Parsnips baked with pearled spelt, radicchio, crème fraîche and walnuts

  • Easy

This recipe puts a modern twist on a Christmas classic - the parsnip. Here's how to make parsnips with creme fraiche and walnuts

Parsnips baked with pearled spelt, crème fraîche and walnuts (Photo by: Jason Ingram)

Spelt is an ancient grain with a nutty attractive flavour.

These plump cooked grains flatter the sweet cooked parsnip, bitter radicchio and the walnuts. Adding grains to gratin dishes can give ballast and easily swell a dish to feed more mouths.

Malted carrots (Photo by: Jason Ingram)

Here’s how to make parsnips with crème fraîche and walnuts.



  • Parsnips 600g
  • Creme fraiche 200ml
  • Pearled spelt or pearl barley 150g
  • Large radicchio Half
  • Fresh thyme leaves Half tbsp
  • Dijon mustard 2 tsp
  • Shelled walnuts 50g, roughly chopped
  • Nutmeg about a quarter, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter


  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 180° and use a little butter to grease a medium-sized gratin dish.

  • Step 2

    Peel the parsnips and slice into chunky batons. If they are especially large, cut the hard core out.

  • Step 3

    Boil the batons in plenty of salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes, and when tender, drain well in a colander. Reserve the water.

  • Step 4

    Put the water back in the pan and add the spelt, topping up with more water if necessary. Bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until tender – about 15-20 minutes. Drain the spelt well and keep about three tablespoons of this cooking water.

  • Step 5

    Roughly chop the radicchio into broad ribbons.

  • Step 6

    Arrange the cooked spelt and parsnips together with the radicchio in the buttered gratin dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Step 7

    Mix the crème fraiche, mustard and about three tablespoons of cooking water to loosen together with a pinch of salt.

  • Step 8

    Spoon the crème fraiche mixture over the gratin dish.

  • Step 9

    Grate the nutmeg over the gratin dish. Add the walnuts and the thyme leaves.

  • Step 10

    Dot the top of the gratin dish with a few cubes of butter.

  • Step 11

    Cook in the hot oven for about 20 minutes until golden in places and piping hot.

  • Step 12

    Remove from the oven, rest for a little and serve.