Wednesday night parsnips

I do love a good parsnip! And the ones that turned up in the Riverford veg box yesterday were voluptuous and ready for some action.

The usual route (or should it be root ;)) for any parsnips that enters the house is spicy parsnip soup, swiftly followed by a roasting. Simple but packed with flavour. But this weeks veg box contained a parsnip recipe that I hadn’t tried before – skordalia – so the fate of the gorgeously creamy roots was sealed.

I had never heard of skordalia before, but apparently it’s a side dish from Greece traditionally made with potatoes; Bob the Riverford chef had substituted parsnips for the spuds, and it does taste might fine.

As with most recipes I come across, it did need The Sensitive Foodie touch to make it dairy and gluten free; I also used whole almonds and chopped them as I like to have my nuts with optimum fibre content and I substituted flaxseed oil for the olive oil to increase the omega 3 content. I used Mrs Crimbles breadcrumb mix as that was open, but have notice that Waitrose now do their own gluten free breadcrumbs, which are completely rice based. Of course, if you’re ok with wheat and gluten, then go for normal fresh breadcrumbs as I can imagine they make the dish even more thick and gloopy.

The final product was seriously gorgeous, and would go perfectly with a nut or lentil loaf and a pile of roast potatoes. Not that’s what we had for dinner! But the quiche was still good with it!You may not think of parsnips as a ‘healthy food’ but, as with all veggies, they do having surprising nutritional benefits. For one they are a great source of soluble fibre, so keep our guts healthy and won’t upset those with IBS too much. They also have a good amount of vitamin C, potassium and B vitamins, which are all needed for cell activity. There’s even a reasonable amount of manganese as well as a whole range of phytonutrients that are thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect and help protect against certain cancers. Not bad for a simple root vegetable!

So here is the recipe – there was a little left over, so I’m looking forward to lunch!

Parsnip skordalia (Riverford recipe with Sensitive Foodie adjustments!)
500g parsnips
400ml dairy free milk
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, peeled
30g gluten free breadcrumbs/fresh breadcrumbs
handful almonds, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
glug of flaxseed oil/olive oil
salt and pepper
Peel and chop the parsnips into small chunks and pop into a saucepan with the dairy free milk, bay leaf and garlic cloves. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes or so until the parsnip is soft and mushy. Turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Strain the parsnips and garlic but reserve the milk. Discard the bay leaf. Pop the parsnip and garlic into a food processor with a little of the cooking milk and blend until smooth. Add the almonds, breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper and blitz again for a moment to combine everything together. Add the oil and lemon juice and blitz briefly. Check the flavours and consistency and add more seasoning. milk or lemon as needed. Serve and enjoy!

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