It may technically be spring, but while below-freezing temperatures remain a daily occurance, the first growth of lettuce and hardy greens is still a few weeks off.  Meanwhile, I’m still eating my share of root vegetables.  Mixing your root vegetables in one dish is an easy way to add variety to your diet and a handy way to introduce new tastes in a familiar setting.  (This is true for both adults and kids, although kids have the reputation of being pickier!)  Select two or three favorites to mix with one new root.  Try to pick a few that are lower in starch than potatoes if you are at risk of developing diabetes or have diabetes.

This old stand-by is quite flexible, only uses one saucepan, and reheats wonderfully (don’t be scared off by the number of servings!).  The leftovers can also make a simple soup, or up to 2 cups can be mixed with an egg and baked or panfried to make “potato” cakes.  Substitute freely, but be sure all the vegetables are cooked thoroughly before mashing.

Root Vegetable Mash

Serves 6-8

2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks

2 small turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks

2 small potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2″ chunks

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 t thyme

2 T butter or olive oil

Place the turnips, carrots, and parsnips into a pot.  Cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the potatoes and garlic.  Add water to cover, if needed, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft.  Drain, reserving the cooking water.  Add the thyme and butter.  Mash with a potato masher, adding the cooking water (or milk, if you prefer) as needed to achieve your desired texture.  Return to the heat to warm completely, and season with salt and pepper if desired.  Enjoy!

Tip: Use the remaining cooking water as a broth to make soups and sauces, to cook grains, or to make any savory recipe that calls for broth.