Red Lentil & Parsnip Purée

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Preparation info

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Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

Like mashed potatoes, this purée is one of those dishes that comforts and sustains. Thinned down it makes a great soup, but I like to serve it as a base for oily fish, such as grilled mackerel, sardines or grey mullet. You can vary the taste by adding different herbs, extra garlic or chilli or even by using green lentils in place of red. These will take longer to cook, however.


  • 2 red onions
  • 150g (5oz) unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced into quarters
  • 500g (18oz) parsnips, peeled and cut into 1cm (⅓in) dice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 300g (11oz) red lentils, rinsed under cold water
  • 100ml (fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ cup sliced spring onions


Peel and slice the onions thinly and, in a deep pot, sauté in the butter with the garlic for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the parsnips and 2 teaspoons of salt, cover with cold water and bring to the boil; cook for 10 minutes and add the lentils. Bring back to the boil and add hot water to just cover the lentils, then cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Test a piece of parsnip to see if it’s done and, when it is, drain through a colander and reserve the liquid. Put the parsnip mix into a food processer with the olive oil and purée well, adding some of the reserved liquid to bring it to the consistency you want (this will depend on what you intend to use it for). Test for seasoning and gently mix in the oregano and spring onions.