Flavor Roasted Parsnips With A Sprinkle Of Parmesan Cheese

A vastly underrated vegetable, parsnips — much like carrots — taste great when roasted ... but they taste even better when topped with cheese. Specifically, parmesan makes for a delicious and worthwhile addition to your next batch of oven-roasted parsnips. A generous sprinkle of the cheese is enough to transform the standard, baked starch into something rich, flavorful, and worthy of a main course.

To make your own cheesy parsnips, start by roasting them as you would normally. It's best to drizzle parsnips in olive oil and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. As for when to incorporate the cheese? Wait until the parsnips have had some time to roast. You want to first roast your parsnips at a decently high temperature, around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, that allows the vegetable to caramelize. You should then add your parmesan to the parsnips when they have about five minutes left of roasting time. This way, the parmesan will crisp up nicely. If you follow this technique, the parmesan will enhance the otherwise simple vegetable dish. As for why, exactly, parmesan works so well on parsnips, the proof is in the flavor. 

Salty parmesan complements sweet parsnips

Parmesan cheese has a delicious history with starchy, cooked vegetables. Think: cauliflower au gratin or loaded baked potatoes– both of which are best served on the cheesy side. It's no surprise, then, that parmesan works equally well with parsnips, as do cheeses in general. Of course, there are a multitude of reasons to explain why this combination of cheese and parsnips works so well together. However, they each circle back to the perfect balance of flavors; cheese adds a richness to roasted parsnips that brings more flavor and nuance to the vegetables.

Parmesan, on the other hand, balances out the sweetness of parsnips. When roasted to caramelization, parsnips develop a sweeter taste. As such, parmesan cheese introduces a new flavor profile — namely, saltiness — that enhances the complexity of the roasted vegetable. The opposite effect occurs with other cheeses, like gruyere, which tends to enhance the sweetness of parsnips. All that is to say: A sprinkle of parmesan is a delicious and reliable addition to your roasted parsnips. Who doesn't love the combination of sweet and salty?