9 January 2012

Lentil and parsnip salad

This salad or assemblage is a rather nice combination of flavours which put me a bit in mind of an Ottolenghi recipe (well, perhaps a simplified one). Nothing too fancy, and lots of big, hearty flavours which come together nicely under a robust dressing.

  • stuff for a strong dressing: olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon juice, a touch of raw garlic
  • parsnips
  • puy lentils
  • chilli flakes and mint
  • cherry tomatoes, other nice salad veg

First things first: chop the parsnips, dress with olive oil, dust with chilli flakes, season and roast on a medium heat for about half an hour. You want them to be very well done - the beauty of the parsnip lies in its sweetness and the sugar can not be well appreciated in an underdone root. Meantime put the lentils on and cook until al dente.

Whilst the main bits are cooking make the dressing directly in a big serving bowl. This saves on messing around with a smaller jar or other vessel. I have suggested ingredients above but anything robust is good. Steer towards a middle eastern vibe with sherry vinegar, pomegranate molasses, preserved lemons etc. rather than a French style, mustard based vinaigrette.

When the parsnips and lentils are done to your liking chuck into the bowl and finish the salad with some nice raw salad veg and herbs. I went for cherry tomatoes and mint. Also nice would be something crunchy like raw fennel, white cabbage or celery or something green and irony like blanched spinach or cavolo nero. Taste and finish off by adding salt, pepper, chilli flakes or any other dressing ingredients as you see fit.

This would be a lovely side dish to have with some grilled chicken, lamb or fish. It's pretty filling with the lentils in. At most you might need a scrap of Turkish bread - excellent with a smoky lamb kebabs and some good red wine I'd imagine. As it happened we had a vegetarian friendly version with a fried egg of top. Let me know if you try it!


  1. This salad looks gorgeous - I love roasted parsnip and lentils.

  2. I like the use of lentils as a base for salad! And ooh, that egg does look good in the last shot.

  3. Thanks for you comments crew. Lentils are pretty fantastic for a base as they are filling. Very nice with smoked mackerel too.