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Thomasina’s Roast Roots with Split Peas & Yogurt

Thomasina Miers


Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 1h30


200g split peas

few sprigs of thyme

3 1/2 garlic cloves

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

300g carrots

300g parsnips

125g Greek yogurt

squeeze of lemon juice

handful of mint leaves, to serve

Turkish chilli flakes, to serve

Veg Portions / Serving: 3


Photography by Tara Fisher |

Here, warming, aromatic spices envelop the sweet root vegetables with a Middle Eastern flavour that is enhanced by roasting. The whole recipe is extremely simple to prep; as you roast the roots the lentils simmer until tender, leaving you time to make the garlicky, minty yogurt dressing, which adds a silky, fresh body to the dish. This would go beautifully with sausages or lamb chops but is just as tempting on its own.


Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6.

Rinse the split peas in cold water and transfer to a pan with the thyme and 2 of the garlic cloves. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 35-50 minutes until tender but not falling apart (cooking times vary quite widely depending on the age of the peas). Take them off the heat, season with a few pinches of salt and leave to cool. Remove the thyme stalks and garlic.

Meanwhile, briefly warm the whole spices in a small pan until fragrant, then coarsely grind in a pestle and mortar. Add a garlic clove and crush into the spices with some salt. Finally, stir in half the olive oil.

Chop the carrots and parsnips or cut them in lovely long lengths. Pop into a large roasting tin with the spice paste. Season with salt and pepper, add a splash of water and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until lightly coloured and just tender.

Wipe out the pestle and mortar with a damp cloth and use to crush the remaining 1/2 garlic clove with a pinch of salt. Stir into the yogurt with the remaining oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Drain the split peas and transfer to a bowl. Toss in half the yogurt dressing and season to taste.

Place a large helping of split peas on each plate and spoon over the warm root vegetables, followed by a little more yogurt, the roughly torn mint leaves and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

Get the kids to rinse the split peas and pour them into a pan and cover with cold water. They can make the spice paste and yogurt themselves in the pestle and mortar, and can layer everything up on the plates to serve.



While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.



Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.



The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

Thomasina Miers

Thomasina won BBC MasterChef in 2005. She is a cook, writer and presenter. She has written and co-edited 7 cookbooks. She is involved with initiatives to improve food in schools.

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