I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to root vegetables, which means I eat a lot of sweet potatoes. Nothing wrong with that, but why play the same note over and over again when you have so many others to choose from? I realized how monotone I’d been after eating at a local farm-to-table restaurant where one of the sides was mashed parsnips, and since then I was determined to add it to my repertoire.
If you aren’t familiar with parsnips, they look like a carrot whose pigment has faded. Though the parsnip doesn’t have the vibrant color of its relative, its flavor and fragrance is so much more interesting than the candy-sweet carrot.
This recipe is very simple, requiring only four ingredients. Once cooked, the parsnips are pureed in a food processor until creamy smooth, with little flecks of herb throughout. Mashed parsnips are a great substitute for standard mashed potatoes, and an elegant choice for a home-cooked Valentine’s Day dinner. If you’ve gotten bored with the same old starch, try mashed parsnips for a whole new groove.
- 3 lbs./1.3 kg parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch slices
- 2 oz./1/4 cup/56 g salted pastured butter, (I use Kerrygold), cut into ¼-inch cubes (see diary-free option in Notes section below)
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt (increase amount by ⅛ teaspoon if using unsalted butter)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- Put prepped parsnips into a large 4-quart saucepan and cover with cold water.
- Bring water to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until parsnips are very tender and easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain parsnips in a colander in the sink. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add half of the cooked parsnips to a food processor that has a bowl capacity of a least 9 cups, along with half the butter. Add the rest of the cooked parsnips and the rest of the butter, and sprinkle the salt and thyme over them.
- Process the parsnips until completely smooth, pausing occasionally and stirring them with a spatula to make sure everything gets evenly puréed.
- Scoop mashed parsnips into a large bowl and serve, or put in a glass container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.