The Real Difference Between Parsnips And Carrots

If you've ever been curious about the colorless cousin of the carrot, know that, according to MyRecipes, parsnips are just as meal-worthy and versatile as the common orange veg, but with a few key differences in taste, texture, and how we use them. While a parsnip may look like someone hit the desaturate button on the photo filter, the root vegetables are actually packed with flavor and possibilities.

Parsnips are essentially your all-encompassing winter root vegetable. Organic Authority shares that they roast, caramelize, and go well in soups like their orange counterparts, with a familiar sweetness and crunch. But unlike carrots, parsnips possess a "naturally nutty and almost spiced flavor" perfect for warm winter dishes. Plus, like carrots (via Healthline), parsnips are full of good stuff like essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber (via Food Network).

Deciding how to cook your parsnips is the hardest (but the most fun) part. The root vegetable pairs well with many herbs and spices — like in this Bon Appétit recipe for rosemary parsnip fries – and like carrots can be used to produce a ton of delicious dishes without too many ingredients or fuss.

Cook parsnips slightly differently than carrots

Your plan of attack on parsnips can be somewhat based on how you normally cook carrots, but with a slight twist. A major difference between the two vegetables is that, according to  MyRecipes, peeling them is not only unnecessary, but (unlike with carrots) it can actually be detrimental to your dish. A lot of the flavor comes from the outer layers! Instead, make sure you thoroughly wash and scrub your parsnips to get them clean, mean, and ready to be steamed (or boiled, or roasted, or whatever). The outlet also shares that, typically, parsnips on the smaller side tend to have more flavor and are easier to cook with than larger ones, so try to find these if you can.

Carrots and parsnips are fairly equal in their use in recipes; whether you're crafting a warm winter soup or something to satisfy your sweet tooth, the possibilities are seemingly endless (via BBC Good Food). The main difference we've noticed? You might want to think twice about biting into a raw parsnip for a midday snack. Carrots, both full-scale and baby, deliver a crisp, sweet crunch eaten raw, but Organic Authority shares that the sweet, coveted flavor of parsnips really only comes out when cooked.