Mashed root vegetables add colour to your plate and tang to an otherwise plain meal | #24CarrotDiet | turnip | carrot | potato | side dish recipes | vegetables | Swedish food

Best Vegetable Recipes Ever: Sweet, Tangy Root Vegetable Mash Will Kick Plain Potatoes Off Your Plate!

Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and beets are popular foods for fall and winter because they store well. Along with winter squash, they are vegetable crops that generally take a longer time to reach maturity. We harvest them at the end of the growing season. By that time, the plant has had lots of time to store sugars in the roots. Around the same time the weather starts to turn cold, our bodies begin to crave squash soup and stews thick with root vegetables.

Besides being well suited for long storage, root vegetables also provide fibre, starch, and low-glycemic complex carbohydrates. When we eat them, we tend to feel full and to stay full longer. This is important during the cold weather when we might otherwise sit around nibbling on less healthy foods. That feeling of satiety can mean that we will eat less during meal times. It may also help prevent between meal snacking. Eating root vegetables regularly throughout the winter is just one strategy for maintaining a healthy diet and preventing holiday weight gain.

Mashed root vegetables add colour to your plate and tang to an otherwise plain meal
Rotmos is a tangy side dish made of mashed root vegetables – 24 Carrot Diet

 

Humble Root Vegetables for Special Occasions

While root vegetables may seem very earthy and humble, they can become the stars of a meal if you know how to cook them. Sweet potatoes and carrots contain a ton of vitamin A. Their bright orange colour reminds us how nutritious they are. Plain old boiled potatoes scored the highest of 38 foods on the satiety index. Compared to other foods, you need to eat less of them to feel full. One study even showed that if you eat boiled potatoes with a pork steak, you’ll eat less during your meal. The boiled potatoes also produced less of an insulin spike than rice or pasta. And potatoes may even affect how your body responds to the “hunger hormone,” ghrelin.

The rutabaga, also called yellow turnip or swede, is a new vegetable for a lot of people. I was actually surprised by this when I first wrote about turnips. It seems many of my readers and social media connections have never eaten either a turnip or a rutabaga. I heard from, a lot of people who said they’d been nervous about trying these root vegetables. Many decided they wanted to try them after reading about the different ways you can cook turnips. You probably didn’t know that the turnip is related to cabbage and other brassicas. If you eat the turnip greens, you can taste the similarity to leafy green vegetables like kale or collards. But that connection isn’t as obvious if you’re just eating the root.

Rotmos, Mashed Root Vegetables

I first had root mash when I worked at a chronic care hospital, where the cafeteria served it regularly. Their version of the traditional Swedish dish was very simple: basically just carrots and rutabaga boiled together and mashed. I loved the tangy taste of the rutabaga with the sweet carrots. When I started making root mash at home, I cooked it very simply. And because I liked the smooth look of the mash when it was pureed for patients who had difficulty chewing, I often pureed my own root mash to make it smoother.

A traditional rotmos is a bit more involved than just boiling carrots and rutabaga together, though. In Sweden, there is a dish called fläsklägg med rotmos, or ham hock with root mash. To prepare this dish, you cook onions and carrots in a pot with a cured ham hock. When the meat comes away from the bone, you remove it from the pot and add more root vegetables. Cook the vegetables in the ham broth until tender, then mash them. Most recipes include rutabaga and potatoes. But you’ll also see some recipes that call for parsnips or the root of Hamburg parsley.

I’ve chosen to create a recipe that includes the ham hocks, since this recalls a Québécois Christmas dish that I love. Since it’s rare to find Hamburg parsley in North America, my recipes calls for parsnips. But if you can’t find parsnips at your grocery store or farmer’s market, just use a little extra rutabaga.

 

 

Mashed Root Vegetables, The Recipe

2-1/2 lb cured ham hocks
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1/2 carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks
5 whole allspice berries
a few peppercorns

4-1/2 carrots
2-3 parsnips
1 medium rutabaga or 2-3 medium turnips

6 potatoes

1-2 tbsp butter (vegan butter or margarine, for vegan-friendly option)
a little ground nutmeg or allspice
a handful of chopped Italian parsley (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a heavy pot with about 3 cups water, cook the ham hocks with the onion, half carrot, allspice, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, covered; reduce heat and simmer about 2 hours or until the meat comes away from the bones.

