Spiced roasted parsnips with saffron cauliflower puree, almond picada

Posted On January 23, 2020 By Kathryn

When roast parsnips are a side dish, I always find myself wanting more. They are too good just to be an acompaniment – here they take centre stage.

They are served atop a silky smooth saffron cauliflower puree and the whole dish is garnished liberally with a crunchy almond picada, flavoured with aromatic smoked garlic.

You can’t beat root veg in winter, and this recipe transforms two everyday veggies into something really special.


You may also like my recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Smashed Broad Beans and Sage Butter and for The Quickest Tomato Soup


Photography by Catherine Frawley 

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Roasted Parsnips


Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp coriander seed

1 tsp cumin seed

3/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp black mustard seeds

5 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

3 large parsnips, peeled and cut into long thin wedges

1 1/2 tbsp honey

generous pinch of salt and pepper

Cauliflower Puree


Serves 4

1 small head of cauliflower, about 800g

roughly 1 litre of vegetable stock (enough to cover the cauliflower)

pinch of saffron

3 paired strips of lemon rind

pinch of sugar

salt and pepper


Serves 4

60g blanched almonds, toasted

3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 tsp thyme, leaves picked and chopped

25g toasted stale bread, blitzed into rough breadcrumbs

3 tbsp olive oil

1 clove of smoked garlic, finely grated (use normal if you can’t find smoked)

zest of 1/2 lemon and 1 tsp juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 200’C. Mix the oil with the coriander seed, cumin seed, chilli flakes, mustard seed, thyme, salt and pepper. Place the parsnips onto a large baking tray, pour the seasoned oil all over and toss to thoroughly coat the vegetables. Roast for 20 minutes, turning half way through to ensure even browning. Pour the honey all over, toss again and roast for a further 10 miniutes.
  2. While the parsnips are roasting, break the cauliflower into small florets, cover with the stock and add the saffron and lemon rind. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain, reserving some of the stock. Transfer to a blender and blitz until as smooth as possible. You want quite a thick consistency - usually there is enough liquid retained in the cauliflower to give you this, but add a touch of stock if necessary. Add a pinch of sugar and season to taste. Keep warm.
  3. Toast the almonds in a dry fruing pan until they are a deep golden colour, and when cool enough to handle, roughly chop. Mix with the remaining ingredients, and season to taste.
  4. Serve a generous spooonful of puree, topped with the crispy parsnips and generously garnished with the almond picada.