How to Make Any Root Veggie into a Scrumptious Mash Everyone Will Love

Fall and holidays are classic times of year for serving mashed veggies.

Mashed potatoes and/or sweet potatoes anyone?

I know my family is always as eager to dig into those as they are the other fixings at holidays and family meals.

Because that's the point, right? Eat those veggies, too! (Not just the bread and/or meat.)

But, hang on, why stop at the well known mashes?

Mashed veggies can be made with many kinds of roots in endless spicing and flavor combinations to satisfy any occasion, mundane or fancy.

That's why I'm here today with this fun formula for making your perfect mashed veggie combos.

To help inspire you to try a few new things and liven up your winter tables with delicious healthy root veggies!

To ultimately eat more veggies in interesting ways!



The steps to making any root veggie into a scrumptious mash everyone will love

It's not at all hard to make a mash. We've all done it before. So this formula will give you fun ideas to broaden your options when your fridge is full of fresh veggies and you've got a meal to make.


Step one: Pick your veggies

So, what exactly can you mash?

Going beyond mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes isn't as hard as you might think. Here is a list of all the root (+ beyond) veggies you can mash with good success:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Celeriac (aka Celery Root)
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi
  • Cauliflower
  • Winter Squash
  • Pumpkin

Other veggie add-in options:

  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks


Step two: Cook your veggies

So, what are the best cooking methods to prepare for mashing?

  1. Best: Steaming.  This method introduces the least amount of water to your veggies, hence a less watery mash if that's a concern.  Which it can be with certain veggies.
  2. Just fine: Boiling.  This method is the most basic and easiest and uses the least amount of dishes.  Which is why I most often use it!  :)  So, as I say, it's just fine!
  3. For special occasions: Roasting.  This method is not the best for every veggie, but for some that are more watery it can work well.  It can also work well if you want to blend using a power tool rather than mashing by hand.  Roasted veggies can be harder to get smooth by hand.  But they can make an extra special tasting mash!


Step three: Mash your veggies

So, what are good ways to get the actual mash to be nice and smooth?

  • Mash by hand with potato masher for a chunkier mash
  • Mash with power using a food processor/blender/immersion blender/mixer, whatever you have for a smoother mash


Step four: Stir in creamy/liquid to taste

Here you have many options to suit your tastes and dietary needs. I always put salt and butter. Then from there any of the following liquid options will help smooth things out, depending on the taste you want.

  • Salt
  • butter

liquid options:

  • milk
  • cream
  • buttermilk
  • broth (chicken or veggie)


Step five: Season it to perfection

This is the fun part! This is where you can add endless combinations to your hearts delight.

To finish your mash, top with or mix in:

  • crispy bacon
  • roasted garlic
  • chipotle peppers in adobo
  • grated cheese like parmesan, cheddar or other cheeses
  • crumbled cheese like chevre, feta, blue cheese, etc.
  • fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, oregano, basil, thyme, sage, savory, etc.
  • dried spices like thyme, oregano, sage, warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc.
  • sweetener like honey, maple syrup, etc.
  • olive tapenade
  • chopped nuts like walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, etc.
  • fruits like sauteed apple or roasted pears or get creative!


Bonus: What meals to serve your completed mash with

Of course I would say anything!

But there are specific things that veggie mashes go with including:

  • Holiday meals
  • Meat loaf
  • Steaks
  • Roast chicken or fish
  • Side dishes that accompany a veggie mash well include hearty salads and steamed greens
  • Shepherd's Pie/Cottage Pie


Bonus: How to make-ahead and reheat

If you know me or have read many of my blog posts or newsletters, I am a make-ahead queen. That's practically all I do! Then I can get my husband to heat things up while I nurse my daughter or read with both of my daughters in the evening. :) Or we can spend more time outside after work as family time.

So if that rings a bell or if your stove is so full that you want to make your mash ahead to save space/time, here's the easiest way to reheat it without making it too runny.

To reheat your mash:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Put in casserole dish or other oven proof dish. (I like to use pyrex glass storage containers that have lids to put everything into. Then I don't have to transfer it later to reheat.)
  3. Cover with foil.
  4. Reheat in warm oven until warmed through, about 30 minutes.

So go ahead and make it ahead. I promise it will be really good still!


Here is a partial list of our favorite mashed veggie combos:

  • Carrots/Rutabaga: Rutabaga and Carrot Puree (recipe found here)
  • Celeriac/Potato: Creamy Potato and Celeriac Mash (recipe found here)
  • Delicata Winter Squash: Delicious Delicata Holiday Casserole (recipe found here)
  • Kale/Potatoes/Leeks: Irish Colcannon (recipe found here)
  • Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi Puree (recipe found here)
  • Parsley Root/Potatoes: Mashed Potatoes with Parsley Root (recipe found here)
  • Parsnips/Carrots: Mashed Carrots and Parsnips (recipe found here)
  • Parsnips/Apples:  Parsnip and Apple Puree (recipe found here)
  • Potatoes/Garlic: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (recipe found here)
  • Rutabaga/Potatoes: Rutabaga Puree (recipe found here)


    Aaaaaand... If I may ask, what is your favorite recipe for the perfect mashed veggie combination??

    Please share here in the comment section to help inspire others (and help me build my veggie recipe list)!


