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Parsnips 10.jpg
Use 1/2 pound of parsnips per guest. (Image: Jenny Schultz / Seattle Refined)

Goodbye, mashed potatoes! Try parsnips this Thanksgiving

It may seem like Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes; but if you’re looking to do something a little different this year, you may want to turn to parsnips instead of potatoes.

First of all, parsnips are healthier than potatoes - and I know I can use all the help I can get during this decadent tradition! Parsnips also provide a divine texture and earthy flavor to the dish that potatoes always seem to lack.

I was first introduced to mashed parsnips when my friend and excellent Italian cook, James made them for me while I was pregnant. I’ve never forgotten how creamy and decadent they were and I instantly knew I would be replacing potatoes with parsnips from now on.

This dish has great complexity and will make your Thanksgiving instantly seem like a fancier affair!


  • 2 pounds parsnips (add ½ pound parsnips for every guest and adjust accordingly)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Chopped chives (optional)


  1. Peel the parsnips and chop them into blocks or strips.
  2. Submerge them in a pot of water and add one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of salt.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil and let cook until the parsnips are fork tender.
  4. Parsnips have a fibery texture that you can’t just boil and smash away. You need to blend them into a puree using your favorite kitchen tool! I use my small food chopper and it works just fine. (I hear the Vitamix is excellent for this, though.) Puree until velvety.
  5. While the parsnips are hot, add butter, nutmeg, cream and salt and pepper to taste. Put some chopped chives or ground pepper on top to make it pretty.
  6. Yum! Enjoy!