Parsnip Pudding – Recipe No. 196

So when I saw this recipe for a strange wartime pudding made out of parsnips (no fat, no flour) I immediately thought of the fun and games I had creating mock banana sandwiches made out of parsnips. Knowing that I had 4 gnarly parsnips hiding under limp romaine lettuce in my salad drawer of the fridge, there was no doubt in my mind that now was the time to give it a go and of course taste test!

As I write this I’m waiting for the puddings to finish baking so will share my verdict right at the end. My thoughts are it won’t be unpleasant but it will likely be a strange taste and texture. The sort of dish that if you offered to unwitting friends or family members, they might comment “ooo this is unusual, it reminds me of something but I can’t quite put my finger on it”. I would of course reply, “ahh yes that will be because it’s fat free” and they would then add another spoonful to their bowl.

HONEST FINAL VERDICT: It tasted strange, I definitely wouldn’t give this to visitors unless I didn’t want them to come back again. At first a hard hit of parsnip quickly knocked on the head with chocolate and sweetness. It didn’t rise as I expected and with hindsight I put this down to not enough bicarbonate of soda and too much milk. The mixture was too sloppy. You can see from the photos and video what I mean. A spectacular aesthetic fail! Well a field full of cow pats complete and utter fail really! The things I do for Queen and country!

Here is the recipe!


  • 2 medium or 3 large peeled, chopped, well cooked, cold, mashed parsnips
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • a pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • up to 1/2 pint of warm milk
  • sugar, sweetener or golden syrup


Peel, chop, steam or boil the parsnips until well cooked and nice and soft.

Drain and run under cold water to hasten the cooling process

Mash the parsnips well then add in the cocoa (to you own taste but be warned it will taste bitter until you add in the sugar or syrup) and pinch of bicarbonate of soda.

Add in the syrup or sugar or sweetener to your own taste (which is when the cocoa no longer tastes too bitter and the parsnip isn’t overwhelming!). Mix well.

Add the warm milk bit by bit and mix well inbetween. Add enough so the mixture is smooth. (I used about 1/3rd of a pint of plant based milk and it was quite runny but from my final results I would say 1/4 of a pint would be better)

Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 180C

Serves 4.

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8 thoughts on “Parsnip Pudding – Recipe No. 196

    • Hi there, possibly, anything to cover the taste is probably a good idea haha! I love parsnips but not with chocolate xxxx Glad I tried it though, it tasted better before it was cooked that after! xxx

  1. Good for all those fine folks who managed to get food on the table under difficult circumstances. I’ll stick to roasted parsnips, or soup, or parsnips mashed with potatoes, though.

  2. Hi Carolyn, you will find that any spice will improve this but do try this recipe with beetroot (or pumpkin, potato, etc) as they mesh better with the cocoa than parsnips will. Also try replacing the cocoa with coffee & the parsnip with pumpkin (or carrots, potato, etc) to mesh with the coffee. Add chopped or flaked nuts, wholemeal breadcrumbs or pin head oatmeal on top for texture.

    • Yes I make a wicked chocolate mousse with avocado and it is delicious so some vegetables (or is avocado a fruit?) do work but was curious to try out this authentic wartime recipe to see how bad it was 😀 Haha! I bet pumpkin would work much better, parsnips, as much as I love them, just have that taste that isn’t easily disguised. Thanks for the tips xx

  3. Thank you for this! It is wonderful to see you posting again. I have a bag of parsnips in the frig that need to be used, and was excited to try this, but after seeing the reaction… I might just be making soup tomorrow. What are your favorite 1940s parsnip recipes, anyhow?

    Thank you!

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