Pic of Parsnip, date and walnut spelt with Wootton White

Parsnip, date and walnut spelt with Wootton White

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Vegetarian mains

Parsnip, date and walnut spelt with Wootton White

Main Serves 2 40 min
Parsnips are brilliant roasted and they don't have to be confined to a side dish for meat. Here they're the star in this Middle Eastern spiced dish, with a few of their foodie friends (honey, dates and walnuts), topped with tangy Wootton White: a British-made, feta-style cheese which is also suitable for vegetarians. Harissa, a herb and chilli spice blend, can be quite hot and does vary in strength. If sensitive to heat, start with half, you can always add more later.


  • 400g parsnips
  • oil for roasting
  • salt and pepper
  • 125g pearled spelt
  • 50g walnut pieces
  • 50g watercress
  • 15g parsley
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 150g yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • olive oil
  • 50g chopped dates
  • 75g Wootton White cheese (a feta style ewes' milk cheese)
Image of Parsnip, date and walnut spelt with Wootton White


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 30 min
  • Step 1

    Put a pan of water on to boil. Preheat your oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
  • Step 2

    Peel the parsnips and cut into spiky, angled batons. Toss them in a baking dish or roasting tin with just enough oil to coat and salt and pepper to season. Put them in the oven to roast until just tender and starting to caramelise, approx. 25-30 mins. Toss them halfway through the cooking time, so they roast evenly.
  • Step 3

    Once the pan of water comes to the boil, add the spelt. Cook for approx. 20-25 mins, until just tender (it will still have some bite when cooked).
  • Step 4

    Meanwhile, put the walnuts in a dry frying pan. Lightly toast for 1 min or so, then transfer to a small plate or bowl. Wash the watercress and parsley. Pick any very large stalks off the watercress. Shake the parsley dry, then roughly chop the leaves.
  • Step 5

    Mix the harissa (if sensitive to heat, add half first, taste, and add more as needed), tahini and dried mint with the pot of yogurt, a pinch of salt and a small squeeze of lemon juice to taste. If you need to, add 1 tbsp or so of water to thin it slightly.
  • Step 6

    In a large bowl, mix the honey with the juice from a quarter of the lemon and 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • Step 7

    Once the spelt and parsnips have both cooked, drain the spelt and remove the parsnips from the oven.
  • Step 8

    Add the spelt to the bowl with the honey and oil mix and turn it to coat in the dressing. Add the parsnips, dates, walnuts, watercress and half the parsley. Gently toss together.
  • Step 9

    Divide between 2 plates. Crumble over the Wootton White cheese and sprinkle with the remaining parsley to serve.

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