Autumn Root Vegetable Purée

This purée is one of the components of our Chicken with Autumn Vegetables and Madeira. It’s also a wonderful vegetable side-dish for any braise or stew made during cool weather.–Frank Stitt

LC Uh, Dude, Your Mashed Potatoes Are Orange Note

A mash of a different sort, this eclectic comingling of root vegetables comes together in a rhapsody of rich flavors and russet colors. Just don’t tell family or friends to expect mashed potatoes, or they may look at you a little funny when you present this bowl of mash that’s tinged orange—though we think they’ll change their tune once they try a taste of these roots which have been seduced into silky smooth submission. Speaking of which, depending on your predilection for sweet versus bitter or what’s in your pantry, you can vary the proportion of veggies accordingly. Plop a dollop of this alongside some boozy Madeira-bathed roast chicken and you’ve got autumn on a plate.

Puréed Root Vegetable Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4


  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 1. In a medium saucepan, combine the turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and rutabagas, add a good pinch salt, and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes or so.
  • 2. Drain the vegetables, reserving a little of the cooking liquid. Return the vegetables to the pan and place over medium heat for 2 minutes to dry them out. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor, a food mill, or a bowl with a potato masher and process or pound the vegetables until beaten into silky smooth submission, or mash them in the pan with an immersion blender. Add the butter, salt, and pepper to taste and stir to combine. If a smoother, looser consistency is desired, beat in a little of the reserved cooking liquid. If necessary, reheat over low heat before serving.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Ayanna Fews

Oct 13, 2012

This was SO good! I used this as a side for a pot roast. I would usually have roasted potatoes—regular or sweet—or made regular mashed potatoes to serve alongside this dish. Bringing together this cast of characters in this way was something I never would have thought to do, but it was such a good idea! I wasn't sure how all the flavors would meld together, but they actually came together quite well. There was a subtle sweetness from the carrots and sweet potatoes which was nice. One added benefit that I really liked, given that I'm trying to watch my carbs, is that this ends up being a lower-carb option than mashed potatoes. This will definitely end up in my regular rotation. I don't have a food mill and I found that my potato masher alone didn't produce a purée or smooth consistency. I ended up putting the mashed vegetables in my food processor in small batches with the butter and a little liquid (I used the pan drippings from my roast). It definitely needed a little help to get to a smoother consistency.

Martha T.

Oct 13, 2012

This was delicious. It screamed late autumn—and here in Alaska where the leaves are gone already, it was perfect. The flavors were rich and comforting. If people at your Thanksgiving aren't sweet potato, sweet-tooth types, this would be an excellent alternative. I might add just a splash of cream to it next time. My cooking time was 30 minutes and I didn't have a food mill, so I used an immersion blender to mash it all up on the stove.

Karen Taylor

Oct 13, 2012

Delicious! This is a great way to get your fall veggies in. I will admit that I looked at the vegetable list and got worried that the purée would be too sweet, so I added a chopped, sautéed onion. I'm glad I did because I think it would have been too two-dimensional and sweet for me otherwise. The onion added a much needed hint of smoke from the low, slow browning. My veggies passed the toothpick test at 35 minutes of simmering. I can't wait to try this as a puréed soup, maybe with a cup of chopped butternut squash thrown in, too.

Bette Fraser

Oct 13, 2012

A brilliant way to introduce anyone to some usually unfamiliar root vegetables. The sweet potato is the dominate flavor and color and it marries well with the other vegetables. This was my husband's favorite new recipe in a long time and he's typically a regular mashed potato fan.

Robert McCune

Oct 13, 2012

We always do a variation on this at Thanksgiving. Our family recipe is carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, and sour cream. However, I followed this recipe as written. I cut the sweet potato and rutabega into 1-inch pieces (although I would maybe try 3/4 inch next time). I cooked them for 30 minutes and checked them. At this point, not all of the vegetables were
tender, so I cooked them for another 15 minutes. I decided to use a potato masher, because I like the texture I get with that better than what I get with a food mill. I added 3 tablespoons butter (I'd maybe add more next time!). I made sure I didn't oversalt the purée and added a generous amount of pepper. This recipe was a hit with my family. This may replace the traditional dish, or it may be served alongside it. We all agreed that this would be good with a spoonful of sour cream on top. We served this with our own recipe of chicken, mushrooms, and Madeira. Superb!

Mackenzie Campbell

Oct 13, 2012

This is a lovely side dish for the autumn months. I really like how it incorporates so many different root vegetables, which is pretty fun now that all those veggies are showing up in the markets. Then recipe is easy and interesting. It took about 40 minutes for all the vegetables to be cooked thoroughly. I used a potato masher because I don't have a food mill, so I think the texture was a bit different, but not bad. I think that this is a nice alternative to plain mashed potatoes. It also lends itself well to experimentation with herbs and spices, depending on what it's accompanying on the table. It just screams fall!

Steve Taylor

Oct 13, 2012

This is a really simple and tasty dish. When I roast or boil root vegetables and then purée them, as in this recipe, I tend to use more potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots, with smaller amounts of turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips to round out the flavors. I really enjoyed this dish, with the latter three vegetables playing a stronger role. It has a nice consistency even without the Yukon Golds I usually include in my mash. I used a potato masher instead of my food mill, though when I make this again, I'll use the mill or a ricer for a finer texture. I cut the sweet potato into 1-inch chunks and the rutabaga into slightly smaller pieces, and that seemed to work well.

Steve Dunn

Oct 13, 2012

I think sometimes we make food way too complicated. If you agree, then I have a dish for you. This healthy side is the definition of simplicity, yet it's so tasty you'll be pairing it with all sorts dishes throughout fall and winter. If you can peel, chop (a 3/4 inch dice worked nicely), boil, and purée, then you, too, can wow your family and friends with a dish that looks and tastes as though it came from a fancy restaurant kitchen. I deviated from the recipe slightly when making it. Rather than use my food mill (which I was too lazy to go fetch from the attic), I used my food processor to purée the vegetables and butter into silky smooth submission. I can imagine all sorts of ways to play with the ingredient list to twist and turn this purée in different directions. The result was at once elegant yet rustic, with fall's boldly sweet flavors leading the way to cool weather eating. Enjoy!

Marilee Johnson

Oct 13, 2012

This was a quick and easy recipe. It was a great combination of root vegetables and they blended together very well. It was a sweet mixture, but with the salt and butter, it was deliciously balanced. I cut the veggies into 1-inch pieces and they were done in 25 to 30 minutes. I don't have a food mill, so I used an old potato masher. It was a little more chunky than I like, but I didn't feel like getting the mixer out! I think it would even have more depth if the veggies were roasted and then mashed. This is a keeper—especially since I had leftover pot roast pair the purée with.

Sofia Reino

Oct 13, 2012

I’ve often made a purée similar to this one instead of mashed potatoes, as my daughters aren’t fans of the latter. What I love about it is the fact that you end up eating a great deal of vegetables without realizing it, as it tastes much like a potato purée yet with a sweeter quality. My daughters love it and it’d go tremendously well with any grilled meat or meat ragout.

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