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Root parsley.

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I found root parsley in a large deli last week -- and bought lots, of course.

Finding root parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. radicosum) is difficult. Trouble is, if you want any kind of crop except leaf from root parsley, you have to sow your seeds in autumn. Not many people know that.

And not many people know root parsley, so there's no demand, so even large delis don't stock it. So whenever I see it I buy it - I'm hoping to start finding root parsley in more shops really, as it's tastier than parsnip.

Root parsley does look a lot like parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).

Photo: Pastinaca sativa 3. Here's a pic of both, peeled and unpeeled, with a few slices of each shown as well.

Root parsley tastes of parsley, where parsnip tastes of, well, parsnip. There's also a difference in how the leaf scars are arranged at the top of the root: root parsley has leaf scars all over the place, where parsnip keeps its leaf scars tidily inside a ring, much like that of carrots.

Root parsley is usually 30+ cm long, where I remember parsnips to be carrot-length, give or take a few cm.
The root parsley in the pic is rather thin; it's usually the same size as the parsnip shown, that is, perhaps double the diameter of carrots.

What to do with root parsley and parsnip? You can't eat either raw. Or, well, you can, but the taste is nothing to write home about. But they're very tasty if boiled, especially if you mix them with blander-tasting root veggies:

Boiled root veggies à la Henriette
4-6 potatoes
8-10 carrots
3-4 root parsley roots
2-3 parsnips
4-5 onions
oil or butter
Bring to a boil, let simmer for half an hour or so. The more water you put in the more stock you get. Save that stock, it's delicious, either hot (if drunk straight away), or cold (if put into the fridge for later use).

Serving ideas:

  • pour off the stock (into mugs, not down the drain) and serve the root veggies with whatever you like (fish, meat, or simply a dash of butter).
  • pour off the stock and mash things up. Again, serve with things you like.
  • don't pour off the stock, just puree everything. Instant root soup.
  • leftovers can be fried for a yummy breakfast. Add an egg or two if the leftovers aren't enough to cover a plate.

I've made enough to freeze, many times, but somehow there's never any left to put in the freezer ...

Variations: if you wish to stay on the root crop side you could add celeriac, or sweet potatoes. If you want to juice things up you could add apples, cucumbers, and/or tomatoes. Cabbage isn't bad, either green or red; and cauliflower is nice, too.

Or just use your imagination, and use whatever is in season.


oh yes! I love root soup, definately a favourite, I have never tried parsely root though, you can vary this recipe to include whatever you have to hand. my current favourite is Lovage soup, with potato and whatver else i have to hand. I work on an edible/ medicinal roof garden and am always on the look out for interestig recipes.

Thanks for this. My husband came home with what he thought were large parsnips with lots of tops (greens). I didn't think parsnip greens looked exactly like parsley and I wasn't sure if they were edible. So, I started researching. Then he told me there had been a tag on them identifying them as Root Parsley. Vous l'avez! I found your site. Thanks for the clarification and the recipe.

Amazing - my husband also came home with what he thought were parsnips! The "give-away" were the green tops and label reading parsley root! Tried Epicurious and could not find a single receipe for parsley root, so will try your suggestion for soup.

You can of course also serve them on their own, boiled, with a dash of butter. Yum.

Hi Henriette,
thank you for theis website,
Parsley root is a very common vegetable in my country, but after I moved to US i can't find it anywhere. Do you have some tips what stores to visit or where else to look. Thank you Martina

I'm in Finland. I have no idea where you would find it in the US ... unless of course you grow it, and check underneath those plants, come their first real fall.

Try adding some root parsley to your homemade chicken soup when you add your carrots and celery. You'll love it. My kids sure do.

I just bought it today. I live on long island NY. I got it at Guinta's Meat Farms.

I think I just bought some today in NYC at my local Fine Fare supermarket. We live on the lower east side and along with the chinese and jewish influence the grocery in heavy on the spanish/dominican side. Ithought I was buying a parsnip but the tops sent me surfing!!!!

I just found some parsley root at Whole Foods (the grocery chain). For those living in the Boston area, you can also get it at Russo's & Sons Market in Watertown.

However--in both places, it seems to be available only in late winter (in other words, no). I have never seen it available in any other season.

I believe that in middle European cooking, parsley root is often used as part of the flavor base of a stew or soup. For example, you would chop it and saute it along with diced carrots, diced celery root, and chopped onion. To see soup and stew recipes that include parsley root, see Mimi Sheraton's German Cooking cookbook.

I have not yet tried parsley root on its own, mainly because I've never come across any recipes for it. But when you chop and saute it, try some--it tastes good.

Waterzooi recipes on belgian websites mention root parsley. Put the whole parsley in, after a while take it out, cut and mash the roots then put the mashed roots back in the soup.
I found root parsley seeds on amazon if you want to grow some.

Having eaten Parsley Root for the past 2 years thinking it was Parsnip, I think you would only tell the difference if you ate them side by side. Recently I discovered my error, seeing both Petersilienwurtzel (parsley) and Pasternak (parsnip) side by side, I bought one of each, cooked them identically side by side. They taste subtly different,for sure, but when given a blind taste test, I never consistently identified either.

I think that root parsley has a certain hotness to it that's lacking in parsnip. But tastes vary ...

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