You know the things you love about mashed potatoes? Their creamy texture, with just the right amount of chunks. Their incredible versatility—used as a standalone side dish, a bed for stews or sautés, or, perhaps, a dip. (Before you laugh, think about the last time you had meatloaf…) Well, other vegetables can offer up the same pleasures while lending their own earthy, sweet, or colorful character.
Poor carrots often get overlooked for starring roles. They’re relegated to crudités platters or given an obligatory turn in a soup or casserole. But carrots are fantastic; they’re sweet and mild, and they offer up that vibrant tangerine color. Simmer carrot chunks until tender, and mash just as you would spuds—with a little butter, a splash of dairy, and seasonings.
Recipe to try: Carrot Mash with Crème Fraîche
Cauliflower just keeps on coming on—we see no signs of its popularity waning. With its neutral flavor and white color, it can easily mimic potatoes when mashed, which is why it was an early favorite with the first members of the low-carb club. When it comes to mashed cauliflower, you have two delicious options: Boil or steam florets until tender, then blend in a food processor for ultra-smooth results (you probably won’t need any additional liquid). Or roast florets for deeper, more concentrated flavor, add a little milk, and mash with a potato masher for a chunkier result.
Recipe to try: Cauliflower and Green Onion Mash
Mushy peas are a legit “thing” in England, but less popular stateside. Abroad, they’re often served with a Sunday roast, or alongside fish and chips. We think they belong pretty much everywhere—try them as a side dish, a spread for your morning toast (excellent topped with a fried egg), a bruschetta topping, or a “sauce” for pasta.
Recipe to try: Chunky Fish Fingers with Pea and Mint Puree
Sweet, earthy, and downright delicious, rutabagas are a root vegetable you should get to know. They’re often labeled “yellow turnips,” though they are not a type of turnip; they’re denser, larger (roughly grapefruit size), with a sweeter flavor reminiscent of cooked cabbage. You’ll know them by the waxy coating outside. Because they’re so dense, they can be tricky to prep (i.e., they’re hard to cut through). Cut a slice off either end with a sturdy knife to give you flat surfaces, stand the rutabaga on a cutting board, and cut the tough, wax-coated skin away with a knife. Boil as you would potatoes, and mash to your liking.
Recipe to try: Rutabaga Champ (which does, admittedly, also contain potatoes—but only a small amount)