Igave my son a bite of parsnip the other day. ‘Mum, that’s too sweet,’ he said – and I know what he means. Parsnips sometimes have a sweetness that needs offsetting, and are at their finest paired with umami flavours. This week’s recipes use this sweetness to great effect: the first is a savoury winter crumble, the second a roast parsnip so good I now find it hard to make them any other way.
Creamy parsnip, leek and white bean crumble
A filling, all-in-one meal that’s gracing our table at least once a week this winter. Vegans can use an oat creme fraiche and a vegan parmesan.
Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
6 leeks (about 750g), trimmed, washed halved and cut into 4cm lengths
4 parsnips: 2 peeled and roughly chopped into 2cm pieces, 2 coarsely grated
2 tbsp olive oil
3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
Salt and black pepper
200ml creme fraiche
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp cider vinegar
75ml vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin white haricot beans, drained
For the crumble topping
50g jumbo rolled oats
30g cold butter, cut into cubes
45g plain flour
20g pumpkin seeds
20g parmesan/vegetarian Italian hard cheese, finely grated
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/350F/gas 6. Toss the leeks and chopped parsnips with the olive oil in a 20 x 30 pie dish or deep roasting tin. Sprinkle over the leaves from two of the thyme sprigs, and season well. Roast for 35 minutes, until the leeks are soft and buttery, and the parsnips are soft all the way through.
Meanwhile, mix all but 50g of the grated parsnips in a bowl with the creme fraiche, chopped garlic, lemon, cider vinegar, stock and haricot beans – taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
In a separate bowl, make the crumble topping. Using your fingertips, rub the oats, butter, flour and pumpkin seeds together with the remaining grated parsnip and thyme leaves so that it starts to clump and look like chunky breadcrumbs. Chill in the fridge until needed.
Once the leeks and parsnips have softened, remove from the oven and toss through the bean and creme fraiche mix.
Remove the crumble topping from the fridge, sprinkle it over the filling, grate over the cheese and return to the oven for 30 minutes.
You can assemble the crumble, cover and chill in the fridge up to 24 hours in advance before the final bake. Serve with warm, crusty bread and lemon-dressed salad or greens.
Miso and sesame roasted parsnips
I serve these as a side, but they are flavourful enough for a meal to be built around them. This week, I had them with brown rice, greens and a good drizzle of chilli oil.
Prep 5 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4 as a side
50g white miso
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
6 parsnips, halved lengthways
1 tsp black or white toasted sesame seeds
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/350F/gas 6. Spoon the miso, soy, honey and oil into a bowl, and stir to combine.
Toss the parsnips in the miso mixture and lay out in a shallow roasting tray lined with foil. Roast for 15 minutes, toss, then put them back in the oven for 10 minutes, until the parsnips are tender, sticky and deep golden, even a little blackened in places.
Toss with the toasted seeds and serve.