RECIPE: This Thanksgiving, the possibilities are endless. And sometimes pureed.

Thanksgiving isn't what you imagined? Reimagine your menu with a Roasted Garlic and Parsnip Puree. (Kellie Hynes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Thanksgiving isn't what you imagined? Reimagine your menu with a Roasted Garlic and Parsnip Puree. (Kellie Hynes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Kellie Hynes

Credit: Kellie Hynes

Throw your apron to the ground and raise a spatula in the air: 2020 is the year we rebel against Thanksgiving traditions. (Unless you love Thanksgiving traditions, in which case I hope your mac and cheese is the gooey-est.)

This year’s turkey day will be different for many of us, my family included. Our college boy is coming home, and we’re locking down for the week, lest we expose our extended family to any cooties. But if you’re looking at your measuring cup as half full, a world of possibilities open up if you’re feeding five, not 25. When it’s “just us,” you can gobble PB&Js off paper plates and watch football all day. Or serve your family’s celebratory meal, the one usually reserved for birthdays and good report cards. Or you can skip the bird entirely and make a meal of appetizers, sides and desserts, which is what my dill dip, canned cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie-loving people will do.

This parsnip puree is a jazzy, savory side dish that usurps traditional mashed potatoes. Parsnips resemble white carrots, with a peppery bite that gives a spicy buzz minus the spices. This recipe happens to be vegan, but you don’t have to be dairy-free to appreciate the creamy goodness of roasted garlic. In fact, if you really, really love garlic, you can add two heads. When it’s just us, no one cares if you need a mint.

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2020 has been a year of the unexpected, so why not add Roasted Garlic and Parsnip Puree to your Thanksgiving menu? (Kellie Hynes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
2020 has been a year of the unexpected, so why not add Roasted Garlic and Parsnip Puree to your Thanksgiving menu? (Kellie Hynes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Kellie Hynes

Credit: Kellie Hynes

Roasted Garlic and Parsnip Puree
  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds parsnips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley, plus additional for garnish
  • 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more if needed
  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Peel the excess outer layers of skin from the garlic head, leaving just enough to hold the cloves together. Cut 1/4 inch off the top of the head to expose the cloves. Brush 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the garlic head, pushing the oil in between the cloves. Wrap the garlic head tightly in aluminum foil, and place it on a small baking sheet. Place the garlic in the oven and bake until the center cloves are soft and the outer cloves caramelize, about 45 minutes. Set aside.
  • Peel, trim, and cut the parsnips into 3-by-1-inch pieces. Toss the parsnips with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley. Spread the parsnips in a single layer on a second baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast during the garlic’s final 30 minutes of roasting, shaking and rotating the pan after 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the roasted parsnips to the bowl of a food processor and pulse 20 times. Use a sharp knife to extract the garlic cloves from the heads, then press the cloves with your fingers to add the garlic paste to the parsnips. Add the vegetable broth and process until creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Thin with additional broth if desired. Garnish with more parsley and serve hot. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 220 calories (percent of calories from fat, 20), 3 grams protein, 43 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fiber, 5 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 260 milligrams sodium.

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