Nutty Parsnip Gratin

by Susan Smith in , ,

I am fully “living life on the veg” courtesy of Riverford Organics, and I could not be happier with my regular supply of the freshest, tastiest organic produce that they deliver every Friday straight to my door. An absolutely brilliant service!

Notwithstanding my new-found addiction to drinking a large glass of freshly pressed juice every day - which I’m convinced is far more life enhancing than the proverbial ‘apple a day’ that’s reputed to ‘keep the doctor away’ - I’m having a ball creating new recipes from a plethora of organic fruit and vegetables that you can never reliably find on supermarket shelves.

Because eating Primal is what my close family prefers, we never succumb to eating white potatoes or even compensate very often with other high-carb root vegetables. However, last week I couldn’t resist ordering some new season parsnips for inclusion in my weekly Riverford box of goodies. When they arrived, I thought I’d go all out and make a main meal of them.

Totally delicious, this creamy Nutty Parsnip Gratin has a gorgeous sweet spiciness about it that pairs beautifully with salty Parmesan cheese and crunchy roasted hazelnuts. In fact, I think I’ve succeeded in elevating the humble parsnip to giddying new heights with this dish! Let’s just say, when you dive in with your fork you might not even recognise that you’re eating parsnips - it’s just the most perfectly balanced, tasty, autumnal meal that ticks all those cold-weather comfort food cravings without a potato or grain in sight. How good is that? 

Nutty Parsnip Gratin (serves 3-4)


500g organic parsnips (trimmed and peeled weight of approximately 3 large parsnips)

2 large organic shallots

300ml organic whole milk 

125ml organic double cream

1 dsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (about 2 decent sprigs of rosemary)

1 tsp English mustard

¼ tsp organic nutmeg, freshly grated 

1 tsp Celtic sea salt

80g Parmesan cheese (I used Gran Moravia vegetarian Parmesan-style hard cheese), finely grated

50g organic roasted, blanched hazelnuts, chopped

40g organic ground almonds

15g organic unsalted butter

Freshly ground organic black pepper



Pre-heat the oven to 200℃ / 400℉ / Gas mark 6

Peel and finely slice the parsnips lengthways into 2-3mm thick strips using a mandolin. If the parsnips are large, first cut them in half across the middle, then cut the top half into quarters and using a vegetable peeler, trim away the fibrous core before slicing.

Peel the shallots and still using the mandolin, slice them very finely.

In a large, wide, lidded sauté pan heat the milk to scalding point (just below boiling) then add the parsnip and shallot slices, pressing them down into the milk (the vegetables won’t be completely covered at this stage).

Cover and cook over a medium-low heat for 4 minutes until the parsnips are soft but not broken up. Tip: Gently stir the vegetables around after 2 minutes to ensure that everything cooks evenly. Take off the heat and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cream, rosemary, mustard, nutmeg and salt, then stir in half the grated cheese. Pour the mixture over the parsnips and shallots and gently combine everything together. Tip into a gratin dish, press down with the back of a spoon and level off the top.

In a small bowl mix together the rest of the cheese, ground almonds, chopped hazelnuts and a good grating of freshly ground black pepper. Scatter evenly on top of the parsnip mixture.

Dot all over with small pieces of cold butter and bake the gratin for 30 minutes until lovely-bubbly, crisp and golden.

Eat and enjoy.


Nutty Parsnip Gratin tastes special enough to serve as a vegetarian main course with all the trimmings on Christmas Day. It’s also a brilliant make-ahead vegetable side dish for carnivores - I imagine that served alongside something meaty, it would be an absolute winner.

It doesn’t matter so much for this recipe because you’re boiling the milk anyway, but because it’s kinder to cows and much healthier for humans, I only ever buy whole milk that’s raw and organic from Gazegill Organics This is what they say:

Here at Emma’s Dairy we believe that cows should have the freedom to roam, grazing our pastures and producing raw organic milk that is naturally high in omega 3. Our cows produce a natural amount of milk and are not intensified in any way to produce more, thats why our milk is rich in butterfat and protein. We do not homogenise our milk but believe that in leaving a cream line you can enjoy simply put an un-tampered with natural product that is full of natures best, we also offer raw organic milk and pasteurised milk as well as cream and offer UK wide delivery, we hope you enjoy it.” 


