Julienned parsnips with pesto
#100daysofcooking, Recipes

Presto! Day 42 magic with old parsnips and pesto

Julienned Parsnips with Pesto, Roasted Red Pepper and Chickpeas

We had invited a British executive chef for Sunday dinner.

A sobering decision. The #100daysofcooking project is in a perishing perishables phase. And how exactly does one tart up limp parsnips and aging pesto for company?

Michael was in Edmonton for a whirlwind visit with his best mate, and our future son-in-law, Simon. We’d met Michael several years ago when he was executive chef at Le Méridien Piccadilly in London and we enjoyed proper British tea in his restaurant.

That afternoon with Hannah and Simon was one of our trip highlights: the multi-tiered tray loaded with sandwiches and sweets, glasses of champagne, pots of tea.

High tea in London at Le Meridien Piccadilly
Michael’s kitchen at Le Meridien Piccadilly turned out trays of sweets, sandwiches and pots of tea for us.

I feel positive that the dinner we shared with Michael will be equally memorable. I am hopeful it is not memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Dan’s contributions to the meal were solid: a good Alberta roast beef (sirloin tip, cooked damn near to perfection), garlic mashed potatoes, Yorkshire puddings (another Dan Barnes culinary success story) and gravy from a package.

Don’t judge.

I was responsible for the vegetables: fennel-avocado-citrus salad (from Day 40), julienned parsnips with pesto, and fresh green beans.

Except I forgot to cook the beans. Dan and I were both a bit flustered about things that day.

I had never before paired parsnips with pesto but had checked it out after a suggestion from niece Molly, a devoted Road Wordy reader and fan of my previous parsnip post.

The recipe I settled on came from Inspiralized.com which, as the name suggests, is devoted to the spiralized vegetable phenomenon. I don’t own a spiralizer (though I have gifted a few) but my trusty Paderno julienner did the job handily.

And Molly is right. The combination of pesto and parsnips is quite fantastic and the dish was big hit right around the table. With one caveat: the recipe incorporated chickpeas to which I would say, don’t bother.

However, with that can of beans now opened (literally), tomorrow’s kitchen castoff is already decided.

Kitchen castoff used

Remainder of a jar of commercial pesto. We avoided looking at the best-before date.

Julienned parsnips with pesto and roasted red pepper
Julienned parsnips with pesto and roasted red pepper

This is how we did it


  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 4 or 5 parsnips, julienned or spiralized
  • Salt and pepper
  • Roasted red pepper, sliced into bite-sized strips*
  • 1 cup of rinsed, canned chickpeas
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of pesto (commercially prepared or make your own with basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic)


Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet, add the julienned parsnips and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 7 – 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.

When the parsnips are tender, add the red peppers and chickpeas and let cook until heated through. Stir in the pesto until everything is evenly coated.

* The night before, I roasted two red peppers, of which one burned to an absolute crisp. To make up for the pepper deficit, I supplemented with some stir-fried pepper strips, cooked until tender and a bit crispy on the edges.

Curious about my “Kitchen Castoffs” concept? Here’s the explainer describing my 100-day project.

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