  2. When the meat is almost cooked, peel and dice the root vegetables. Keep the peels and end bits of the vegetables for your soup bag.

  3. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Strain out the whole spices and any really big pieces of onion that remain. Add the carrots, parsnips, and rutabaga to the pot. Cover and return to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes.

  4. Add potatoes and cook about 15 minutes more, or until the vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and drain, reserving the cooking liquid.

  5. Mash the vegetables, adding the butter and just enough of the cooking liquid to make the root mash smooth. The traditional way to serve rotmos is with a little bit of the chunks still in it. But I like to mash very well, or even to puree the root vegetables. You can do this with an immersion blender to speed things up a bit. Taste before adding salt and pepper, as the ham hocks are salty and you’ll have cooked the vegetables along with the peppercorns.

  6. Serve the mashed root vegetables alongside a portion of meat stripped from the ham hocks. Spoon a little of the cooking liquid over the meat, or use it to make gravy. Add a leafy green vegetable such as garden peas, kale or turnip greens to the plate for colour

Serves 6-8 people

Variations:

  1. If you can’t find cured ham hocks (pig’s knuckles) you can substitute a bone-in ham.

  2. To make just the mashed root vegetables, omit the ham hocks and cook in 3 cups of vegetable stock. Since there’s no meat to cook, put all the vegetables except the potatoes in the stock and cook for 30 minutes only. Add the potatoes and cook another 15 minutes.

  3. If you have a garden, consider growing Hamburg parsley for this dish. Like many other root vegetables, it’s dual purpose. You can eat the parsley greens throughout the summer while the roots are maturing. In the fall, harvest the roots. They taste like parsnips, but with a hint of parsley. Use the roots instead of the parsnips in this recipe; substitute the greens for the Italian parsley.

  4. Feel free to experiment with other root vegetables. I have seen recipes that include celeriac root and even sweet potatoes. You might also try adding peeled kohlrabi roots to the mash. The leaves of the kohlrabi make a lovely cooked green.

 

Helpful Hints:

  1. When you cook rotmos and ham hocks, save the bones for making pea soup. Or add them to your soup bag and use them to make a meaty stock.
  2. Save any leftover cooking liquid in labelled jars for later use, or freeze in ice cube trays for smaller portions.
  3. If you have small amounts of leftover root vegetables, you can use them to make a small batch of creamy root vegetable soup.

 

Want to pin this post for later? Feel free to use the graphic below:

Root vegetable mash with ham hocks | #24CarrotDiet | Mashed carrots, rutabaga, and other root vegetables served with cured pork and cooked greens | Vegan option
Mashed root vegetables are a tangy alternative to plain mashed potatoes
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Graphic made in Canva using a licensed image by Craig Dugas/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Original content © 2017 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter
Rotmos photo by Craig Dugas/Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!

44 thoughts on “Best Vegetable Recipes Ever: Sweet, Tangy Root Vegetable Mash Will Kick Plain Potatoes Off Your Plate!”

  1. You described the dish, Rotmos (Mashed Root Vegetables) as carrots and rutabaga boiled together and mashed. You spoke of this dish as having a delicious tangy taste because of the mixture of the rutabaga with the sweet carrots. I can appreciate the fact of this being good for patients. They would get that that good Vitamin A from the carrots to help them recuperate. As a child carrots was one of the few vegetables I would eat. As an adult I continue my love affair with carrots.

    1. I was a huge carrot eater as a child. At one point, I ate so many carrots that the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet turned orange! Like you, I still eat a lot of carrots. I include them in so many different dishes. We eat them almost daily.

    1. It’s so important to introduce vegetables to our kids when they’re small and to keep on serving them a wide variety of healthy foods. I think part of the reason so many kids dislike vegetables is that we start out giving them the narrow variety of veggies available in baby food, and then we tend to narrow our selection even more. If they aren’t eating vegetables when they’re small and they don’t see Mom & Dad enjoying vegetables, they won’t want to eat them later.

  2. Wow! Kyla, I love your recipe super easy to follow and very comprehensive. I will surely make one at home but I’ll use different ingredients as well, I’ll probably add sweet potatoes and beets that’ll be for me but for my hubby he realy love potatoes so I’ll do potatoes for him. I’m sure he will love your recipe. Thanks for sharing it!
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    1. You will have to let me know how it turns out, Alexine. I have never tried root vegetable mash with sweet potato, though I think it would be delicious. Beets would really change the colour a flavour a great deal. It will be interesting to see how you tweak the recipe if you add beets to it 🙂

  3. Ooh these all look amazing! My plan for the new year is to eat more vegetables and you have some great ways to make them more exciting! I think even my children might just try them!

