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Fancy up oven-baked fries by using parsnips in place of potatoes and serving them with a satisfyingly smoky (and deceivingly healthy) dip. Kerry, Recipe Hunter

Kerry Brunelle

THE RECIPE

Cheesy Parsnip Fries with Smoky Tahini Sauce

Give parsnips a try -- bake them into crispy fries

It seems like everyone and their mothers are making fries and chips out of non-traditional veggies these days. Kale chips and carrot fries are now mainstream. For good reason — you can replicate the texture and flavors of these favorite greasy snacks while reducing calories, increasing nutrients, and mixing in some vegetables you may not normally eat. It is a win-win situation, so long as you have a great recipe that doesn’t sacrifice flavor for the other benefits. This recipe from Lauren at A Dash of Soul is a double-whammy: delicious non-traditional fries plus an awesome dip that doesn’t cancel out the calories you’re saving by eating health-ified fries.

Let’s start with the fries. A parsnip is a root vegetable, very similar to a carrot or potato, that is high in potassium, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. When raw, it can be rather bitter, and when cooked, it is slightly sweet but not as sweet as a carrot. Parsnips are best served cooked, and, in this case, they are baked until golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. When selecting parsnips, choose small or medium ones, as the larger ones tend to be fibrous. When slicing parsnips, if the inner core is tough and fibrous, cut it away and discard. The seasoning for these fries may seem familiar until you reach nutritional yeast (see tip below for a description of this ingredient). Nutritional yeast is often used as a vegan cheese alternative, as it is in this recipe, and it gives the fries a salty, cheesy flavor. Feel free to substitute grated parmesan if you would like. The resulting oven-baked parsnip fries are satisfying enough on their own, but you would be remiss if you skipped over the dip. Plain yogurt is combined with tahini, paprika, and smoked salt for a creamy, smoky sauce that feels indulgent but is healthy and tasty enough to put on anything and everything.

While it may be impossible to completely replace french fries, these parsnip fries are a great place to start. Swapping potatoes, cheese, and mayonnaise for parsnips, nutritional yeast, and plain yogurt are easy changes to create a nutritional snack that tastes indulgent without losing the flavor and texture of traditional fries that we know and love. Give this recipe a try — you may just find your new favorite fry.

THE CHEF

Lauren Rea

Attorney and Passionate Food Blogger

Lauren Rea - A Dash of Soul

I believe in eating real food that comes from the earth and not a science lab! I love Southern food and have made it my mission to make fresh, healthier versions of comfort food favorites.

Healthy Southern fare may sound like an oxymoron, but Lauren at A Dash of Soul is doing her best to make it the norm. Having been a vegetarian since 2013, Lauren creates plant-based recipes inspired by comfort food and Southern flavors, like this Black-Eyed Peas Bowl. But don’t fret — she hasn’t forgotten her roots. Recipes for Southern staples like catfish and barbecue chicken can also be found on her blog, and she often shows how to make a traditionally indulgent meal a little bit healthier for everyday eating. Lauren believes that food should be good for your body and your soul. We couldn’t agree more.

Head over to A Dash of Soul and say hello to Lauren on Instagram, PinterestTwitter and Facebook.

THE TIP

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast, an inactive yeast in powder or flake form, can be used as a cheese replacement in many dishes - from a topping on salads to lasagna.

Read the full tip >

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog

    Oh mah goodness. I love this unconventional fry recipe. Pinned.