Pastinake not pasta [Parsnip Lasagna]

Sometimes I wonder what the blog world has done to me – or more precisely my mind when it comes to recupe creating. But to let you in on my thoughts a little more I’ll begin at the beginning, okay? In an effort to use up as much produce as possible [sounds familiar 😉 ?] before leaving for my grandparents’ house for Christmas I had to come up with some meals to use them in. My initial idea was a vegetable lasagna simply chopping up every vegetable in sight and add it to the sauce part of the dish.


But when I started rummaging through my impressive vegetable stash I realized a sauce could only host so many veggies until becoming a stew. Add in that I didn’t have any lasagna sheets at hand and spaghetti [the only kind of pasta I did have] just wouldn’t have quenched my cravings. Spotting some of my favourite winter vegtables – parsnips – my mind quickly changed into strange but good mode and got spinning.


Thinking about it maybe it’s not just Laura’s influence on my recipe creations but also the name of the vegetable itself. Pastinaken as they are called in German sounds similar enough to pasta[-naken], no? Yes, totally not what I thought initially but it came to mind when I took the first bites and laughed at myself for not trying it any earlier. Parsnips as a sub for the pasta layers: why not?*

* here’s to hoping I either don’t have any Italian readers or – preferably – none that will get mad at me for daring to present a pasta-less lasagna. Dear Italians: I like pasta [almost] as much as you, promise.


You’ll notice this recipe – unlike my others – is not vegan. That’s because I still consider myself a vegan with benefits and couldn’t pass up the cottage cheese when it was on special offer recently. Yet another impulse purchase with no idea on how to use it in mind. Some things will never change. However, I’d seen recipe for cottage cheese lasagna before and got curious.

Cottage cheese

The verdict: Pretty good. The cheese added a unique and very interesting texture – and you know that’s a key criterion for me – as well as creaminess to the dish without being too heavy like other kinds of cheese or bechamel sauce – and way faster [hello, impatience]!  Give it a try if you haven’t yet. And parsnips as ‘lasagna sheets’? Awesome. Flavourful. And once more an exciting texture element. That’s all I have to say.

Parsnip Cottage Cheese Lasagna


  • 200 g carrots, chopped into half-moons
  • 150 g zucchini [a small to medium one]
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • about a 1/4 tsp each smoked paprika, oregano, thyme [season to taste]
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped or onion powder
  • salt + pepper
  • 150 g passata [a scant 3/4 cup]
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1 small parsnip [100 g], sliced thinly into rounds
  • 100 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 115 g (1/2 cup) cottage cheese, mixed with 1/4 tsp dried basil
  1.  For the sauce: If using fresh onion [recommended] sauté in a small sauce pan until translucent. Add the carrots and sauté covered for about 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini and spices [onion powder if using it, too], stir-frying so the zucchini and carrots get browned a little.
  2. Pour in the passata and mix in the chickpeas.
  3. To assemble: Layer mushrooms into the bottom of a casserole dish. Add a layer of sauce. Top with about half of the cottage cheese.
  4. Layer parsnips on top. Cover with the remaining sauce and cottage cheese. It’s important to end with tomato sauce to avoid burning/drying out the cottage cheese.
  5. Bake covered for about 25 minutes at 350 °F.


Trust me when I say this one’s not too strange to appeal to ‘normal’ eaters, either. Just maybe don’t call it lasagna but simply parsnip bake in that case. Or do however you like – because who’s listening to recommendations in anyway? I recommend, however, that you take a look at some more recipe inspiration over at Kierston’s and Laura’s for some more food fun on this fine Friday*.

* my fondness of alliterations is a well-known fact by now and I’m okay with that.

Happiness inducing today: A rainy weather run after two rest days over Christmas.

Are you a fan of parnips? What’s your favourite way to use them? Have you ever tried cottage cheese in lasagna?

16 thoughts on “Pastinake not pasta [Parsnip Lasagna]

  1. Laura says:

    I LOVE parsnips but have never thought of using them for anything aside from roasted parsnip fries. The creative wheels in my brain are definitely turning now!

  2. Danielle @LabelsAreForTinCans says:

    I never would have thought to use parsnips in lasagna! Great idea. And don’t worry – I’m not Italian! Haha

  3. alex@vegginout says:

    This is so creative!! I absolutely love LOVE parsnips so this just sounds too good! I usually just roast them or use them in our Christmas veggie dish. But this looks like another amazing way to use them! Oh and alliterations are awesome, and I love yours. 🙂

  4. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli says:

    Way to think outside the box, lady! Such a great idea! I love parsnips but really don’t buy them enough. And now that you’ve got me thinking Italian and parsnips, I’m wondering how a parsnip gnocci might work? Hmmm…with emphasis on the “mmm”! 😉

    And I’m sorry, but there is just something so wrong about a vegan lasagna…glad you used your “noodle” and went with the cheese! 😉

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      “glad you used your “noodle” and went with the cheese! 😉 “ <- And that's why I appreciate your comments so much 😀 ! Granted, though, there are some pretty good vegan lasagna recipes out there. Trust me, one day we'll meet and prepare an out-of-this-world vegan lasagna. And parsnip gnocchi? That's an awesome idea!

  5. Cat says:

    I’m not sure what I prefer – alliterations or parsnips… this post has both! Love the look of this – comfort food that won’t pin you to the couch!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Both parsnips and alliterations are pretty awesome so it’s a hard decision. If I absolutely had to pick one I’d go with the latter because I can use them all year instead of just seasonally ;).

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