Thanksgiving Side Dish Challenge: SC Honey Roasted Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes, and Apples

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

In a place centered around food, you can bet that the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center is overflowing with recipes and recipe ideas that are just waiting to be tried out and approved. Our own Sarah Butler, RD, challenged AEC Exercise Physiologist Mike Lagomarsine, MS, CSCS, USAW, to make Sargent Choice’s Honey Roasted Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes & Apples.

parsnips-close-diagImage Source

Before going any further, what exactly is a parsnip? A parsnip is a root vegetable in the same family as the carrot. The best way to describe a parsnip is as a pale, sweeter carrot. Like carrots parsnips can be eaten raw, but their flavor is strongest when cooked.

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Boston University’s Athletic Enhancement Center, Mike took this challenge head on. Some tips from Mike on making the recipe: he found that he cut some of the parsnips too big, so the larger cubes were still firm on the inside even after cooking. He recommends going with medium slices rather than large cubes for best results.

To make a full meal, Mike bought large cut chicken breasts that he then seasoned and baked on top of the parsnips:
I cooked the recipe for 15 minutes, and then added the chicken to the top, making a little bed with the parsnips, and cooked for another 35 minutes.
The chicken didn’t need any other marinating and it helped provide some more juice for the parsnips.
I added some pan roasted string beans that I just cooked with a little olive oil and lots of garlic.

So what was the verdict? According to Mike this recipe would be “a hit for Thanksgiving and you’ll feel good eating them instead of some of the higher fat options.”


Challenge completed and successful!
Thanks Mike!

Sargent Choice Honey Roasted Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes & Apples
Makes 4 servings


  • Cooking spray
  • ½ pound parsnips, peeled and cut into bite size cubes (about 1 ½ -2 cups)
  • 1 large unpeeled sweet potato, cut into bite size cubes (about 1 ½ – 2 cups)
  • 3 firm, sweet red delicious apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into bite size cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat medium casserole dish or baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Peel and cut parsnips into bite size cubes.  Cut sweet potato and apple into bite size cubes.
  4. Mix together in large mixing bowl.
  5. Combine honey and oil in microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 10 seconds until warm.  Mix soy sauce into the honey mixture. Pour sauce over vegetables and apples.  Toss to coat well.  Transfer mixture into prepared dish or baking sheet.  Bake for 45min-1hour, or until tender.

Serve warm.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1 cup serving)

Calories 180calories
Fat 4 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Protein 3 g
Carbohydrate 35 g
Fiber 5 g
Sodium 250 mg