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Roasted parsnip, puy lentil and watercress salad

This is a great, if unexpected, three-way combination of lovely flavours and textures, all held together by the nutty rapeseed oil dressing – a perfect autumn salad.


Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Peel the parsnips and halve them lengthways. Cut the wider top parts in half again; the aim is to get chunky pieces roughly all the same size. Put the parsnips into a roasting tin, scatter with some salt and pepper and toss with the oil. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until tender and starting to caramelise.

Meanwhile, put the lentils in a pan, add plenty of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for a minute only, then drain. Return the lentils to the pan and pour on just enough water to cover them. Add the bay leaf, onion and parsley stalks, if using. Bring back to a very low simmer and cook slowly for about half an hour, until tender but not mushy.

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together thoroughly with some salt and pepper.

Drain the lentils and pick out the bay leaf, parsley stalks and onion. While still hot, toss the lentils with the dressing. Taste and make sure they are well seasoned.

Scatter the warm lentils, roasted parsnip chunks and watercress sprigs on serving plates and finish with a few cheese shavings, if you like.

Serve warm.

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  • 5 medium parsnips
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 125g Puy lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ onion
  • A few parsley stalks (optional)
  • A large bunch of watercress, tough stalks removed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed with a little coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard
  • 2 teaspoons clear honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons rapeseed oil

To serve (optional)

  • Parmesan, hard goat’s cheese or other well-flavoured hard cheese

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Veg Every Day!