There’s a large bin in most produce sections that gets ignored by 99% of shoppers. This could be because the stuff in this bin is kind of strange looking or just because most of its contents are ugly!
Welcome to the root vegetable bin and I’d recommend that you stop for a second the next time you pass by it on your way to the Yukon potatoes. This section can be intimidating because the vegetables all kind of look the same, they are hardly ever labeled correctly, and they don’t really look like anything you’d want to put in your mouth.
But with a bit of faith, some peeling, and some butter, you can turn these ugly lumps into a mash that’s as good and interesting as any mashed potatoes I’ve ever had.
1) Peel your roots and chop them into 1 inch cubes.
2) Boil in lightly salted water until the roots are tender, about 10 minutes.
3) Drain roots, add in dairy, and mash with a fork, masher, and/or hand mixer until the mash gets to the consistency you want. It won't get perfectly creamy so don't worry about it.
4) Season with salt and pepper and serve with gravy or a slow cooked protein.
Dealing with the roots
This can be kind of a daunting area of the produce section because most of the time it’s not sorted well at all. Sometimes a supermarket employee can help you hunt through the bin, but mostly you’ll be on your own.
Here’s a primer on the three root veggies I used in this post that are almost always available.
Parsnips: Think of them as carrots without the orange. They don’t taste like carrots really, but otherwise they look identical.
Rutabaga: These guys are actually from the same family as turnips. Sometimes it’ll be hard to tell the difference between the two. Turnips sometimes have a reddish hue to them, but they don’t have to have that. Rutabaga are usually bigger but again, not always the case. For a dish like this, I think you could use either, but I went with rutabaga.
Celeriac or Celery Root: The ugly root of the veggie world. These guys look like they had a bad case of veggie acne.
Making the mash
This mash is very similar to a standard mashed potato dish. Once you get your veggies home, you need to peel them.
The only tricky part of peeling these guys is the celery root. With all it’s crags and notches, it’s kind of a beast to peel. Just keep shaving it down though or use a paring knife until all the skin is off and you’re left with a smooth orb of celery root.
Then dice all these roots up into 1 inch cubes. Now they will all kind of look the same and it won’t really matter what’s what.
Boil the veggie cubes in lightly salted water until they are tender. The celery root will float actually so stir it every few minutes to make sure they cook evenly.
My roots were tender after about 10 minutes of boiling.
Once your roots are done boiling, it’s important to work fast. You want to make sure to mash these guys while they are still piping hot.
One big note on this dish is that it’s a bit harder to mash these veggies if you’re used to just mashing potatoes. I started by draining the roots, adding my dairy, and mashing them with a fork. After some mashing, I switched to a hand mixer to finish it off.
The thing about this mash is that it just won’t get as smooth as a really creamy mashed potato. The roots are just a bit more rustic and no matter how much you mash and mix, there will be a few lumps.
That’s okay though. Don’t stress about it. The lumps are fine and the whole thing will end up being very delicious.
Feel free to add more or less dairy to get the texture you want and also taste the mash for salt and pepper.
This mash will shock people. It looks like mashed potatoes but has a tangy bite to it that works really well with a wide range of dishes.
It works best with heavier meat dishes or with gravy. It holds up great to those things.
I served mine with my crock pot short ribs that I made a few weeks ago. It was killer.
I really liked this, but I was surprised that Betsy said she liked it even more than mashed potatoes. I say I was surprised just because I know how much Betsy likes mashed potatoes. So that’s saying something!
This was my first veggie mash and I was really impressed by it. I’ll definitely be making this one again.
So dive into that root vegetable bin the next time you walk by and give this a shot!