“This is ideal to make at the end of the weekend with any leftover root veg that didn’t make it into the Sunday roast,” says food writer Melissa Hemsley.

“It will set you up nicely for Monday’s dinner – just reheat and top with the onions and yoghurt, and either freeze the rest or enjoy later in the week with dosa-style pancakes, buckwheat sesame wraps or with fresh leaves and a crispy fried egg on top.”

You’ll need

(Serves 6)

  • 4tbsp ghee or oil
  • 5 large parsnips (about 900g)
  • 1tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb of ginger, finely grated
  • 400g split red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh coriander, leaves and stems finely chopped separately
  • 3tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 × 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk
  • 200g leafy greens, like chard, leaves and stems finely chopped
  • Yoghurt, to serve (optional)

For the spice mix:

  • 1.5tsp ground turmeric
  • 2tbsp ground cumin or 1.5tbsp cumin seeds, roughly ground
  • 2tbsp ground coriander or 1.5tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2tbsp black mustard seeds, roughly ground
  • A pinch of chilli flakes or chilli powder
  • A big pinch of sea salt and black pepper

For the pink pickled onions:

  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 2 limes or 4tbsp vinegar
  • A big pinch of sea salt
  • 2tsp maple syrup (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to fan 220°C/Gas mark 9 and melt two tablespoons of the ghee or oil on a large baking tray in the oven.

2. Meanwhile, mix the spice mix in a small bowl and slice up three of the parsnips into about 18 wedges, say 5cm × 1.5cm, then toss the parsnip wedges in the oil on the tray with half of the spice mix. Pop in the oven for about 30–35 minutes, tossing halfway through with the maple syrup, until golden and going crispy at the edges.

3. In a large pan, fry the onion in the remaining two tablespoons of ghee over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occassionally, while you get on with everything else.

4. Add the remaining half of the spice mix, plus the garlic and ginger and fry for three minutes.

5. Add the diced parsnips and lentils, the chopped coriander stems and the tomato purée and let fry. After a minute, add the coconut milk, then fill up the tin four times with hot water (1.6 litres) and pour in, stirring well. Pop the lid on, bring to the boil and immediately turn down to a medium heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir a few times throughout to make sure the lentils don’t stick. Add more liquid if you think it needs it or if you like your dahl soupier, like I do.

6. Meanwhile, scrunch and massage the red onion in a bowl with the lime juice, salt and maple syrup, if using, for 30 seconds, then leave to bathe in the salty lime juice.

7. Once the lentils and parsnips in the pan are cooked, add the chopped greens, pop the lid on so they steam for three to five minutes until just tender, then taste for seasoning. Serve up each bowl, topped with the roasted parsnips, coriander leaves, pink pickled onions and their juices and a dollop of yoghurt, if you like.

Eat Green by Melissa Hemsley, photography by Philippa Langley, is available now.

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