Spinach and Peppers in a Sweet Potato and Parsnip Bowl


This dramatic-looking dish is an exciting way to serve your accompanying vegetables all in one – or, make it into a main course for a lunch or a light supper by arranging anchovy fillets alternately with the strips of red pepper.


  • 1–1.2 kg (2–2½ lb) orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 625–750 g (1¼-1½ lb) parsnips, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 large red pepper, cored, halved lengthwise and deseeded
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • ¼–½ whole nutmeg, grated
  • 500 g (1 lb) spinach, well washed, thick stalks removed, leaves chopped up roughly if large
  • 2–3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper


Steam or boil the chopped sweet potatoes and parsnips together until very soft. Meanwhile, in order to skin the peppers later, put the pepper halves skin side upwards, under a very hot grill until the skins are charred black. Remove the peppers from the grill and wrap in a tea towel or place in a paper bag until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, purée the sweet potatoes and parsnips with the butter in a food processor (you may have to do this in two or three goes, depending on the capacity of your food processor). Whizz in the freshly grated nutmeg with sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Spoon the sweet-potato mixture into a wide, shallow, ovenproof serving bowl, spreading it out and up the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula so as to roughly form a bowl shape within the bowl. Cover the bowl loosely with foil and put into the lowest possible oven to keep warm while you skin the cooled peppers.

Remove the blackened skin from the pepper halves with your fingers, then cut the flesh lengthwise into thin strips with a sharp knife. Wrap these pepper strips in a piece of foil and keep warm in the oven with the bowl.

Shortly before you are ready to serve, steam or boil the spinach until soft, then drain in a colander and squeeze out the excess water.

Remove the bowl with the sweet-potato purée from the oven and spoon the cooked spinach into the centre of the root purée. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the pepper strips from the oven and arrange them fanning out like a starburst on top of the spinach, adding the anchovy fillets if wanted. Then dribble the extra virgin olive oil all over the top and serve at once.