This vegetarian parsnip pasta recipe will elevate your everyday dining experience! Al dente linguine is tossed with sautéed parsnips and parmesan cheese then topped with crispy breadcrumbs seasoned with thyme and garlic. And the best part? It comes together in just 30 minutes!
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When it comes time to prep dinner on cold evenings in January, I have only one thought—gimme all the comfort food! But, like, comfort food with veggies. This sentiment is precisely what inspired today’s parsnip pasta recipe.
Parsnips are an epic winter vegetable. They have a sweet taste and carrot-like texture. I especially like that they seem fancy, especially since they’re not as common as other root vegetables.
But in reality, they’re so versatile and easy to use in the kitchen. There’s no need to be intimated by parsnips! I wanted to use them in a basic pasta dish to showcase how you can incorporate them into a simple meal.
To bulk up the recipe, I tossed the pasta and parsnips with parmesan cheese and pasta water to create a sauce. Then, I added a crispy breadcrumb topping that will take you approximately 5 minutes to make while the pasta is cooking. See, comfort food with veggies is possible!
How to Make Parsnip Pasta
The full ingredients list and instructions for parsnip pasta appear in the recipe card at the end of the post (scroll down to get there). Here’s a preview of the process with step-by-step photos and expert tips.
- Prep the pasta and breadcrumbs. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook linguine until al dente. While you wait to put on the pasta, prep the breadcrumb topping. Sautee garlic, panko breadcrumbs, thyme, salt, and pepper in some olive oil in a skillet until lightly browned.
- Trim and scrub a few parsnips. Slice them into thin pieces.
- Cook the parsnips in a skillet with some olive oil until softened.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the parsnips. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Add splashes of pasta water to mix with the cheese and coat the pasta.
- Serve with the breadcrumbs. Enjoy!
- Use panko breadcrumbs (Japanese-style breadcrumbs) for the topping for best results. They get incredibly crispy! You can find them at nearly every grocery store and online.
- I like linguine for this recipe, but you can use any type of pasta. Tagliatelle, penne, or fettuccine would all work well. You can of course use gluten free pasta, too.
- When adding pasta water to the skillet, do so after you stir in the cheese. The purpose of adding the pasta water is to create a makeshift parmesan sauce that isn’t too dry and has some sheen. Be careful not to add too much water or else you risk water-logging the dish and clumping the cheese. Just add a few splashes at a time, stir well, and cook until it has all steamed off. Add more as needed to get the sauce to your desired consistency.
- If you need this dish to be strictly vegetarian, use parmesan cheese labeled as vegetarian such as the Whole Foods 365 brand.
- Parsnip pasta is best enjoyed right away, but it will keep. Leftovers will last for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet with some additional olive oil until warmed through.
More Pasta Recipes
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Parsnip Pasta with Garlic Thyme Breadcrumbs
- 8 ounces linguine - can sub other pasta of choice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - divided
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves - more for garnish
- Salt - to taste
- Pepper - to taste
- 4 cups thinly sliced parsnips - from about 3 to 4 parsnips
- ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese - freshly shaved for best results
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. I like to cook it about 2 minutes less than what's listed on the package. **Reserve a cup or more of pasta water before draining.**
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the breadcrumbs and parsnips. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Stir in the breadcrumbs and thyme leaves, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove the breadcrumbs from the skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, warm the rest of the olive oil. Add the thinly sliced parsnips and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 9 minutes until softened and slightly crispy.
- At this point, the pasta should be ready. Add the cooked and drained linguine to the skillet with the parsnips. Sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and stir to evenly distribute it. Add splashes of the pasta water and stir to thin the cheese coating and give the pasta some sheen. Only add a little bit at a time to avoid water-logging the dish and causing the cheese to clump.
- Spoon the pasta and parsnips into serving bowls. Top with the crispy breadcrumbs, garnish with more thyme or cheese if desired, and enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post).
- This dish is best enjoyed right away, but you could keep leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet with a little extra olive oil to loosen it up.
Happy pasta-eating! – Lizzie