This week has seen something of a glut parsnips in our house, having bought a few in the shops and then been sent a few more by Abel and Cole who kindly sent me one of their fruit and veg boxes to try. Parsnips have been popping up in the expected places such as soups and a few less expected like the tiny cubes dotted through a winter frittata along with leeks and smoked cheddar. And then finally there was this lunchtime salad using raw parsnip, chickpeas and goats cheese coated in a honey mustard dressing.
Raw parsnip seems like a different vegetable from a soft, caramelised roasted parsnip. A far feistier entity indeed; crunchy and unexpectedly peppery. I had some doubts about sharing this recipe; I’m not big on wacky ingredients, even when they are nutritious, and I’m definitely not a raw food diet advocate. But then I saw Sally Schneider had used raw parsnip in her book The Improvisational Cook, in a Celery Root, Parnsip and Beet Slaw recipe. Sally is a former chef, regular contributor to The Splendid Table foodie podcast and all round culinary genius, ergo it must be OK.
A couple of recipe notes:
- This tastes better the day after the parsnip has mellowed a little and the flavours have had time to mix. Perfect for making in the evening and taking for lunch the next day.
- If you use a julienne peeler you will easily be able to “feel” if the parsnip has a woody heart to it. It’s fine to include this woody core when you are cooking parsnips but for a raw dish such as this I’d leave it out.
- This salad is my first foray into raw parsnips and I’m sure there are many as yet undiscovered combinations that would work just as well. Raw parsnip has quite a kick to it which led me to pairing it with mellow ingredients like the pulses and goats cheese.
Other good things to do with a parsnip:
- Make Jamie Oliver’s spicy parsnip soup using half reduced fat coconut milk, half regular milk
- Chop into cubes and use in a frittata, following Kathryn’s excellent clear instructions on how to make a frittata (there’s no need to parboil first, just chop it into small cubes and cook for a few minutes before you add the other vegetables)
- Got a taste for raw parsnip? Try adding some to a winter coleslaw
- Use half parsnip, half potato to top a lighter cottage pie
- Dip Spiced Roast Parsnip Chunks into Coriander Chutney
- Use leftover roast parsnips to make Chestnut, parsnip and orange soup
Recipe for Parsnip, chickpea and goats cheese salad
Lemon thyme is lovely with parsnip, if you can get hold of it
2 small parsnips, peeled and julienned (or cut into very fine strips)
1 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp pine nuts
50g goats cheese
For the dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp grain mustard
1 tsp honey
1 heaped tsp thyme leaves
Mix the dressing ingredients together with a fork. Put the julienned parsnips and chickpeas together in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.
Put the pine nuts into a pan and toast on a low heat until golden brown.
Add the pine nuts to the other ingredients and finally add the crumbled goats cheese.
Best eaten the day after making.