October 06, 2011

Thanksgiving Week - Day 5: Beet-Parsnip Mash with Almond Parmesan

For Day 5 of Thanksgiving Week, I thought I would include a recipe for a side dish to add to your plate. Mashed potatoes are always a popular side dish at Thanksgiving, but when they come loaded with butter and cream and topped with gravy, they are not exactly the healthiest option!

So instead of the usual mashed potatoes, I made a healthier, more colourful, vegan mash out of beets and parsnips, and topped with almond parmesan!

I got the idea from Sweet Beet & Green Bean, who posted a recipe for parsnip puree with almond parmesan.  I really liked the sounds of both components of this dish, but to change it up a bit, I replaced some of the parsnips with beets.

I loved how this turned out! The texture of the mash was nice and creamy and the beets gave it a lot of flavour. Plus the colour was so pretty! But if you don't like beets, you could just replace them with more parsnips as in the original recipe.

My favourite part of this dish was definitely the almond parmesan. I never would have thought of blending almonds with nutritional yeast, but it turned out so well! I loved the cheesy flavour, and it was the perfect topping for the beet-parsnip mash. You can also save the leftovers to use as a topping for other dishes, like pasta or maybe popcorn!

Beet-Parsnip Mash with Almond Parmesan
Adapted from Sweet Beet & Green Bean

1.5 lbs parsnips (or use 2 lbs parsnips and leave out the beets)
1/2 lb beet (about 1 medium beet)
6 cups water
1.5 tsps salt, divided
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Peel and chop the parsnips. Trim the ends of the beet but leave it unpeeled.

Bring 6 cups of water with 1 tsp of salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the beet and boil on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. Then add the parsnips to the pot and boil for another 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.

Strain the parsnips and beet. Peel the beet and chop into small pieces.

In a food processor or blender, blend the parsnips and beets with the olive oil, almond milk, and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Serve warm, topped with a generous amount of almond parmesan (recipe below).

Makes 3-4 cups of mash (6-8 servings).

Almond Parmesan:
1/4 cup raw whole almonds
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp kosher salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and grind until the nuts are broken up and the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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