Are you in need of something wholesome and nourishing in between all the Christmas baking you have going on? I certainly am, that’s for sure. I’ve been busily working on lots of Christmas goodies to share with you and let’s just say, I’ve gone one licked-chocolate-spoon too far. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE chocolate. Like so much. But my body needs some actual nutrients now, y’know? This Indian-Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Salad is the answer. You’re gonna love it. And your body is going to thank you so much for it, too.
We put up our Christmas decorations yesterday and our house just feels so snug and festive! I love this time of year. In particular, I love adorning my kitchen, my favourite place, with fairy lights. There are few things better at this time than padding into the twinkly-lit kitchen without the need to turn on the lights and getting yourself a little snack. And then returning to your super comfy sofa and watching cosy Christmas TV shows because that’s the December life.
Another thing I love about this time of year, I realised today, is the shortness of the days. Practically speaking, the brevity of light hours is an inconvenience to me – every day that I’m shooting recipes for the blog is a race against time and even then, the quality of light at this time of year can be poor. But ironically, it slows me down, brings me into the present moment. On these days, I’m acutely aware of how precious every moment is. And then, when the work is done, I close the curtains, switch on the sparkling lights and snuggle up, feeling grateful for my comfortable home. It really is a wonderful life.
So let’s put some festive sparkle onto your dinner plate! This Indian-Spiced Parsnip & Lentil Salad makes for a hearty yet light meal, perfect for weeknight suppers and entertaining friends alike. I find that parsnips are an underappreciated vegetable – especially by me. I tend to find their sweetness cloying but they have a complexity of flavour, a spiciness of their own, which can be really delicious when they are cooked well. This Indian-inspired spice mix tempers, but does not mask, this inherent sweetness. Earthy lentils and peppery watercress, slick with a lemon-bright dressing, provide a substantial base while the simple fried shallots lend savouriness. The final flourish of ruby pomegranate arils punctuates the dish with pops of tart juice and brings everything together. This is a truly wonderful vegetarian dish that would satisfy any palate.
One final note: don’t be put off by the length of the ingredients list. This meal comes together quickly and easily – it’s mostly just about waiting for the component parts to cook. You could use pre-ground spices if you wanted to, but the intensity and freshness you get from gently toasting and grinding your own is worth the extra effort. If you really don’t want to do that though, just make sure you use high-quality, fresh ground spices!