I’ve been making this dish a lot this autumn, it’s perfectly seasonal now but is actually great right through the winter months as you should be able to get local parsnips, kale and apples until spring. I really love parsnips and I think they tend to be a bit underrated and underused, often only appearing as a side to roast dinners. Parsnips are excellent over the winter months but you can buy locally grown (or at least British) almost the whole year.
I’ve used kale crisps here, but parsnips make great crisps too, because they are quite a dry vegetable. I peel them into long, thin strips and then deep fry them and either toss them with a bit of salt and spice as a snack or if I’m using them as a cake topper for a carrot or parsnip cake sprinkle them with a little icing sugar.
This works really well as a side dish but if you want to serve it as a main then a bit of feta or blue cheese crumbled over the top is delicious. To keep it vegan replace the honey with maple syrup and it will be just as yummy! Serve this as a salad at room temperature but if you are having it as a main dish it is very hearty served warm. You can make everything in advance and then just reheat the parsnip, apple and lentil combination in a covered oven proof dish, sprinkle the pumpkin seeds and kale crisps on afterwards.
Serves 6-8 as a side, 3-4 as a main dish
4 Sprigs of Rosemary
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Honey (or Maple Syrup if you prefer)
150g cooked Puy lentils (it is worth using Puy lentils if you can get them as they have a great flavour and hold their shape really well, I buy Sabarot lentils from Sous Chef or the Merchant Gourmet dried lentils or but you could use the pre-cooked ones if you are in a rush)
2 Eating Apples
15g Sunflower seeds, toasted in a dry pan for a couple of minutes
Salt and Pepper
For the dressing:
45ml Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Cider Vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Honey (or Maple Syrup if you prefer)
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Wash & peel the parsnips and cut them into 5 cm batons. Place in a roasting tray with the rosemary sprigs, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes or until tender.
Squeeze the lemon and mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of honey. Drizzle this over the roasted parsnips and mix well. Return the parsnips to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 150°C. Remove the stalks from the kale and tear into pieces. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season and add a teaspoon of the lemon juice you squeezed earlier. Scrunch with your hands to make sure all the kale is coated in oil. Roast for 15 mins or until crisp. Set aside to cool.
Wash and cut the apples into 2cm wedges, removing the core and seeds. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add enough apples to cover the bottom of the pan, with a dash of the lemon juice. You may need to cook them in two batches. Sauté until they are soft and lightly coloured. I find they usually soften quite quickly but if they are a bit tough putting a lid on the pan can encourage them to soften. Ideally you want them soft, lightly golden but still holding their shape. Don’t worry if a few collapse they will still be delicious!
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients until emulsified. If you have any lemon juice left add that in too, but if not don’t worry. Season well.
Stir half the dressing into the lentils, taste and add more seasoning if required.
Put half the lentils on a platter, pile half the parsnips and apples on top and drizzle over some of the remaining dressing. Repeat with the rest of the lentils, parsnip and apples. Drizzle over the remaining dressing. Sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds and the kale crisps.