Mashed potatoes are the ultimate holiday comfort side dish, but if you are on a health journey and avoiding nightshades, what to do? One easy option is to use sweet potato or even cauliflower, but there is something about parsnip and chestnut that I love. They are both fragrant, earthy, and sweet, much more than a potato or cauliflower.
A lectin-free ‘mash’ replacement for your Thanksgiving dinner
And unlike other plants that are available all year round, you only get chestnuts in the fall/winter, more like for a few weeks. So better take advantage of that.
Chestnuts have always been a favorite food, and I couldn’t wait for the first batch of the season. In my family, we mostly eat them boiled, and that’s how I like to prepare them. So when I found fresh chestnuts (that looked good) in the supermarket, I had to buy some and decided to re-make an alternative to mash potato that I previously served during holidays.
The problem with chestnuts is that sometimes they are not good. You cook them, and out of one, maybe only 4, 5 are good (when buying, choose chestnuts that are hard and seem full). An alternative is to buy them already cooked and peeled, but they are usually pretty expensive. This is the brand I used when I didn’t find fresh chestnuts.
Parsnips are always available in supermarkets and are fairly inexpensive.
A parsnip and chestnut puree with great nutritional value
With parsnips and chestnuts, we get a better nutritional value compared with a white potato mash.
Chestnuts are rich in fiber, vitamin C, folates, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and minerals.
For a fast and easy way to boil chestnuts, check out our article: Boiled Chestnuts, the Perfect Snack (in a Pressure Cooker).
Parsnips are a resistant starch, rich in folates, potassium, and vitamin C, and low in sugar (despite their sweet taste). Apparently, before the widespread use of sugar, in Europe, the parsnip was used as a sweetener.
These quantities make a small portion (for two). So double or triple the recipe if needed.
I hope you enjoy this parsnip and chestnut puree.
For another favorite way to use parsnips, check out our Parsnip Apple Cake with Rosemary and Olive Oil.
*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a small commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you
Parsnip and Chestnut Puree with Chives
A great lectin-free replacement for the traditional mashed potato side dish.
- 1 big parsnip, peeled and cubed
- about 7 chestnuts boiled
- about 1 tbsp butter
- a few tsp of non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened hemp milk) or heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 1 clove garlic, fresh thyme (I didn't use any, chives have a little bit of garlicky flavor)
- a handful of chopped fresh chives
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Boil the chestnuts first; they'll take about 30 to 40 minutes. You can take one out and taste it to check if they are done. Slice them in half and scoop out the white flesh. See the post above for a faster method. Alternatively, use pre-cooked chestnuts.
Meanwhile, boil the cubed parsnip until fork tender and drain when ready (it will take about 10-15 minutes max).
Mix the boiled parsnip, the chestnuts, and butter (and finely chopped garlic if using) in a food processor, until creamy. Add a little bit of non-dairy milk or heavy cream, especially if the texture seems too dry. Add salt and pepper to taste.
You can add to a serving bowl, top with chives and butter and eat. Alternatively, you can prepare it in advance, and at this point, you can put the puree in a glass container (without chives) and store it in the fridge. When it's time to eat, just add the puree to an oven-proof dish and warm it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Take out and add fresh chopped chives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil/butter.
The reason I didn't add garlic is that I love the chestnut and parsnip flavor, and I didn't want the garlic to be overpowering. But if you are a garlic fan, go ahead and add. I have an easy and fast recipe for boiling chestnuts; check out the post for the link. Alternatively, you can use pre-cooked chestnuts (the ones you can buy in a store).