Parsnip, cheese & pasta bake

I got two massive parsnips in my organic veg box, and spent days considering what to do with them. They really were whoppers – one was about a foot long! – and weighed in at about 200g each. I considered making parsnip soup, but DH isn’t a big soup fan. And I thought about roasting them, but I thought they might be a bit too big and woody to really shine in a dish of roasted veggies.

I had a think about flavours that would work well with a parsnip or two. These included curry spices, thyme, garlic, mustard, honey, maple syrup, smoky flavours, hard cheese, apples and coconut. TOO MUCH CHOICE! Oh, indecision…

In the end, I needed to get dinner on the table. We’d had potatoes the previous night, and rice the night before, so I reached for the pasta. I mentally skimmed through the ‘flavours’ list and picked garlic, mustard and cheese. And then, I made this delicious parsnip & pasta dish 🙂

If you’re the sort of person who likes to hide vegetables in unexpected places, this is for you. The sauce is thick, creamy, cheesy and delicious. I thought it tasted of parsnips in quite an obvious way, but having identified the cheese, mustard etc, DH couldn’t guess what my ‘secret ingredient’ was. He insisted that I include parsnip in the name of the recipe, so that no-one would be duped into eating cheesy pasta, only to discover they’d consumed a big plate of delicious root vegetables too.

Kipper meanwhile ate a huge bowl of cheesy parsnip pasta bake and even asked for seconds. She is a big fan of macaroni cheese, so it wasn’t a big surprise. Parsnip-y goodness. Yum.

A further advantage of this parsnip sauce (apart from being utterly delicious and containing a portion of vegetables) is that it’s also gluten-free. Obviously the pasta isn’t, but if you wanted a wheat/gluten-free cheesy sauce for something else, I think this would be a great option.

This made enough for 2 adults, a child, and a portion leftover for lunch. I’d say 3-4. It’s quite saucy, so you can easily add more pasta to bulk it out if you need to feed more people.

cheesy parsnip & pasta bake

Parsnip, cheese & pasta bake
Serves 3
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
572 calories
75 g
61 g
21 g
21 g
13 g
344 g
346 g
13 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 572
Calories from Fat 186
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g
Saturated Fat 13g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 61mg
Sodium 346mg
Total Carbohydrates 75g
Dietary Fiber 9g
Sugars 13g
Protein 21g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 400g parsnips
  2. 6 cloves garlic
  3. 175g short pasta
  4. 300ml milk
  5. 25g butter
  6. 1 tsp English mustard
  7. 100g grated cheddar
  8. Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Peel the parsnips and cut into chunks. Peel the garlic cloves. Put the parsnips and garlic into a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet. Drain and set aside.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  4. Puree the drained parsnips and garlic in a food processor together with the milk, butter, mustard and 50g of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix the drained pasta with the parsnip sauce and pour into a baking dish. Scatter over the remaining 50g cheese.
  6. Cook under the hot grill for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden and everything is bubbling hot.
cheesy parsnip & pasta bake


Since it contains a load of yummy parsnips in what would otherwise just be pasta & cheese, I’m entering this parsnip pasta bake into the Extra Veg challenge, organised by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy.
November’s ‘The Vegetable Palette’ colour is white – parsnips! The challenge is organised by A2K – A Seasonal Veg Table and is full of lovely seasonal vegetarian recipes.
Since the parsnips came from our local organic veg box, supplied by the Cambridge Organic Food Company, I’m also entering this in the to Shop Local challenge, hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.
Finally, since this is a very autumnal dish, I’m putting it forward for Simple and in Season, hosted this month by Feeding Boys, and organised by Ren at

  Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary  


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  4. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours

    A very belated thank you for sending this into #ExtraVeg. Wonderful idea for using parsnips up.

  5. Lovely to make your acquaintance through Vegetable Palette, I love pasta bakes but have never ever made it with parsnips, very interesting and I am kinda curious about it too, I make a lot of cakes with it, but don’t enjoy it so much as a savoury veg, but if you husband could not detect the sweetness of the root veg, then I am tempted by it.

    • Thanks Shaheen. I hadn’t used parsnip like this before, but I will definitely be doing it again! I could certainly taste the parsnip, even if DH couldn’t identify it, but it was delicious and very creamy. I think this may come down to personal preference – I’ve never really got on with root veg in cakes, with the exception of the (very) occasional carrot. Perhaps we should both venture out of our comfort zones 🙂

  6. What a super recipe! Proper comfort food, this! Thank you for sharing with Shop Local 🙂

  7. Pure comfort food – lush! What a great idea for sneaking some root veggies into a meal. I’ve managed to get cauliflower into macaroni cheese, but will def have to try your spin. Thanks for hooking up with this month’s round of Simple and in Season.

  8. I was going to buy parsnips this weekend but then changed my mind which now I’m regretting. I’m absolutely going to try this the next time I need to use some parsnips up after making a stew. Very creative =)

    • Thanks Laura. Parsnips are a thing I would probably never buy either, so it’s great when I get them in my veg box! It forces me to make delicious things like this 🙂

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