Day 344: Roasted Parsnips with Pine Nuts

Every once in a lucky while, you find a cookbook that's entirely cookable. And if it's an entirely readable history lesson, too? Foodie Heaven.

In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark launched the great exploration of the new Lousiana Purchase. The food logistics alone were enormous: there were no Safeways, no Whole Foods along the traverse of the Missouri River. How and what DID they eat? Well and a lot, it turns out, very well and a whole lot.

The Food Journal of Lewis & Clark by Mary Gunderson describes the expedition in terms of food, applying what Mary calls paleocuisineology -- bringing history alive through cooking -- to make a history book with recipes.
"Welcome to the table of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The dining cloth reaches across the North American continent, circa 1803 to 1806. There is more than enough room for each of us to crowd around. Linger at any point in the journey and a rich food history is at hand, revealing the larger story of the Expedition and its still-felt impact on our national consciousness. Such is the power of food. Dig in!" --- from the Food Journal of Lewis & Clark

It's a great read and -- for the real foodies among us -- eminently cookable. (Want to learn more? Visit HistoryCooks for lesson plans, sample recipes and other goodies.)

SO ALANNA ... WHAT ABOUT THE PARSNIPS? ... Roasted parsnips are wonderful! And the pine nuts are a natural complement. THESE roasted parsnips, too bad, were woody, no fault of the recipe. I'm finding it hard to tell when to cut out the center cores and when not, a discussion that also happened on Day 319. I think I will, from now on, just in case.

NEXT TIME ... I'll use fewer pine nuts since they're expensive price-wise and calorie-wise. Just a few would have been enough.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... I know the roasting season is coming to a close but for cold-ish spring days, there are lots of roasted vegetable recipes in the Recipe Box.

Adapted from Food Journal of Lewis & Clark
Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 45 - 50 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound parsnips, peeled, cored in thick sections (see ALANNA's TIPS), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 - 2 tablespoons pine nuts (the inspiring recipe calls for 1/2 cup)
Malt vinegar (a trick from Day 319)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the parsnip pieces, olive oil, salt and pepper to combine well and transfer to a rimmer baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and stir in the pine nuts. Roast another 20 minutes (or more) until golden, stirring occasionally. (I was busy and didn't stir. It didn't seem to matter.) Season again and sprinkle with malt vinegar. Serve and enjoy!

With 1T pine nuts: Per Serving: 129 Cal (34% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 61% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 21 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; NetCarb15; 41 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 11 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

With 2T pine nuts: Per Serving: 143 Cal (39% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 56% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 21 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; NetCarb15; 42 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 12 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2.5 points

With 1/2C pine nuts: Per Serving: 229 Cal (57% from Fat, 6% from Protein, 37% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 15 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 23 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; NetCarb17; 44 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 12 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 5 points

  • To keep the pieces of roughly equivalent size, you might want to core only the thicker stem ends. To do this, first slice the thin root ends in one-inch pieces -- you might only get one or two. Then quarter the thick section, slice out the woody cores, then slice into one-inch pieces.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Great recipe, Alanna!

  2. Many thanks for the book title! We're always in search of this kind of book - it looks ideal for our pre-dinner reading aloud sessions.

    And parsnips and pinenuts... that looks delicious as well!

    Pinenuts can be so tricky, can't they? They go rancid so quickly. We have found an excellent source for pinenuts though (Kensington Market in Toronto - dried beans and fruits lady on the north side of Balwin) I don't know how she does it but her pinenuts are always fresh and WAY less expensive than supermarket pinenuts.


  3. Nice Safeways? I don't believe that for a a second!

    The dish sounds great too...and timely, as I have about five parsnips in the fridge with no plan (bought a bag of them for another recipe but it only took one), a-roasting we will go!

    BTW, Elizabeth, even though they're never refrigerated in the stores, I always keep pine nuts in the fridge - I think it keeps them fresher longer.

  4. Hey Alanna and pille, ejm, and stephen.

    [S., no cell phones either. Imagine.]

    I'm delighted you like the recipe. It's one of my favorites. I second the idea of pinenuts in the frig. [E., I was in Toronto for the first time last month--so very cool. Will look for the dried beans and fruits lady next time!]

    Have you tried pine nuts in basil pesto? They do this in Chile where they can shoot--yes shoot--the pine cones from the trees in the back yard, break out the pine nuts and then prepare heavenly pasta with pesto.

  5. Wow! Great recipe! This combination sounds awesome.

  6. I've heard that about pinenuts, Stephen. I've even heard some people recommend to freeze them so they don't go rancid.

    Mary, there are 3 or four dried beans and fruits stores on Baldwin. The lady we go to is the middle store beside the Mexican store. She also makes terrific baklava and always has very fresh walnuts on hand.

    We've had pine nuts in basil pesto a lot (as far as we know, the pinenuts were not shot from the tree) but we actually prefer pecans in basil pesto....

    Have any of you tried Nigella Lawson's amazing "Tagliatelle with Chicken from the Venetian Ghetto" that calls for roast chicken, Sultana raisins and pinenuts?

    I just looked more closely at the parsnip pinenut recipe - 1/2 c pinenuts!!! Wow!! Clearly Lewis and Clark didn't have to worry about their pocketbooks. ;-D


  7. Well so far the suggestions range from frig to freezer -- and I have no trouble in the pantry! Maybe because they go into a glass jar? Hmmm.

    BTW Elizabeth, I figure L&C weren't worrying about their pocketboks -- the taxpayer dime after all =-)-- but also weren't worried about their waistlines! I'd never done nutritiion analysis on pine nuts. Yikes!

  8. i am glad to have found your site. i am going to make this dish for a birthday party on sunday. i love pine nuts and use them all the time. they are great toasted and added to a green leafy salad. i think i'll even toast them a little before adding them to the parsnips. yum yum!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna