Pic of Parsnips Molly Parkin with lentils and greens

Parsnips Molly Parkin with lentils and greens

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Vegetarian mains

Parsnips Molly Parkin with lentils and greens

Main Serves 2 1h
This is an old recipe but a rich and satisfying way of cooking parsnips. It's named after a colourful artist/fashionista character and came along in the 1970s. We've added a lentil and cabbage braise to serve alongside for extra protein and nutrients. We've advised using a quarter of the cabbage, but you could add a little more if you like extra greens.

Cook's notes

If you have a large frying pan that's also ovenproof, you can use this to fry your parsnips, then also use it to layer your veg for the oven bake, doing away with the need for a separate baking dish. Just make sure it all fits in the frying pan!


  • 1 small onion
  • 400g parsnips
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • oil for frying, e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 75g Italian-style hard cheese
  • 60ml double cream
  • 25g dried breadcrumbs
  • 50g dark speckled lentils
  • ¼ cabbage
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Image of Parsnips Molly Parkin with lentils and greens


Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 40 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Peel and finely slice the onion. Keep it to one side for now. Wash, peel and slice the parsnips into 1cm rounds. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil with half the butter and half the sugar in a frying pan.
  • Step 2

    Add half the parsnips, in a single layer. (If you have a very large pan and can fit in all the parsnips in one go, use all the butter, sugar and parsnips). Fry them on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then turn and fry for another 2-3 minutes or so, until they are just starting to colour and caramelise.
  • Step 3

    Remove from the heat. Repeat with the remaining butter, sugar and parsnips. Wash and slice 4 large or more smaller tomatoes into half cm rounds. Grease a 25cm x 15cm casserole or baking dish with a little oil.
  • Step 4

    Arrange alternate layers of parsnips, tomatoes and Italian-style cheese, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Finish with a layer of cheese. Mix the cream with 2 tablespoons of water. Pour over the parsnips.
  • Step 5

    Bake for 20 minutes, then scatter over the breadcrumbs and bake for a further 20 minutes or so, depending on your oven, until the top is golden and the parsnips tender. As soon as the parsnips go in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan.
  • Step 6

    Add the onion and fry on a low heat for 8 minutes, stirring now and then, until soft and translucent. Meanwhile, rinse the lentils well in a sieve. Peel and finely chop or crush 1 garlic clove. After 8 minutes, add it to the onion along with the garlic, dried thyme and bay leaf.
  • Step 7

    Stir for 1 minute. Add 300ml of water. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are almost tender. Top up with more water as they cook. Wash and finely shred quarter of the cabbage in the meantime, removing the tough core and thick ribs.
  • Step 8

    When the lentils are almost done, add the shredded cabbage and stir to wilt it down, about 4-5 minutes (I like to keep a little bite to mine, but cook as you prefer). Add the mustard, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the lentils with the parsnip bake.
  • Step 9

    The lentils can be gently reheated if finished before the parsnips are tender, or the parsnips kept warm in a low oven if vice versa.

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