. When food isn’t fried properly or at the right temperature, it has a tendency to soak up even more oil than usual. Unlike baking or roasting, frying adds a significant amount of calories to your dish, which can help promote weight gain regardless if your food is healthy or not. Paleo dieters would do well to remember that cooking oil is high in fat, and therefore high in calories. Reducing fat intake by baking and/or roasting is recommended for individuals who are transitioning to a paleo diet not just for health, but for weight management as well.
Trainers and nutritionists agree that an effective way to eliminate excess calories from one’s diet is by cutting down on fried food and replacing them with more nutrient-dense food sources such as lean proteins, leafy vegetables, and fruits.
Parsnips VS. Potatoes
As mentioned earlier, parsnips have a sweet, spiced flavor which can be enhanced by many herbs and spices. This recipe makes use of honey, olive oil, coriander, cumin, and paprika. The heat and bold flavors of coriander, cumin, and paprika will balance out the sweetness of the honey as well as the richness of the olive oil. Be sure to use virgin olive oil and 100% organic raw honey.
Parsnips have a similar texture to potatoes when cooked, which makes it an ideal substitute ingredient for French fries. This healthy, paleo-approved alternative will not only provide you with essential nutrients to maintain a healthy body, it will also benefit individuals who want to lose weight and fat. It’s so versatile, too. Take this recipe for example. It incorporates the pungent aroma of truffle oil which instantly elevates the parsnip fries to gourmet status just like that. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your combinations.
- 6 parsnips, peeled and cut into "fries"
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a bowl mix the smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, honey and olive oil.
- Add the parsnip and toss to coat.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Spread the parsnip out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping once halfway through, or until crisp and golden-brown.
- Serve with your favorite sauce.
Want more Paleo recipes? Take a look at the Paleo Grubs Book. With 470+ easy-to-prepare Paleo recipes in 17 comprehensive categories it is the only Paleo book you will ever need.
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