Roasted maple parsnip salad

Parsnips are an essential part of our family Christmas dinner. They’re sweet and creamy and just utterly delicious simply boiled or roasted. But sometimes you might want something a little more fancy. So for day 13 of my Sensitive Foodie Advent Calendar, here’s a warm roasted parsnip salad for you to try out.

Even though parsnips have this gentle natural sweetness, adding maple syrup intensifies the flavour even more. Combine that with the sulphur sharp red onion and rich savoury walnuts and you have a cacophony of textures and flavours that will delight your tastebuds.

Parsnips are particularly delicious at this time of year as the temperatures outside start to plummet. The frost converts some of the starches to natural sugars, making them sweeter and more appealing to the palate. And even though they are a white vegetable, these hardy roots are packed full of healthy fibre and provide a surprising amount of nutrients like vitamin C, potassium and folate. Add that with the other ingredients and you have a warm rainbow salad that is good for your body and your tastebuds.

So if you’re looking for something slightly different, why not give this a go? If you do, remember to let me know how you get on.

Roasted maple parsnip salad (serves 6)

  • 500g parsnips peeled and cut into long chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 100g walnuts
  • 1 bag mixed salad leaves of choice
  • a couple of handfuls fresh parsley
  • vegan parmesan or flaxseed oil (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Place the walnuts onto a small baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-8 minutes until they release an aroma. Remove and leave to cool.

Place the parsnips in a bowl with the olive oil and maple syrup. Season with the salt. Tip out onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, turning a couple of times, until soft and lightly roasted.

In the meantime, thinly slice the red onion and chop the parsley. Scatter the salad leaves over the bottom of a serving dish. Once the parsnips are ready, transfer to the serving dish, spreading them out equally over the salad leaves. Sprinkle the red onion, parsley and walnuts over the top. Add vegan parmesan or flaxseed oil if desired and serve immediately.

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