Parsnip Lobster Rolls

Swap lobster for parsnips and you get a vegan version of the classic lobster roll from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book "Fake Meat: Real Food for Vegan Appetites."

Parsnip Lobster Rolls

Justin Limoges

Don’t tell this sandwich, but it was an accident. One summer, at the restaurant, I made some parsnip potato salad. It turned out delicious but the title was misleading; it wasn’t simply potato salad with parsnips. It was something more. Trying to put our finger on it, we had a eureka moment: “Lobster roll!” We studded it with capers for brininess and a dash of kelp powder for fishiness and the Parsnip Lobster Roll was born. The parsnips are roasted, but not overcooked, so you get a nice snappy bite. It’s all tossed together with mayo and fresh lemon juice, then served in buttered, toasted hot dog buns and sprinkled with a little paprika for that lobster color. How would this version play out in Maine? Queue a Stephen King miniseries and let me know!

Reprinted from the new book Fake Meat: Real Food for Vegan Appetites by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Text copyright (c) 2023 by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Photograph on page 30 copyright (c) Justin Limoges. Published by Abrams.

Parsnip Lobster Rolls

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Yield 4 to 6 sandwiches

Parsnips can vary in size and have thin, spindly bottoms, so don’t expect to make perfectly even cuts. As for the spindly end, just slice it off where the thicker part begins. If your parsnip is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in circumference, simply slice it on a bias into 1 1/2-inch (4 cm) chunks. If it’s much thicker than that, slice it in half lengthwise, then on a bias. 

Kelp powder comes in cute convenient shakers, usually with a picture of a wave on it so you get a little art for your spice rack. You can also replace it with ground nori. Just make sure the nori sheets are lightly toasted and completely dry so it doesn’t gunk up your food processor

Split-top hot dog buns can be hard to find, so if you have to use regular hot dogs buns, I’m not mad at you.


For the roasted parsnips:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 pounds (910g) parsnips, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch (4 cm) chunks (see Recipe Note)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegan mayo, prepared or homemade

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon kelp powder

  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

  • 1/3 cup (15g) chives, thinly sliced chives, plus extra for garnish

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

For assembly:

  • Large split-top hot dog buns

  • Vegan butter, softened

  • Sweet paprika

  • 1/4 cup (11 g) thickly sliced chives


  1. Roast the parsnips: 

    Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Drizzle the olive oil, salt, and pepper on the baking pan. Toss the parsnips in the oil to coat. Bake for about 20 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the parsnips are tender inside and golden brown in some spots. Let cool.

  2. Make the dressing and assemble the salad:

    In a large mixing bowl, stir together the mayo, lemon juice, kelp powder, capers, chives, and salt. Fold in the celery and the cooled parsnips. Chill the salad for about 20 minutes.

  3. Toast the buns:

    Preheat a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat. Butter the outside of each hot dog bun. Place them in the skillet and toast until golden brown, about 2 minutes for each side.

  4. Assemble:

    Fill the buns with salad. Sprinkle with paprika and additional chives. Serve with plenty of napkins.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
406 Calories
18g Fat
56g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 406
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 840mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 26mg 128%
Calcium 160mg 12%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 690mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.