    1. I think we could all do with eating more vegetables. I know it’s one of the things I want to do this year.

      Kids will often eat a new food if it’s introduced with one they know and like. So if you’re trying to get them to try rutabaga, serving it in a root vegetable mash like this is a great way to introduce it 🙂

    1. Most recipes can be tweaked. Switching up ingredients is a great way to return to a favourite recipe often without making it boring. I hope you’ll let me know if you try one of the suggested variations, or one of your own. I’d love to know how it turns out!

  4. You made it so easy to manage. I always love healthy recipes like this. Thanks for the tip, now I know what to use for stocks.

    1. I’m glad you found the recipe helpful, Hannah. You’re going to love making stocks from kitchen scraps. We just had turkey soup last night. The broth was made with the carcass from our Christmas turkey and peels from our root vegetable mash. It was delicious!

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the post, Sudipta! We are avowed omnivores, but I very much love my vegetables. I never feel as if we are eating enough of them, so I am trying hard to include more in my meals.

    1. This recipe is close to the traditional Swedish rotmos, and so it has quite a bit of potato in it. If you like your root vegetables a lot, you can tweak the amounts a bit. you might like it with a bit more carrots and rutabaga, and a little less potato 🙂

  5. I love several root vegetables and eat them often. My favorite is rutabagas but I didn’t even consider making them for Christmas. I’ve got to remember to do that next year.

  6. I literally love vegetables and will be trying this! Vegetables are one of the only healthy foods I enjoy lol. Awesome recipes!

  7. I like carrots but I don’t love them but maybe you inspired me to use them in my kitchen more regularly. Let’s see what 2018 thinks about it^^

    1. I’d never thought of it either, until I had the mashed carrots and turnips at work. I later discovered that there’s quite a tradition for such dishes in many different countries. My mother-in-law used to make “tatties and neeps,” which is mashed potatoes and turnips. It’s a very common dish in Scotland, and popular for a Burn’s night dinner 🙂

  8. I really learned a lot about root vegetables. I am surprised by how it causes less of an insulin spike, being that it is starchy you would think just the opposite. Great recipe too, thanks for sharing.

    1. That does seem surprising after everything we’ve been told about potatoes, doesn’t it Jen? It only apples to boiled potatoes, though – not to fries or potato chips, for example. And this is compared with white rice and pasta made from white flour. There’s less fibre in those foods than in the potatoes. So it makes sense if we think about it a bit.

  9. This recipe sounds so delicious! I’m going to PIN it so I can try it with my family. I’m sure it’s going to be a hit. I love root vegetables and can’t believe that there are so many people who have never eaten turnips. Turnips, yams, sweet potatoes and potatoes are just so hearty and good for you – especially in a stew. Thank-you for the lovely read.

    1. Stew has always been my #1 way to include root vegetables like turnips in our diet. Come the fall, I start looking forward to all the different ways I can use root vegetables in soups and stews 🙂

      Thanks so much for popping by, Nicole!

    1. Oh my goodness, I have a tough time thinking of root vegetables as bland! Sweet potatoes, beets, rutabaga, and carrots all have such lovely colour. And they all have quite pronounced flavour too. Some are sweet, some earthy. All are delicious! I always look forward to the fall harvest so I can eat my fill of them 🙂

  10. Kyla, this post is amazing. Filled with valuable facts. Here’s a little confession, not until this past recent Thanksgiving, I have never tried Turnip. Not until reading this post to find out that turnips are related to cabbage. The recipe sounds delicious. I have pinned it to try for my family. I love beets by the way, was glad to read that first 🙂

    1. I love beets too, Mirlene! I can’t wait to write about them too 🙂

      You know, you are not at all alone when it comes to trying turnips for the first time in adulthood. It seems a great many North Americans have never cooked turnips of any kind for their families. And as for not realizing turnips are brassicas, that was not obvious! I love to look at the botanical classification of plants. But somehow I had overlooked turnips for many years. Maybe I just assumed they were related to carrots (which doesn’t make sense at all if you look at the greens.) It’s only very recently that I looked into turnips and realized they’re brassicas too. I love to share little tidbits like that!

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