Autumn Root Vegetable Mash

19 Sep

Autumn is in the air.  Although it’s still officially summer, the days are getting cooler and I no longer live a life of leisure (tear!).  While I’m sad to part with the joys of summer, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about Autumn that I love.  New beginnings, leaves changing colours, warm vests, Thanksgiving.  And the food!  Pumpkin, squash, apples, root vegetables…  the list goes on.

To pay homage to the beginnings of autumn, I thought I would stray from my typical dinnertime starches (rice, quinoa, pasta) and make a root vegetable mash.  The trio of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips alone would have been tasty but the recipe called for the addition of roasted garlic cloves and caramelized onions.  You can never go wrong with a combination like that.

Root Vegetables: Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Potato

Preparing this dish required a bit more effort than ordinary mashed potatoes but it helped dress up an otherwise simple meal of steamed broccoli and Cajun salmon (more on that another day).  As a bonus, the dish can be made in advance and re-heated gently on the stovetop just before serving.  I’d say the results were well worth the effort!

Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic


Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic  (adapted from Rose Reisman’s Family Favorites)

8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed parsnips
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped Vidalia onion (about half of a large onion)
1-1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
freshly chopped parsley (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Individually wrap the garlic cloves in foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes or until tender.  Allow to cool, remove the skin and set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips in 3 separate large pots with enough cold water to cover them.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat and boil the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender, the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender, and the parsnips for 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain and place in 1 large pot, cover and set aside.  Alternatively, if you have time you can cook in batches using one pot, e.g. first cook potatoes then drain and set aside, next cook sweet potatoes, etc.  This saves on dishwashing!
  3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray, add the oil, and set over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and saute for 10 minutes or until softened and browned.  Reduce the heat to low, add the brown sugar and garlic, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  4. Partially mash the potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and roasted garlic using a potato masher.  Add the sauteed onion, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve immediately.  Can be prepared up to one day in advance.  Reheat gently on the stove until warm.

Makes 4 generous servings.  Per serving: 240 kcal, 6.5 g fat, 5.1 g fibre, 100 mg sodium

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