Every time I buy either parsnips or rutabagas at the store, without fail, some one always asks me what do with them. Sunchokes too. No one seems to know what to do with those funny little tubers.

Smashed Parsnips and Rutabaga

Smashed Parsnips and Rutabaga

Parsnips are one of my favorite root veggies. They look like a white carrot and taste similar (and they are from the same family) but they have a more herbacious flavor and a starchier consistency. It’s always a toss up whether to cut them into sticks and roast with carrots or mash them up in a chunky purée. They also make great chips if you have a mandoline and can slice them thin enough to fry.

Rutabagas are a yellow turnip and unsurprisingly they are quite turnip-y in taste. They can grow to be huge in size. I’ve seen them almost as big as a basketball before. Stick to the baseball size ones because they are more tender and flavorful.

Parnsips and rutabagas

Parnsips and Rutabagas!

I cook them separately in a light water-cream mixture. Then I mash ’em together with extra butter and olive oil that’s been steeped with bay leaf. Don’t over smash these two or they get gummy.

Parsnips and rutabagas cooked in a cream and water mixture

Parsnips and rutabagas cooked in a cream and water mixture

The sweetness of the parsnip is a nice balance for the earthy rutabaga. A twist of cracked black pepper over the top, a must.

Smashed Rutabaga and Parsnip for Thankgiving!

Smashed Rutabaga and Parsnip for Thankgiving!




  • 5 large parsips, about 4pounds, peeled and cut into 1-inch circles
  • 2 baseball size rutabagas, peeled, and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or more, if you prefer)
  • 5 dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

In two pots add rutabagas and parsnips separately. Cover with water and add a cup of cream to each. Simmer on medium high heat until fork tender.

In a small sauce pot add olive oil and bay leaves on low heat. Bring the olive oil up to a gentle simmer and then turn off the heat and let the bay leaf infuse the oil.

When the roots are cooked, drain in a colander and reserve the cooking liquid. Combine the two root vegetables into a big pot and mash adding the cooking liquid, 1/4 cup olive oil, butter, and season with salt. Don't over mix or the roots will get gummy.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil over the top and twist of freshly cracked black pepper.