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Recipe Collection

Parsnip Dahl topped with Roasted Parsnips & Pink Pickled Onions

Philippa Langley — Melissa Hemsley — Eat Green — 2020

This Parsnip Dahl is ideal to make at the end of the weekend with any leftover root veg that didn’t make it into the Sunday roast. 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 fresh leaves and a crispy fried egg on top, or with the Dosa-style Pancakes or Buckwheat Sesame Wraps in my cookbook, Eat Green.

Serves: 6

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

Photography: Philippa Langley
Styling: Kitty Coles

Season: Autumn/Winter


For the dahl
4 tbsp ghee or oil
5 large parsnips (about 900g)
1 tbsp 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
3 tbsp 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
11/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp ground cumin or 1 1/2 tbsp cumin
seeds, roughly ground
2 tbsp ground coriander or 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds

2 tbsp 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 4 tbsp vinegar
A big pinch of sea salt
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to fan 220°C/Gas mark 9 and melt 2 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 2 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 3 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 through, add the chopped greens, pop the lid on so they steam for 3–5 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.

Read more: Eat Green

Mel’s environmentally conscious, simple home cooking is the exact kind of stuff we should all be turning to during the week. Eat Green is full of recipes using ingredients you’ll likely already have in your store cupboard — it just inspires you to use them in new and exciting ways.

— about the author

Melissa Hemsley is one-half of the Hemsleys, the bestselling authors of The Art of Eating Well and Good + Simple with a London café HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY at Selfridges in London. Her first solo bestseller, Eat Happy, focussed on fast, delicious 30-minute recipes for busy nights in 2018.

Melissa champions fuss-free, big-flavoured food and shows how anyone can enjoying cooking affordable, healthy recipes.


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