Umami is often called the fifth taste (after sweet, sour, salty and bitter) and is characterized by a deeply savoury flavour. This new umami paste from Clearspring packs in that taste with a combination of soy sauce, fermented rice, koji (the culture used in soy, mirin and sake production) and a healthy whack of chilli or ginger. The result is a flavour bomb that can multi-task in stews, dips, salad dressings or as here, to perk up a wintery side of roast roots. £4.40/£150g, widely available from health food stores and


  • 4 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and quartered
  • 1 small swede, peeled and chunked
  • groundnut oil


  • 4 tbsp Clearspring umami paste with ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Heat a pan of salted water to boiling. Drop in the veg and cook for 4 minutes then drain well.

  • STEP 2

    Toss the veg with 2 tbsp of oil and season well. Spread on a baking tray and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Whisk the dressing and spoon over the veg. Cover with foil and leave to sit for 5 minutes, then toss everything through and scatter with chopped chilli to finish, if you like.


Janine Ratcliffe Portrait
Janine RatcliffeFood director

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