Carbohydrate 31g Protein 15g - per serving

'In The Pink' Vegetable Juice

by Susan Smith in

I’ve recently been watching a 9-part educational series called ‘The Truth About Cancer’, which has been my inspiration for today’s super juice recipe. Ty Bollinger’s self-learning programme offers hope for anyone diagnosed with cancer and for the people who love and care for them. It’s currently estimated that half the world’s population will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life and the truth is, there are many powerful, natural cancer preventions that we’re not being told about.

It’s by no means the full story, but it comes as no surprise to me that one of the most powerful and simplest ways to avoid cancer, or beat it if you have it, is through super nutrition and diet.

Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The trouble is, the food industry pays no attention to health, and the health industry pays no attention to food.

The convenience foods most people are sold on and the allopathic medicines we’re routinely prescribed are chock-a-block with unnatural, man-made chemicals that are alien to the body. Namely; herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, preservatives, refined sugar, glutamates, artificial colours, flavour enhancers as well as chemically-engineered crops and genetically modified, hydrogenated seed and vegetable oils. No wonder we get sick.

If you want to stay healthy and protect yourself against disease and premature ageing, your best strategy is to take control of what goes into your body. Let the recipes on this site be your inspiration. Eat real, organically-grown food and stop eating sugar and sugar-forming foods (high carbohydrate food and too much meat). We all have cancer cells in our body all of the time, which are normally kept under control by our immune system. However, when you’re getting too much sugar, insulin levels in the body rise and over time, your body cells’ insulin receptors burn-out and you end up with high blood sugar. High blood sugar is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes, cancer and other scary diseases. Eating too much sugar not only feeds cancer, it causes cancer cells to replicate and curbs the immune system that would otherwise attack and destroy abnormal cells.

Switching your body’s energy supply from sugar to fat makes sense because cancer cells cannot use fat for fuel.

Healthy fats, e.g. organic grass-fed butter and ghee, cold-pressed coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, wild salmon fish oil, avocado, walnut and macadamia oils are in fact vital to health and well-being.

Once you’ve eliminated the crap from your diet, it’s time to overdose on nature’s disease-fighting foods to build, or re-build, a healthy immune system. Eating a rainbow of raw, fresh, organic fruit and vegetables will kick-start the process. The way to get the maximum possible amount of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amazing phytochemicals into your body is by juicing (I use the Angel cold-press juicer) and for soups and smoothies, a high power blender (I use a Vitamix machine). These machines are expensive but for good-value nutrition, they’re worth every penny.

Earthy yet sweet-tasting, this vibrant looking ‘In The Pink’ Vegetable Juice packs a powerful punch of cancer-fighting nutrients like vitamins C, A and E, beta-carotene, folic acid and potassium that will boost energy levels and help safeguard you from cancer and other diseases. It’s truly a way to drink yourself better and to stay young.

‘In The Pink’ Vegetable Juice - makes 2 servings


4 organic carrots - unpeeled

1 organic beetroot (with leaves if possible) - unpeeled

2 sticks organic celery (with leaves if possible) 

1 organic yellow pepper - including stem and seeds

1 organic red pepper - including stem and seeds 

I thick wedge of organic green cabbage

1 organic cooking apple - unpeeled and uncored 


Roughly slice all the vegetables into largish pieces that will fit the feeder tube of your juicer, then juice away as per your machine manufacturer’s instructions. N.B. We find alternating between soft and hard veggies and fruits makes the juicing process easier. 

Pour into 2 tall glasses and drink immediately to retain all the life-enhancing vitamins, minerals and phytochemical goodness (the washing-up can wait!)


In most cases, when you’re preparing organic fruits and vegetables there’s no need to peel, trim or core before juicing. Just a quick wash or wipe over and you’re ready to go. 

For several years I stopped using my Angel juicer and making multiple-fruit smoothies in my Vitamix. The reason? I suffered an acute inflammatory response to the massive hit of fruit sugar in my daily smoothie, which developed into a painful, itchy, debilitating skin-rash. This only went away when I started eating a low-carb, Primal diet, which is how I came to start writing Primal Plate’s blog. In retrospect, there was no need for me to throw the baby out with the bath water! Learning from my mistake, I now make predominantly vegetable-based juices because too much fruit = too much fructose (fruit sugar) = insulin resistance = disease! 


Carbohydrate 24g Protein 4g - per serving