Parsnip pilaf


  • 300g basmati rice

  • 1 vegetable stock cube

  • 140g red lentil

  • 1kg parsnip, 200g grated, remainder cut into long chunky wedges

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • zest 2 oranges (use the juice in the sauce)

  • 2 tsp cumin seed

  • 2 tbsp honey

  • 3 onions, sliced

  • 1 tsp each turmeric, ground coriander and caraway

  • 100g raisin

  • zest 3 lemons (use the juice in the sauce)

  • 25g butter

  • yogurt, to serve (optional)

For the herb sauce

  • 25g pistachio

  • juice 3 lemons

  • juice 2 oranges

  • small bunch coriander

  • small bunch each dill, parsley and mint, stalks discarded


  1. Soak the rice in water for 1 hr, then rinse in a sieve until the water runs clear. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with the stock cube in it. Add the rice and lentils, and simmer for 5 mins until just beginning to soften on the outside. Drain well.

  2. Toss the chunky parsnips with 2 tbsp of the oil, the orange zest, 1 tsp of the cumin seeds and plenty of seasoning in a roasting tin. Roast for 30 mins until golden, then drizzle with honey and roast for 5-10 mins more.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide flameproof casserole or deep pan. Fry the onions until softened and browned. Stir in the remaining cumin with the rest of the spices and cook for 1 min, then add the grated parsnips and raisins, and cook for 1 min more. Turn the heat right down and stir in the rice mixture and lemon zest with plenty of seasoning.

  4. Melt the butter and remaining 1 tbsp oil in the big saucepan you cooked the rice in. Tip in the rice mixture and roughly flatten the surface. Poke 3 steam holes in the rice with the handle of a wooden spoon. Cover the pan with a tea towel, then put on the lid. Cook for 20-25 mins more, making sure the heat stays quite low.

  5. To make the herb sauce, whizz all the ingredients to a salsa-like mix. Spread the rice on a serving platter, breaking up any crispy chunks from the bottom. Top with the roasted parsnips and herb sauce, and serve with some yogurt, if you like.

Vicky Skingley