Parsnip pilaf

Slow cook basmati rice with lentils and spices, roast your veg then serve with a coriander, dill, parsley and mint salsa verde

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:1 hrs 5 mins
    Plus soaking
  • Serves 10
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 326
  • fat 9g
  • saturates 2g
  • carbs 52g
  • sugars 20g
  • fibre 8g
  • protein 7g
  • salt 0.4g


  • 300g basmati rice
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 140g red lentils
  • 1kg parsnips, 200g grated, remainder cut into long chunky wedges
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • zest 2 oranges (use the juice in the sauce)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp each turmeric, ground coriander and caraway
  • 100g raisins
  • zest 3 lemons (use the juice in the sauce)
  • 25g butter
  • yogurt, to serve (optional)
  • 25g pistachios
  • juice 3 lemons
  • juice 2 oranges
  • small bunch coriander
  • small bunch each dill, parsley and mint, stalks discarded


  1. Soak the rice in water for 1 hr, then rinse in a sieve until the water runs clear. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with the stock cube in it. Add the rice and lentils, and simmer for 5 mins until just beginning to soften on the outside. Drain well.

  2. Toss the chunky parsnips with 2 tbsp of the oil, the orange zest, 1 tsp of the cumin seeds and plenty of seasoning in a roasting tin. Roast for 30 mins until golden, then drizzle with honey and roast for 5-10 mins more.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide flameproof casserole or deep pan. Fry the onions until softened and browned. Stir in the remaining cumin with the rest of the spices and cook for 1 min, then add the grated parsnips and raisins, and cook for 1 min more. Turn the heat right down and stir in the rice mixture and lemon zest with plenty of seasoning.

  4. Melt the butter and remaining 1 tbsp oil in the big saucepan you cooked the rice in. Tip in the rice mixture and roughly flatten the surface. Poke 3 steam holes in the rice with the handle of a wooden spoon. Cover the pan with a tea towel, then put on the lid. Cook for 20-25 mins more, making sure the heat stays quite low.

  5. To make the herb sauce, whizz all the ingredients to a salsa-like mix. Spread the rice on a serving platter, breaking up any crispy chunks from the bottom. Top with the roasted parsnips and herb sauce, and serve with some yogurt, if you like.

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