Roast up these two root vegetables, beets and parsnips, for an easy and nutritious side dish to serve with a holiday meal or weeknight dinner. This recipe calls for simple ingredients, and is ready to eat in under an hour.

Hands holding a bowl of roasted beets and parsnips

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and as a Registered Dietitian, I get excited each year about different nutritious side dishes I can prepare. Some of the most delicious produce is in season right now, like Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, winter squashes, and root vegetables.

In this recipe, root vegetables beets and parsnips are simply roasted and topped with toasted pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, for a little crunch. It’s a vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and nut free side dish that serves about four people.

What are root vegetables?

Root vegetables are edible plant parts that grow underground. This vegetable group includes onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, and more. Some root vegetables are true roots of a plant, while others are different parts of the plant that are still edible.

Root vegetables are quite nutritious, and contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. My favorite way to prepare root vegetables is simply roasting them, which brings out their naturally sweet flavors and gives them a soft, forkable texture.

What do parsnips taste like?

If you’ve seen parsnips at the store or farmer’s market, you know they are a long and tapered root vegetable. They look similar to carrots, but have a white, creamy color.

Parsnips have a nutty, earthy, and starchy taste. They have a mild sweetness to them, with a little bit of peppery, bitter flavor as well. When roasted, their sweet flavor becomes even more pronounced.

Ingredients in roasted beets and parsnips

Here is everything you need to make this roasted root vegetable recipe:

  • Beets
  • Parsnips
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Pepitas

Ingredient substitution suggestions

  • You can swap our beets or parsnips for other root vegetables, or add in more to the mix! This recipe would be great with carrots or sweet potato. Note that cooking time may vary slightly depending on what root vegetables you use.
  • Add crumbled goat cheese or feta for an added flavor boost (note recipe will not be vegan or dairy free).
  • Use toasted walnuts, pistachios, or sliced almonds in place of pepitas (note recipe will not be nut free).
  • Add a homemade sauce or dressing to add a big punch of flavor.

Recommended kitchen equipment

You’ll need a few basic kitchen tools for this recipe, including a baking sheet, parchment paper, chef’s knife, and vegetable peeler.

Roasted beets and parsnips on a parchment paper linked baking tray

How to roast beets and parsnips

  1. Peel the beets and parsnips to get rid of the outer skin and blemishes.
  2. Cut the beets into wedges. Cut parsnips in half lengthwise, then in half or in thirds, depending on thickness.
  3. Put beets and parsnips into separate mixing bowls, and toss them each with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. This helps prevent the root vegetables from sticking to the pan in the oven.
  5. Spread out just the beets in an even layer on the baking sheet. The beets take longer to roast, so we start them first. Roast for about 25 minutes.
  6. Remove the baking tray and push the beets to one half. Then put the parsnips on the other half of the baking tray.
  7. Top with several sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary.
  8. Continue to cook until beets and parsnips are fork tender with a nice golden brown forming on the outside.
  9. Toast pepitas in a nonstick skillet for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until they begin to brown a little.
  10. Transfer beets and parsnips to serving bowl and sprinkle with toasted pepitas. Drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of salt.
Bowl of roasted beets and parsnips with small bowl of pepitas and bundle of fresh thyme

Beets nutrition benefits

Beets are a nutrition powerhouse! One cup of raw beets provides:

  • 3.8 grams of dietary fiber (14 percent of your daily needs)
  • 148.24 mcg folate (37 percent of your daily needs)
  • 0.102 mg copper (11 percent of your daily needs)
  • 0.447 mg manganese (19 percent of your daily needs)

Beets are also a source of potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, and Vitamin C. In addition to micronutrients, beets contain compounds called nitrates. The body converts these nitrates into nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and blood pressure levels.

Beets are also rich in antioxidants, which have health benefits and help to keep our cells healthy.

Parsnips nutrition benefits

Parsnips are a very nutritious food to include in your diet. One cup of raw parsnips provides:

  • 6.5 grams of dietary fiber (23 percent of your daily needs)
  • 499 mg potassium (11 percent of your daily needs)
  • 22.6 mg Vitamin C (25 percent of your daily needs)
  • 29.9 mcg Vitamin K (25 percent of your daily needs)
  • 0.160 mg copper (18 percent of your daily needs)
  • 0.745 mg manganese (32 percent of your daily needs)

Parsnips are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Both types of fiber are important to consume, but insoluble fiber may provide heart health benefits. Eating 5-10 grams of insoluble fiber a day may help to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.

Bowl of roasted beets and parsnips with small bowl of pepitas

Serving suggestions

These roasted beets and parsnips would be a great addition to any fall or winter holiday table! Or, prepare them as a side to one of your favorite weeknight dinners. This dish would be excellent with:

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

Print

Roasted Beets and Parsnips with Pepitas

Roast up these two root vegetables, beets and parsnips, for an easy and nutritious side dish to serve with a holiday meal or weeknight dinner. This recipe calls for simple ingredients, and is ready to eat in under an hour.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 large beets
  • 4 large parsnips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, divided
  • 10 sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 2 tbsp pepitas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Wash and peel the beets and parsnips.
  3. Place beets and parsnips in two separate mixing bowls. Toss each of them with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper.
  4. Spread out beets onto the lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
  5. Remove the beets after 25 minutes and push them to one half of the baking sheet with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add the parsnips to the other half and scatter the fresh thyme sprigs on top of the vegetables.
  7. Roast for another 35-40 minutes until beets and parsnips are fork tender, and parsnips are a nice golden brown.
  8. While the vegetables roast, toast the pepitas on the stovetop. Place them in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally until they start to brown and become fragrant. Remove from heat.
  9. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and top with pepitas, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt.

Notes

Ingredient substitution suggestions

  • You can swap our beets or parsnips for other root vegetables, or add in more to the mix! This recipe would be great with carrots or sweet potato. Note that cooking time may vary slightly depending on what root vegetables you use.
  • Add crumbled goat cheese or feta for an added flavor boost (note recipe will not be vegan or dairy free).
  • Use toasted walnuts, pistachios, or sliced almonds in place of pepitas (note recipe will not be nut free).
  • Add a homemade sauce or dressing to add a big punch of flavor.

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Hands holding a bowl of roasted beets and parsnips