24 January 2014

Maple roasted parsnip, bacon and goats' cheese salad

It is literally painful for me to look at this photo. I am preparing for a colonoscopy you see and haven't eaten for two days! Well, yesterday I was allowed low residue food, which consisted of eggs, tuna, prawns and an amazing Vietnamese chicken broth (highlight - will post that here soon). But for a bread and fruit and veg lover like me that's not a very satisfying or filling menu. I had to take a very lovely solution to 'cleanse' my system and today I cannot eat a thing! Wah! I'm alternating between elderflower cordial and miso soup (thank God for my miso soup). I am obsessing about what I will have after my appointment which isn't till late this afternoon - it wouldn't be first thing this morning would it?! Sorry to say, I think I'm going to have to go straight to MacDonald's, unless I am too woozy with sedation.

So, you are probably thinking: really? We're talking colonoscopies as a preamble to a recipe? Yuck! Well, yeah, we are. I think it's good to share. And we all poo don't we? Don't we? Even the queen, I hear...

This salad I made a couple of days back. It's part of my new 'cook dinner at lunchtime' plan. As Bea is becoming increasingly demanding (very cute though, but a proper daredevil who doesn't do sitting still), it has become harder and harder to prepare a decent meal at teatime. Several teatime efforts at cooking recently have ended in tears - mine and hers - so I now try to cook dinner after lunch when she is asleep. What I like about this salad is that you can roast the 'snips ahead, as well as fry off the bacon. Then, when you're ready to eat, simply shake up a dressing in a jar, toss watercress onto a plate with parsnips and bacon and crumble cheese on top.

This is quite a grown up salad, but the sticky parsnips with bacon are a big hit with kids. I gave this to the children initially without watercress. But Arthur asked for some and he ate it. Admittedly it was mainly to show off to me, but he still ate a bit, so I was chuffed. He doesn't do goats' cheese though so I left that off his. The girl, as ever, ate it all with gusto.

To make a starter or lunch portion for four adults: 
800g parsnips
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
salt and pepper
200g good quality bacon, streaky or back, cut into lardons - or same amount of pancetta cubed
100g watercress
100g goats' cheese - or more of less as you like
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • Preheat your oven to 190C. 
  • Cut your parsnips into 4, or 8 if they are very thick and chunky. You want them all the same size-ish. 
  • Toss in veg oil, season and roast for 25-30 mins, turning once or twice. After they are nicely roasted, add the maple syrup to the pan, toss, and roast for another 15-20 minutes.
  • Cut the bacon or pancetta into lardons and fry off in a little oil over a low heat for as long as it takes to get really crispy and the fat rendered down. About 30 mins I'd say. Set aside. 
  • Combine the crispy bacon and the sticky parsnips in the roasting tin, so the bacon too gets covered in maple syrup. 
  • When ready to assemble (either warm or cold parsnips work well), simply put some watercress on a plate, arrange parsnips artfully, sprinkle any extra lardons on that aren't already stuck to parsnips, crumble goats cheese and finally dribble the dressing on. Season and serve. 


  1. Love the look of this salad - roasted parsnips and bacon, what's not to love? I will be trying this out soon - thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Antonia... yes this is my sort of thing too - not everybody's but I love parsnips. I really hope you try it - tell me what it turns out like! X


Please leave a comment - all feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks, Rachel x

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