Pic of Parsnip, leek and coconut gratin with lentils and wilted greens

Parsnip, leek and coconut gratin with lentils and wilted greens

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Vegetarian mains

Parsnip, leek and coconut gratin with lentils and wilted greens

Main Serves 2 45 min
Think of this dish as being like a layered dal. The lentils absorb the fragrant coconut milk, swelling and splitting into a thickened sauce. The onions and leeks soften and the parsnips soak up the canary yellow of the turmeric.

Cook's notes

Be cautious with the cayenne pepper, it can very hot: add it to the stock in small and tentative increments until it suits your taste. Although it looks like very little in the pot, we have given you more than you will probably need just to be safe.


  • 500g parsnips
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 100g red lentils
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 300g spring greens
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black onion seeds
  • plain oil for frying, e.g. vegetable or sunflower
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 40 min
  • Step 1

    Wash and peel the parsnips. Cut them in half lengthways and slice at an angle, into half cm pieces. Fill a saucepan with cold salted water, add the parsnips and bring up to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes before draining, reserving the cooking water when you do.
  • Step 2

    While the parsnip cooks, peel and finely slice the onion. Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in the other saucepan and fry the onion gently for 10 minutes until it starts to soften.
  • Step 3

    While the onion cooks, trim the leeks of their root end and dark green leaves. Slice them into 1cm discs and wash them well. In a saucepan, mix the coconut milk with the stock cube, cumin, turmeric and a pinch of cayenne (see cook's note). Add 50ml of the parsnip cooking water and warm it through on a low heat, stirring to dissolve the stock cube. Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Rinse the lentils well in a sieve.
  • Step 4

    Lay the cooked onion on the bottom of the gratin dish, layer the lentils on top, the leeks on top of that and finish with a layer of parsnips. Pour the warm coconut stock into the dish and bake for 25-30 minutes until the parsnips and lentils are tender and the parsnips are golden and bubbling.
  • Step 5

    While the gratin cooks, strip the spring green leaves away from their tough stalks. Discard the stalks and wash the leaves, then chop them roughly. 10 minutes before the gratin is ready, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan, add the spring greens and cook for 5 minutes, until wilted.
  • Step 6

    Add the black onion seeds to the pan and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes until tender. Serve a generous scoop of the comforting gratin with a pile of greens on the side.

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