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Parsnip Fries with Harissa Mayo

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Parsnip Fries with harissa Mayo
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Parsnip Fries with Harissa Mayo

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, which is high in conjugated linoleic 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 pricey, 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. By buying it from Thrive Market 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, dipping 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

Parsnip Fries with Harissa Mayo Recipe

Buttery, crunchy parsnip fries with a homemade harissa mayo dipping sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Calories 542kcal
Author Katie Wells


4 servings


For the Fries:

For the Mayo:


To make the fries:

  • Peel the parsnips and cut them lengthwise into fry-sized 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 325°F or until 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, increase the heat to 375°F and fry them in batches a second time. This allows the fries to get perfectly crispy.
  • 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 a small food processor.
  • Blitz until smooth.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and mayonnaise.
  • Season to taste with salt and store in the refrigerator.


Nutrition Facts
Parsnip Fries with Harissa Mayo Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 542 Calories from Fat 412
% Daily Value*
Fat 45.8g70%
Saturated Fat 20.2g126%
Cholesterol 47mg16%
Sodium 1338mg58%
Carbohydrates 32.8g11%
Fiber 7.7g32%
Sugar 9.6g11%
Protein 2.6g5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


You could also make your own mayo from scratch!
Don’t throw out your tallow — you can use it a few times.

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What are you tricks for getting your children to love unusual vegetables? Please share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


24 responses to “Parsnip Fries with Harissa Mayo”

  1. brend williams Avatar
    brend williams

    just joined a few minutes ago has anybody tried the parsnips in an air fryer have some I need to use

  2. Mary Avatar

    I appreciate Jake’s concern about oxidized cholesterol. Correct me if I’m wrong, though, my understanding is that saturated fats are quite stable (all the hydrogen bonds are ‘saturated’), and it’s the vegetable oils that go rancid readily, either prior to being consumed, or even after one consumes them. As far as cholesterol goes, I think the correct understanding of the problem is just as Jake says, oxidized cholesterol, but that cholesterol itself is quite needed in the body (for the cell wall of each and every cell to function correctly, for hormone production, for the brain, etc.). A healthy high level of antioxidant rich foods (eat your veggies, fruits, but not too many, etc.!) helps to decrease oxidation, again, if I understand correctly.

  3. christie Avatar

    Would like to try the fried parsnips. Why do you put them in water for at least an hour? Does this have something to do with making them crispy after frying?
    Thanks so much.

  4. Jeanne Avatar

    I don’t really understand how parsnips & other root vegies can be healthier than potatoes. New to Paleo.

    1. Shannon Avatar

      5 stars
      Parsnips provide about 4x more fiber than a potato. They also have a high content rate of energizing carbohydrates and natural sugars.
      Potatoes are a reasonable source of vitamin C and a good supplier of vitamin B1(which is essential for cells to make energy.) They are also very rich in starch.
      I think they are both rich in different aspects, so I wouldn’t say potatoes are unhealthy.

  5. Elizabeth Avatar

    Hi Katie. I’m curious about the nightshades in your recipe as I know you have autoimmunity. Do you eat nightshades? I have systemic Lupus and possibly Hashimoto ( have been hypothyroid for many years and last blood test was low positive for Hashi). I have read many places that nightshades are bad for autoimmunity so I have eliminated them from my diet. I really miss them though, and your recipe above looks delicious. Curious what your doctor says about nightshades and autoimmunity. Has he told you they are ok?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I avoided them for a really long time as my body healed and now I can tolerate them once in a while. I think it really depends on the individual, but my doctor said he doesn’t think anyone should have to avoid them longterm unless there is a sensitivity

  6. Anne Avatar

    The sauce sounds so yummy!
    My family loves the paleo mayo from Thrive market too. However I have an egg allergy and I read that you no longer eat eggs. Any subs or recipe for an egg free mayo? I miss it!
    Thank you!

  7. Jake Avatar

    I render tallow from grass-fed cows, and it has a very strong, beefy flavor. Plus, the cholesterol in. Animal fats oxidizes easily at fairly low temps you can get n a stovetop. Eating oxidized cholesterol is generally recognized to be quite harmful. If you want to fry foods, use either *high-oleic* sunflower or safflower oil, which are high in mono-saturated fats, low in inflammatory polyunsaturated fats, and have a smoke point suitable for frying.

    1. Ashley Nelson Avatar
      Ashley Nelson

      Thank you, I’m glad to see an alternative to using the beef tallow as I am a vegetarian. Looking forward to trying this recipe!

  8. Christina Avatar

    hmm… so I shouldn’t throw out the chicken fat when I make bone broth?

  9. Taylor Avatar

    I have the same question as Lisa – do you reuse the oil after deep frying and if so, how many times can you reuse it? Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Linette Avatar

    Looks like a yummy recipe!!! I see that you recommend the Iodized Sea Salt, being slightly new to paleo it is a bit confusing as to whether it is a good idea to use the iodized sea salt versus himalayan or another. Any clarification on this would be greatly appreciated ; )

  11. Sarah Avatar

    Hey Katie,

    I love making fries like this! There is nothing like it! However, I still find it to be expensive to use that much tallow or lard for just a few potatoes. Do you reuse your oil? It’s a shame, because that is the only drawback for me. This is why it is once in a blue moon that I make it. I think it is cheaper for me to render my own fat than to buy it even on Thrive. Do you have a method of making fries crispy without using so much fat?


  12. Shannon Avatar

    Could you use coconut oil instead? Also, I thought you used tropical traditions to buy your coconut oil from. That is why I started buying it from there. Is there a reason you switched? Is that not good coconut oil?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I am sure you could use coconut oil, I just wanted something savory. And I still do buy from tropical traditions, but Thrive Market is also great and is less expensive for small quantities, and I recognize that not everyone wants to buy 5-gallons buckets of the stuff at a time.

  13. Lisa Avatar

    These sounds really good! Can you reuse the Tallow the next time you make them? The tallow makes them expensive to make if I can’t reuse it.

  14. Cynthia Avatar

    5 stars
    Oh I’m excited about this recipe! In trying to develop a permaculture, i have been trying to diversify calorie crops, so I planted parsnips this year. Katie, is would you say the harissa mayo is mild, medium or hot?

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