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Roast parsnips with blackberries & chicory

The last of autumn’s blackberries are ripe, salacious and full of flavour. Once all the berries are picked, the bramble retires back into the hedgerow, unnoticed and still for winter. It’s easy to forget then how productive this thorny weed really is. In this gorgeous, colourful salad, I tumble the berries through a tray of roasted early winter parsnips, where they burst in the hot honey and olive oil, and are cut through by the bitterness of red chicory. A scattering of rye flakes adds a nutty crunch, which I really love. This is a real River Cottage favourite.


Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Place the parsnip quarters in large roasting tray. Combine the olive oil, rye flakes, Dijon mustard, honey and cider vinegar in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well, then pour mixture over the parsnips and tumble them to coat thoroughly. Tear over the thyme and rosemary, then place the roasting tray in the oven and roast the parsnips for 40–45 minutes, turning once or twice with a spatula, until they are tender in the middle and crisp and caramelized on the outside.

Remove the parsnips from the oven, then scatter the blackberries and chicory leaves over them. Set aside to cool for 5–10 minutes, then serve as a warm salad with fresh bread, or as an accompaniment to good sausages, duck, or pork chops.

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  • 4 parsnips, quartered lengthways and cored
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaped tablespoons rye flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 or 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 or 3 rosemary sprigs
  • about 100g (3½oz) blackberries
  • 1 firm red chicory, leaves separated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper