For our alternative Thanksgiving menu, we were looking for a vegetable that was a bit out of the ordinary to compliment our main course. Instead of one, I found two. I purchased a bunch of organic baby carrots with the tops on (not to be confused with the bagged variety of “baby carrots” which are really mature carrots that are peeled and cut in the baby cut style. Combined with a bunch of parsnips, I washed them and sliced them into thin fries, knowing that once they were roasted, they would be irresistible to anyone who happened upon them. Coupled with two offbeat dipping sauces, these healthy french fry replacements almost didn’t make it through the photo shoot.
Once the slicing is complete, preparation is a snap! Be prepared because the vegetables tend to shrink during roasting, so while you may be tempted to not cut them all, just do it anyway.
1 bunch young or true baby carrots (organic) with tops on
1 bunch or bag parsnips
1 tbsp. olive oil, melted
chile salt or cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s) to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place baking paper on a baking sheet.
2. Wash the carrots and parsnips. Remove the green leafy tops. Remove the tops and tips of the vegetables. Slice into thin fries. (They will be tapered since this is the natural shape of the vegetables.)
3. Arrange the carrot and parsnip fries so that they are lying flat on the baking sheet. Brush the melted coconut oil lightly on top of each fry. Sprinkle the chile salt mixture or cajun seasoning on top of the fries to taste.
4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 7 minutes.
5. After 7 minutes, remove from the oven and brush another thin layer of coconut oil on the fries.
6. Continue cooking for approximately 8-10 more minutes. Taste to see if they are tender. The carrots may get done before the parsnips. If that happens, remove the carrots and place the parsnips back in the oven until they are tender inside and slightly crispy outside.
7. Serve as a snack or side dish. We served ours on top of our mofongo stuffing, and placed yin-yang bowls with one compartment filled with Sriracha sauce and the other with Chinese hot mustard. Such spicy, unexpected flavors brought out the natural sweetness in the carrots and parsnips, creating a perfect balance.