(Roasted too many) Parsnip Macaroni Cheese

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Macaroni Cheese

Leftover roast parsnips can be tricky to use up, I think, because the texture can be off-putting.  I know I hate leftover roast potatoes and have to really disguise the flavour. Roast parsnips are similar, because they are high in starch.

This genius idea was inspired by the amazing Jack Monroe.  Her latest book (well, not including the almost-published tin-can lovely) provided the inspo for this recipe.  Mashing up your leftover roast parsnips well … it uses them.  You can’t really taste them.  And sometimes, especially if you feed picky eater (young AND old), this is A Good Thing.

If you have a lot of people to feed on a budget, then this is a cracker of a recipe.  It freezes well, too – so if you’ve got parsnips to use up, but no time to eat them, this dish is for you.

Not got cheddar?  Just use 100 grams of whatever you’ve got and you like.  Emmental and stilton?  Cheddar and Lancashire?  Talleggio and Pecorino?  Use around 100g and enjoy.

Making a white sauce is too much for some people, so use a ready made one; if you can be arsed to try to learn then all power to you.  You’ll save money, so much money.  Just don’t walk away from the pan half way through cooking. Ahem.  Burnt on white-sauce is the devil’s own job to clean off.  That is when you need a wallpaper scraper and wire wool.  I once got huge kudos/horror from a writer for walking away from a bubbling white sauce; he was right.

Adding sweetcorn or peas is totally optional but I like the bite and texture against the creamy sauce and soft pasta.  And use any pasta, esp if you have 4 bags of a few random shapes. Random pasta, random veg and random cheese: this is thrifty, leftover busting cooking at its finest.

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Macaroni Cheese

Adapted from Jack Monroe, ‘Cooking on a Bootstrap’ p112
Serves 3-4


50 grams leftover roasted parsnips
90 grams plain flour
50 grams butter/oil
350 ml milk/milk mixed with veg stock and leftover gravy from your roast
Salt & pepper
100 grams strong cheese, grated – this can be plain old lovely cheddar, or a mix of cheeses from the depths of your fridge
160 grams of pasta
100 grams sweetcorn (optional)


Saucepan with lid
Balloon whisk
Immersion blender and bowl
Serving bowl
Heatproof jug


About half an hour


Place the parsnips into the bowl of your immersion blender and pulse until smooth
You’re likely to need around 50ml of the milk/milk & stock mixture to make it into mash
If you’re using frozen sweetcorn, leave it out to defrost, or drain if using tinned *


Place a saucepan on the hob and, if you’re using butter, melt it
Add the flour and, using the balloon whisk or a fork, mix it in
Splash in about 50ml of the milk and make a thick paste
Keep on adding around 50ml of milk, whisking until all the flour/butter mixture is combined
Season like Jeremy Lee on MasterChef
Bring gently to the boil and, once it’s popping gently, turn the heat down and stir occasionally for 5 minutes


Put your pasta water on
When the water is boiling add salt and then the pasta
Put the pinger on for 5 minutes fewer than the packet directs
After the 5 minutes popping on the cheese sauce are up, add the cheese and mashed parsnips

Finishing it off…

When the pasta pinger goes off, save a a small jug of pasta water (around 50-80 millilitres) in your heatproof jug/little bowl
Try the pasta – you want it a little underdone because it’s going to cook with the cheese sauce
When it’s ready (that is, with quite a bit of bite/still raw in the middle), strain the pasta in the waiting colander
While the pasta is draining, take the sweetcorn and stir it into the sauce
Stir the pasta into the pan with the sauce
If the cheese sauce looks too thick, pour in about a tablespoon (15ml) of pasta water and some salt and pepper; if the sauce is still too thick you can add some more. Discard the pasta water when you’re happy with the consistency

Serve alone or as a side dish

Storage/further meals

Allow to cool to room temperature then cover
Parsnips can keep to up to 5 days in your fridge
If your parsnips were 1 day old when you made this, you can keep this macaroni cheese for up to 4 days
If they were more like 4 days old, either eat straight away, or freeze when room temperature
Eat within 3 months of freezing

  • You can freeze sweetcorn: take a baking tray and line it with greaseproof paper
  • place the sweetcorn in one layer
  • cover the tray and place it in the freezer
  • when it’s frozen, tip the sweetcorn into a bag and use it as you would use ‘normal’ frozen sweetcorn

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:


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