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.

Method

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.

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.