One of the main foundations of your vegan Christmas dinner, and every roast dinner in between, is tasty roasted vegetables. I want to show you how to make a delicious vegan version of honey roast parsnips and share with you my top tips for glorious roast potatoes.
Roast dinners aren’t complete without these two – honey roast parsnips and crispy roast potatoes are simply the best.
Instead of honey, I’ll be using lovely maple syrup for my vegan Christmas dinner; and shortly I’ll reveal my top tips for the best roasties.
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How to turn honey roast parsnips vegan?
For many years, honey has been renowned for its taste and multitude of health benefits. However, due to the industrial nature of food production and modern-day demands, the process of honey-making on a large scale is very different from how nature intended.
Commercial honey production and unnatural methods lead to weakened immune systems among bees and leave them vulnerable to infection, which may have contributed, in part, to the decline in our bee population.
For this reason (and others), many vegans choose not to consume honey, whereas others have no issue in purchasing local, raw honey. This is cause for discussion but I think it’s about making a personal and well-educated decision.
There are many brilliant natural alternatives to honey which I use in its place. Examples include:
- Maple syrup
- Agave nectar
- Brown rice syrup
For my parsnips, I’ll be using maple syrup!
TOP TIP: if you can find parsnips which are slightly smaller in size, they are often sweeter, so they make an excellent option for your Christmas dinner.
Vegan Christmas Dinner: TOP TIPS for the perfectly CRISPY roast potatoes and parsnips
Choose quality spud:
I love using Maris Piper and King Edward potatoes as they are known to be the best variety of spud for roasties. They crisp up superbly, and their floury texture and high starch are what gives you the really light and fluffy centred roast potatoes. They’re a little bit more expensive than standard potatoes, but the extra pennies are totally worth it – it’s Christmas after all!
Make sure you heat the oil in the roasting tin before the potatoes and parsnips go into it. This is another way to help crisp the edges and makes them delightfully crunchy to bite into once cooked. Instead of goose fat (no need for it), simply use a neutral oil (e.g. vegetable oil) for a vegan-friendly alternative.
Create texture by ‘chuffing’ the potatoes:
Once you’ve parboiled and drained your potatoes, toss them in the colander until the edges have roughened. This process is called ‘chuffing’. It’s a great technique for crisping as it allows more oil to crisp around the surface of the potato and parsnip.
Single Layer roasting:
When roasting, ensure that you keep your potatoes in a single layer rather than layered on top of each other. Use an extra tray if need be, but by doing this, you will ensure the potatoes cook and crisp up nice and evenly.
Taste, flavour and creative twists:
I’ve paired my roasties with some fresh rosemary, thyme, crushed shallot and garlic cloves to create some lovely flavour. I’ve also sprinkled over some sea salt and black pepper.
You could even add shavings of clementine as this would pair well with the woody herbs to create an excellent depth of flavour.
Why do you parboil the potatoes and parsnips?
With your potatoes and parsnip, you don’t want to cook them entirely on the hob. You just want to parboil them which basically means they partly cook and then finish cooking in the oven.
Not only does parboiling save you time but can help your kitchen run more efficiently and effectively as well! Especially at Christmas – because the cooking time will be more in sync with other parts of the dinner.
Roast potatoes and ‘honey’ roast parsnips are one of the key delights to any Christmas dinner – they really can make or break your festive feast!
This recipe has featured as part of my Instagram IGTV recipe series, Vegan In Lockdown: Christmas Special. You can watch the series over on Instagram – I release a new episode every week on Monday and Wednesday (6 pm BST) in the lead up to Christmas 2020.
I hope you enjoy this recipe – it’s not a vegan Christmas without ‘honey’ roast parsnips and crispy roasties. I’d love it if you could leave me some feedback and a cheeky follow on social.
If you’re already planning your vegan Christmas or need some ideas for a vegan roast dinner, then check out these recipes of mine:
- Beet Bruschetta with Sweet Zest & Peppery Infusions
- ‘MEATY’ Vegan Mushroom Wellington
- DELICIOUS Vegan Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Much love, G x
- 800g Maris Piper potatoes, washed and peeled
- 6 parsnips, washed and peeled
- 3 carrots, washed and chopped
- Vegetable oil
- Plain flour
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Fresh rosemary
- Fresh thyme
- 2 shallots
- Garlic cloves
- Give the potatoes a good wash. Then peel them and halve the larger ones.
Top and tail your parsnips and prepare your carrots. Peeling the root veg is optional – most of the nutrients are in the skin so I’ll leave that up to you.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot, submerge with water and add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme and a large pinch of salt. Bring the potatoes to a boil - place the lid ajar to keep the heat in.
- Once at boiling point, lower the heat, add the parsnips and return the lid. Then simmer them for about ten minutes until they are parboiled. A good way to test whether they’re ready is by lightly prodding them with a sharp knife. They will still feel firm when you pierce them.
- At this point, you need to pre-heat your oven to 180C.
- Drain your potatoes and parsnips thoroughly using a colander.
- Next, put a large drizzle of oil in a hot roasting tin and place in the oven for a few mins until it’s really hot – this will help you get the perfect crisp.
- Meanwhile, chuff the potatoes and parsnips around in the colander until the outsides are roughened – add a little sprinkle of flour and chuff again.
- Roughly chop some shallot and garlic cloves.
- Add the potatoes and parsnips to the hot oil and use kitchen tongs to give an even coating. Group the parsnips to one side and add the carrots. Then drizzle the parsnips with maple syrup (don't be shy - approx. 2 tbsp).
- Add the shallots and garlic around the potatoes and carrot and season both with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme and a sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper.
- Once you’ve got all the veg on the baking tray and given them a good season, put them in the oven for 40-60 minutes at 180C (until crispy). Please note: if you do want to cook the potatoes and parsnips for longer than 40 mins, then remove the carrots before doing so and keep these warm elsewhere as these have a shorter cooking time.
- Halfway through, use some tongs to turn the veg.