Roast carrots and parsnips
Updated: Mon, 9 November, 2020
Roast vegetables with Christmas or Sunday roast are only the second most important trimming after roast potatoes.
What vegetables to roast?
There's a simple reason why there is a selection of roasted vegetables as a staple on Christmas table: not much else is in season apart from root vegetables, leeks and cabbage. All year round we can cook whatever sides we fancy with our Sunday roasts but in mid-winter it's carrots and parsnips.
That is not to say we must limit ourselves to those two: by all means roast some turnips, sweet potatoes, squash and even beetroot. Beware of the latter though: it will try to throw crimson all over their immediate neighbours. They also take longer to cook so I don't usually use them in my roast selection.
How to season roast vegetables?
I find the simpler the better they are. Perhaps surprisingly, they benefit from being seasoned early in the day and stand, oiled, salted and what have you, marinating after a fashion.
In my recipe the only secret is the addition of harissa which gives it a subtle kick. The rest is the usual: herbs, a little sweetness and a little acidity.
But do add whole garlic cloves to the mix: they are gorgeous roasted in their skins to be messily squeezed out on your plate.
Can roast veg be prepped ahead?
The vegetables can certainly be prepared ahead which is always a bonus on Christmas Day. You can peel, cut and mixed them with the dressing to sit in the fridge even overnight, but do bring them back to room temperature before roasting and make sure to preheat the roasting tray before they go in.
Cooking them straight from the fridge, and that goes also for potatoes, might result in a disaster or at least wrecked timings.
roast carrots and parsnipsServings: 4Time: 1 hour
- 6-8 carrots, washed and cut into thick batons
- 2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunkier pieces than the carrots
- 1 bulb of garlic, unpeeled, separated into cloves
- a few rosemary sprigs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp harissa
- 2 tbsp honey
- juice from half a lemon
- caraway seeds, dried marjoram, thyme and tarragon
1. Mix the olive oil, harissa, honey and lemon juice in a large bowl.
2. Add the vegetables and garlic, season generously with the herbs and leave for an hour to soak in the flavours.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6 and place a roasting tin large enough for all the vegetables in one layer in the oven for a few minutes. Transfer the vegetables into the hot tin, trying to place the parsnips in the middle and carrots on the outside as they will take longer to cook.
4. Roast for 40-50 minutes, turning them over once or twice.