Roasted Piccolo Parsnip, Pear and Beetroot Salad with Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Serves 4

  • 250g small beetroots
  • 250g Piccolo parsnips
  • 2 just ripe pears (I like Williams), cut into quarters, not peeled but cored
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 bag watercress, washed and trimmed, to serve
  • 200g blue cheese (stilton, Roquefort), in bite size pieces, to serve


  • 50ml water
  • 50g sugar
  • 75g walnut halves


  • 4 tbsp olive oil or walnut oil
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4

Wrap the beetroots in foil and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes until tender when pierced with a skewer.

Meanwhile place the Piccolo parsnips and pears on a baking sheet, brush with the oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper and the thyme sprigs. Roast for 20 minutes or until the Piccolo parsnips and pears are lightly browned and tender, leave to cool. Peel the beetroots when they are cool and cut in half.

For the walnuts, place the water and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened to a syrup, add the walnuts and stir for 30 seconds. Drain off the liquid and set aside.

Combine the dressing ingredients together and season to taste.

To assemble the salad, divide the watercress onto 4 plates, top with the roasted Piccolo parsnips, pears, beetroot and blue cheese and drizzle over the dressing and finally top with the candied walnuts.