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    Comments (4)

    When I lived in rural West Virginia, it was a revelation to me that many people grew large amounts of both potatoes and purple-top turnip bulbs in order to mash them together for their most regular winter savory side dish. Such a simple combination and amazingly tasty...even if one needs to go very light on the salt and butter! Surely, one thing that is missing in the Northern New England diet is bitter greens of the mustard family. I wonder why? There is nothing that one craves more than a side dish of turnip greens, mustard greens or the bitter leafy broccolis...Why is it that only the Japanese, the Chinese and the southern Appalachians know about bitter greens? And if one desires something light and sweet, nothing compares with collards which has the highest calcium content of all culinary greens. As for the lettuce family, the escaroles are the strongest tasting that beats out all the other lettuces, hands down. Escarole is far more reliable in taste and as a storage salad green than, for instance, arugula, and the leaves are huge and juicy. Escarole also doubles as a delicate cooking green. But to get back to my original thought concerning turnips, where are they?! The roots for winter storage are far better, to my taste buds, than rutabaga and the greens are fabulous (although they lose their flavor quickly once harvested). I also know, back in the late 1970s and early 80s, that I brought huge kale leaves from the garden beds (where only the huge kale and brussels sprouts plants continued to reside) into the house for our New Years Eve Feast-the green leaves thickly coated in ice that were the sweetest and freshest taste of kale I have ever experienced... I am feeling nostalgic for such wonders from the more southern gardens of my memories on this crisp autumn morning.

    Hey Mary Margaret, I am realizing that the following recipe has nothing to do with mashed...unless one wants to serve the stew into a 'bowl' made by the ladle, of mashed potatoes. The desert could have been baked, mashed apples, topped with freshly whipped cream (for those who do dairy), drizzled with honey, and sprinkled with toasted walnuts, cinnamon, all-spice and nutmeg. Anyway, here ya go... Because of food sensitivities, I generally avoid gluten, dairy, tomatoes and most foods associated with the Lily family...onions, leeks, garlic, etc. I've come to the point that plain and simple is fine but feel the need to "spice it up" for family or friends. One such opportunity presented itself when I was visiting my folk out west. I was on vacation. My relations were still working during the day and I wanted to have ready, a nice meal that we could all enjoy. Stew was easiest. I am guessing that I purchased at the grocery store, enough chicken thighs that they would make-up about one-quarter of the final stew (I think industrialized nations often eat w-a-y to much meat and not enough veggies, especially dark greens). Into the cart also went...pre-cut root veggies (carrots, taters, radishes...I am always looking for reds), celery, zucchini and summer squash, red and yellow sweet pepper, spinach, arugula (adds a mouth-feel...similar to mono sodium glutamate) and parsley. 'Caramel' is the flavor I was seeking. This meant I had to bake the chicken so that the skin would have a crispy, toasted flavor and saute the veggies. At home, the thighs were topped with a store-bought poultry seasoning and put into the oven at 350F, for about an hour. While they were cooking, I may have prepared a green salad, topped with the red pepper, cucumbers, parsley and a handful of pine nuts. When finished, I cut the poultry into bite sized pieces, skin and all. Into a pot with oil (Safflower...sunflower... olive...? Don't remember.), I placed the root veggies and squash and sauteed until not quite cooked through. To these, I added the chicken, (and probably the juices it created during the baking process), the arugula and water to cover everything. Braggs Liquid Aminos (a fancy name for their gluten-free 'soy sauce' that I use in place of salt), toasted sesame oil, canned beans (probably pinto) and spices from the cabinet (thyme, rosemary, basil, mustard powder, etc.) rounded out the goodies. To blend the flavors, I let this simmer for a little over an hour, tasting and adjusting as I went. I wanted some nice, bright colors and so added the spinach, some parsley leaves, and possibly small cuts of sweet pepper, right before serving, giving them just enough time to cook but not fade. Served with the green salad and toasted bread, I was later told it was the best stew they had ever eaten. It was a lot of work, which means that I am so happy that my husband loves to cook and does most of it here at home! Dessert probably consisted of sliced red apples, topped with blue berries, drizzled honey and a powdered mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Yum! I am thinking that the addition of some Burgundy to that stew would have added a nice flavor, too. As to all of the fat, I find I feel better if I eat that, than a lot of sugar or carbs via breads, chips, crackers, etc. So far, doing okay with cholesterol. The last time I remember having it checked (about 10 years ago), the nurse told me my numbers were so good that I ought to do cartwheels down the hall... :) Jeff, on the other hand, prefers to avoid too much fat and would likely have given that chicken skin to the cat! Anyway, your choice!

    chunky mash of carrots, red peppers and various kimchis and ferments. As our green tomatoes are slowly turning orange in the fall, I'll add one of them Sometimes the kimchis and tomato mix into the mash better if they are slightly immersion blended first.

    Thank you for inspiring me to try a mashed veggie combo! I used equal parts boiled and mashed potatoes, carrots, and turnip, to which I added chopped scallions and chopped oven-roasted broccoli (roasted with garlic-infused olive oil and salt). A little additional salt and pepper for spice and butter and half-and-half for creaminess. Simple and delicious and a perfect side dish for roasted chicken.