Vegan Parsnip French Fry Kale Salad with Turmeric Cashew Dressing

Spiced parsnip fries over a bed of kale topped with bright pickled fennel and cucumber with a creamy cashew turmeric dressing

Parsnip French Fry Kale Salad with Turmeric Cashew Dressing

This is the first recipe of our 2017 meal planning menu series and we hope the produce and fiber rich ingredients list of the next few posts helps check the boxes off on your 'getting back into the swing of things' needs. We had a really relaxing, awesome break over the holiday season and did some heavy duty eating for sure. Ultimate example: We decided to bite the bullet and make reservations at The Inn at Little Washington just before Christmas. It's been a 'bucket list' restaurant for years for me. She's a two michelin star/one of the best restaurants in the region with many courses that pushed my boundaries (Veal tongue and horseradish ice cream. Don't knock it til' you try it). It was really, really good and on Instagram stories we even took a moment for Chris to explain his personal views on truffles (a wet potato chip that tastes like nothing).  

After that mega eating, we personally needed some easy salads and bowls in our lives. It's hard to get back into the swing of things after finally getting yourself to relax! And that's the beauty of bowls and salads: we know the importance of salad confetti (the ingredients that add color, texture, shapes etc). That's how we create all of our salad recipes. It's essential. It also makes it easy to try new winter produce.

Today's salad takes parsnips and makes them french-fry-ish and puts them on a kale salad with a creamy cashew dressing, paired with pickled veggies. You've got a base, a creamy dressing, some crunch and some spice. Check, check, check. 

Parsnip French Fry Kale Salad with Turmeric Cashew Dressing

While the parsnips do not get crispy-crispy like french fries, they kind of look like them right? They're also deliciously salty and spicy and meet my personal love of french fries on salad. Real thing. Parsnips in general need more love in our food lives. I'll be the first to admit Chris and I never buy them. I personally never ate a parsnip in my life before college. My Dad detests parsnips and he was the cook in the house. Therefore: no parsnips.

When they're raw and you peel them, they definitely have a strong scent. They're peppery and nutty and as someone who is still working on dealing with the power of peppery radishes it's not my favorite aroma. But as you roast them with this spice coating, parsnips will truly make you salivate. Honestly, truly, I was excited to eat parsnips. Because many of us aren't super familiar with parsnips in general, I thought we could take a second to just hit the high notes for nutrition. They've got high levels of potassium, manganese and magnesium as well as fiber. I won't even bother to go into kale nutrition because I'm pretty sure we're doing a bit of dead horse beating with that ingredient. 

Parsnip French Fry Kale Salad with Turmeric Cashew Dressing

For the pickles, it may sound odd, but trust us, they're important. Like, why not just chop fennel and cucumbers and throw them in with the salad dressing? BECAUSE PICKLES. Part of the greatness of pickles is the crisp they get with infused brightness and acid. We actually accounted for that acidic punch when we made the salad dressing: a creamy cashew base. If we were doing this dressing for another salad we would have upped the cider vinegar or lemon in the dressing ingredients. Not so here. Balance, remember? Having that punch of flavor and texture throughout the salad makes it crave-worthy vs. same-same-same throughout. 

The salad dressing is definitely not a new concept. In fact, when we made cashew milk in this tea recipe  it's basically the same concept. Soak cashews and blend to create something creamy. 

Parsnip French Fry Kale Salad with Turmeric Cashew Dressing
Parsnip French Fry Kale Salad with Turmeric Cashew Dressing

Vegan Parsnip French Fry Kale Salad with Turmeric Cashew Dressing

serves 2 entreé salads

/// Ingredients ///


  • 2 large, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon evoo
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt


  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3/4 cup raw whole cashews
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar


  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 small english cucumber, chopped (roughly 1 cup)


  • 2.5 cups shredded tuscan/dino kale
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro and parsley

/// Directions /// To make dressing soak cashews in a bowl with water to cover for an hour. Drain the water. Add cashews to blender with remaining dressing ingredients except turmeric and puree until smooth with body. Put in a bowl and stir in turmeric to avoid any stains.

To make pickles cut fennel and cucumber. In a bowl mix remaining ingredients and pour over fennel and cucumber. Toss to combine. Refrigerate until salad is ready.

To make parsnips, peel and cut parsnips. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and spices to coat. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place parsnips on foil lined baking sheet. Flip occasionally. Cook for 30 minutes. 

Chiffonade kale. Build salad with kale base topped with pickles and parsnips and drizzle with dressing. 

Parsnip French Fry Kale Salad with Turmeric Cashew Dressing

Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.