Parsnip rostis -vegan, Gf

Rostis are usually made from potatoes. They are grated, seasoned well with salt and left to drain. When they are fried the natural starch from the spuds holds them together without any need for flour or eggs. Parsnips don't have this level of starch so they need a helping hand with some flour. These could be used as a substitute for potatoes and add one of your five a day.

If you haven't tried them before parsnips have a sweet flavour which is enhanced by cooking them in this way. If you have some tired (or indeed fresh) parsnips in your salad box at the bottom of your fridge use them up with this recipe. It makes about 4 rostis.

Did you know that Romans were great lovers of the parsnip and apparently the emperor Tiberius accepted parsnips as payment from the Germans.

I also heard a rumour that the lumps in McDonalds apple pies were once made from parsnip, as at the temperature they were served, the apple would just mush down to a puree and not provide the desired lumps. I stress the rest was apple.

Another parsnip fact is that parsnips during the second world war in the UK were used as a sweetener (and were before the invention of sugar). A wartime recipe for fake bananas was to boil up parsnips and mash them up with banana essence.

Parsnip rostis


3 parsnips

½ teaspoon salt

1 small red onion

1 to 2 tablespoons gluten free flour

Oil for frying - about 50ml


Firstly, peel the parsnips and then grate them into a bowl. Finely chop the red onion and add that to the bowl. Season with the salt and leave for about 1 hour. As it sits the salt will draw out a little moisture from the ingredients in the bowl. After an hour add the flour and mix everything together. If the mixture still seems a little bit dry add a tiny bit of water.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat - that is somewhere between the cooker's highest and lowest setting. Wait for the oil to heat up until a tiny bit of mixture sizzles when added to the oil. Spoon the mixture into the oil and fry until the rostis are browned underneath. Don’t turn them until you are good and sure they are brown. 

Fry them on the other side too. If you are making more than four don’t overload the pan - cook them in batches. Serve immediately or warm up later.