Parsnip pilaf

Parsnip pilaf

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(12 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hr, 5 mins Plus soaking

More effort

Serves 8 - 10
Slow cook basmati rice with lentils and spices, roast your veg then serve with a coriander, dill, parsley and mint salsa verde

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving (10)

  • kcal326
  • fat9g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs52g
  • sugars20g
  • fibre8g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.4g
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  • 300g basmati rice
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 140g red lentil
  • 1kg parsnip, 200g grated, remainder cut into long chunky wedges



    The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise – it looks…

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • zest 2 oranges (use the juice in the sauce)



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 2 tbsp honey



    Honey is made by bees from the nectar they collect from flowers. Viscous and fragrant, it's…

  • 3 onions, sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 tsp each turmeric, ground coriander and caraway
  • 100g raisin
  • zest 3 lemons (use the juice in the sauce)



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 25g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • yogurt, to serve (optional)



    Yogurt is made by adding a number of types of harmless bacteria to milk, causing it to ferment.…

For the herb sauce

  • 25g pistachio
  • juice 3 lemons



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • juice 2 oranges



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • small bunch coriander
  • small bunch each dill, parsley and mint, stalks discarded



    There are several types of mint, each with its own subtle difference in flavour and appearance.…


  1. Soak the rice in water for 1 hr, then rinse in a sieve until the water runs clear. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with the stock cube in it. Add the rice and lentils, and simmer for 5 mins until just beginning to soften on the outside. Drain well.

  2. Toss the chunky parsnips with 2 tbsp of the oil, the orange zest, 1 tsp of the cumin seeds and plenty of seasoning in a roasting tin. Roast for 30 mins until golden, then drizzle with honey and roast for 5-10 mins more.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide flameproof casserole or deep pan. Fry the onions until softened and browned. Stir in the remaining cumin with the rest of the spices and cook for 1 min, then add the grated parsnips and raisins, and cook for 1 min more. Turn the heat right down and stir in the rice mixture and lemon zest with plenty of seasoning.

  4. Melt the butter and remaining 1 tbsp oil in the big saucepan you cooked the rice in. Tip in the rice mixture and roughly flatten the surface. Poke 3 steam holes in the rice with the handle of a wooden spoon. Cover the pan with a tea towel, then put on the lid. Cook for 20-25 mins more, making sure the heat stays quite low.

  5. To make the herb sauce, whizz all the ingredients to a salsa-like mix. Spread the rice on a serving platter, breaking up any crispy chunks from the bottom. Top with the roasted parsnips and herb sauce, and serve with some yogurt, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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10th May, 2020
I’m hesitant to rate the recipe as I didn’t follow it to the letter (and would be unfair to give a star rating when I changed it a bit), however mine was pretty similar and totally delicious. I didn’t soak the rice before starting and I cooked the rice and lentils a bit longer in the first stage, then less in the later stage. This saved me time and hassle and it came out great - crispy rice on the bottom and the rest was soft but not mushy. I added peas (after everything was cooked, just stirred them through) as I like to have some greens. For the dressing I had to use walnuts, thyme and mint as I didn’t have pistachios or the other herbs, but I don’t think the result was too dissimilar to the original and I think it complimented it all very well.
Sarah Neighbour's picture
Sarah Neighbour
9th Apr, 2020
It’s just not a great recipe - the result simply does not justify the huge number of ingredients that go into it, or the time it takes to make. It is too lemony - and I love lemon. You really need to be hyper organised before you start or your rice will go to mush. Some good ideas and combinations, but just not worth it.
26th Mar, 2019
Not bad, in fact quite nice but needs to go wth some greens or maybe fried fish. Frankly too much of a faff to ever make again. Just didn't warrant all soaking of the rice, the various steps, pans, 4 different fresh herbs and trying to follow an appallingly written recipe! Not sure it was worth it.
4th Feb, 2017
A lot of effort for a mediocre result. I used a third of the amounts given in the recipe to serve 2 and the portions were small. Won't be using again. Sad because I was looking forward to it.
8th Feb, 2014
I never entirely follow recipes, I use my instincts. I just used lemon juice - no zest, added a clove of garlic to the herb sauce and a whole peeled clementine instead of juice. Best meal I have ever made.
19th Jan, 2014
Mixed feelings about this one. The end result was pretty tasty. The lemony herb sauce really lifts the end dish, and its a good use for parsnips. But I'm not sure that I'll be rushing to make it again on account of the time taken to make it. And there were three very dirty pans to deal with. Not sure it was special enough to warrant to effort.
9th Jan, 2014
Before reviewing the food itself let me say that I am not fussy with food usually, and is my partner is a great cook. About the dish itself, it was utterly revolting. This has to be the worst meal I've had for years. Just looking at the combination of ingredients shows that this dish is destined to fail. All four of our children refused to eat it, preferring instead to go hungry.
21st Jan, 2013
Loved this! Great veggie dish which kept a carnivorous husband happy! Roasted the parsnips for a bit longer because i like them a bit darker, couldn't get caraway so upped other spices, didn't have mint but the herb sauce was awesome without it and i wouldn't use it in future. It might have been that we were huge eaters but only got six (decent sized) dinner servings and one lunch. Don't be tempted to skip the herb sauce, it without it the pilaf is a bit dry and it really brings the dish to life. Also i didn't have time to soak the rice for an hour and it wasn't an issue.
8th Nov, 2012
Utterly delicious. I don't know if I was just having an off day but I found the recipe a bit difficult to follow and so overcooked the rice and got the texture wrong. It was however extremely flavoursome and went down a treat. Next time (and there will be a next time) I won't whizz the nuts up with the herb sauce but scatter them over whole or roughly chopped as I think a bit of crunch would be nice.
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