Kugel is a very traditional Ashkenazi Jewish food, with the two classic variants being potato, and lokshen (noodle). In essence, kugel is a starchy baked pudding, usually bound together with eggs. Potato kugel is typically savoury but lokshen kugel is more usually sweet, often with dried fruit and sometimes held together with a sweet creamy custard. Which doesn’t mean that it won’t be served as part of a main course. I have fond memories of eating my Mum’s lokshen kugel – studded with dried fruit and filled with a layer of stewed apple – alongside cauliflower in tomato sauce. The kugel-tomato sauce combination was surprisingly delicious!!
But I digress. As well as the archetypal potato and noodle kugels, it is possible to make kugel from almost any kind of vegetable. Spinach is a popular choice, and I’ve been known to make courgette (zucchini) kugel on occasion. These light vegetable kugels are quite similar to crustless quiche in many ways. But I like my kugel to be more puddingy, so more often than not I stick to root vegetables which give a denser texture to the finished dish.
This parsnip and carrot kugel is a variation on a carrot and/or sweet potato kugel recipe which I obtained from a former flatmate in Jerusalem back in the mists of time. It is free from eggs and dairy, so is completely vegan, but still rises beautifully and creates a delicious, crispy and flavoursome kugel.
Incidentally, the ‘crispy bits’ around the edge are definitely the best part. Aim for a corner piece, or at the very least an edge. Serve the middle pieces to your least favourite people 😉
Kipper was initially reluctant to try the parsnip & carrot kugel, distracted as she was by the roast potatoes, and the rare appearance of roast chicken on our usually fish-and-vegetarian table. However, once she’d had a bite she was definitely won over. This kugel has a natural sweetness from the carrots and parsnips and the texture is almost cake-y. I think she was pretty chuffed to eat ‘cake’ with her main course. Who wouldn’t be?!
This made a medium sized kugel. It would serve 6-8 comfortably as a side dish.
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Parsnip and carrot kugel (vegan)
- 450-500 g parsnips (5-6 medium parsnips)
- 450-500 g carrots (5-6 medium carrots)
- 250 g plain flour (2 cups)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 150 ml vegetable oil (2/3 cup)
- 65 ml maple syrup (generous 1/4 cup)
- 65 ml water (generous 1/4 cup)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 170C (340F).
- Peel the carrots and parsnips and grate coarsely. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon & ginger. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and stir well to combine into a thick batter.
- Add the grated vegetables and mix well to coat - you may need to get your hands into the bowl to do this!
- Tip the mixture into a greased baking dish and bake at 170C (340F) for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until brown on top and cooked through (test with a toothpick). Cut into squares or slices to serve.