Forget potatoes: The natural buttery sweetness of these delicious parsnip fries pairs beautifully with the exotic spiciness of a harissa mayo. Frying them in tallow—high in conjugated linoleum acid, or CLA—gives them a golden, crunchy exterior.
As you know, I’m a big fan of saturated fats—I think we NEED them in our diet for optimal health. Saturated fats aid calcium absorption and bone health, protect your liver, support strong lungs and play a critical role in cognition and nerve communication. Basically, if you don’t have enough saturated fat in your diet, you can’t feel your very best and these fries are the perfect way to get more of it into your diet!
Maybe you’re familiar with lard and coconut oil, but I wanted to share this recipe because it features a lesser-known saturated fat that I love to cook with: Tallow. Tallow is rendered beef fat, and it’s incredibly versatile and nutritious—plus it has a nice, mild flavor.
I choose grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free tallow, which can definitely get a bit pricy (which is why I get tallow coconut oil, coconut manna and lard from Thrive Market). They offer many of the products I use every day at a discounted price. For instance, in this recipe I used Fatworks Tallow, which would be around $17 a jar at a regular health food store. Since I use a lot of this stuff, I get mine from Thrive Market, where I save more than $3 per jar, and it’s delivered to my front door.
Back to the fries… Beyond the awesome health benefits, tallow makes these parsnip fries crisp and delicious. Parsnips are not typically a kid and family favorite, but when cooked this way, these are inexpensive and delicious.
With kids, sauces are like magic- they get kids to love foods they normally wouldn’t like. We never eat vegetable oils, so store bought mayo is out, but homemade mayo or healthy pre-made mayo (this is the only one I’ve found) is an awesome alternative. .
Sriracha is popular these days, but when it comes to versatile spicy condiments, harissa reigns supreme. Though traditional recipes for this North African spice blend vary from region to region, all versions share a deep, earthy flavor. This recipe combines harissa’s aromatic warmth with the rich, creamy mayonnaise to create a perfectly balanced dip.
Parsnip Fries with Harissa Mayo
- For the Fries:
- 2 1/2 lbs parsnips
- 1 quart grass fed tallow
- sea salt
- smoked paprika
- For the Mayo:
- 1/2 cup packed fire-roasted roasted red peppers, patted dry
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- generous pinch of salt
- Begin by peeling parsnips, then cut them lengthwise into sticks. Put the fries into a large bowl of cold water and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
- Heat the tallow in a heavy bottomed pot to 325F or to when the oil bubbles around the handle of a wooden spoon. Careful, it’s hot! Drain and pat dry the fries with a paper towel.
- Work in batches to fry parsnips until they turn light gold in color, around 3 - 4 minutes. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. When all the parsnips have been fried a first time around, increase the heat to 375F. This second time around allows the fries to get perfectly crispy.
- Fry the parsnips again, in batches, for around 3 - 4 minutes until they reach a beautiful golden brown color. Remove from oil, drain on a paper towel, and season immediately with sea salt and smoked paprika. Snack, savor, and enjoy hot with the harissa mayo.
- To make the Mayo:
- Combine the red peppers, garlic, tomato paste, and spices in the bowl of a small food processor. Blitz until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and store in the refrigerator.
What are you tricks for getting your children to love unusual vegetables? Please share below!