QUICK AND EASY: SKINNY CARROT AND PARSNIP PUREE

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IMG_3627Looking for a “skinny” but creamy side–like Cauliflower Mock Mashed or Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin–but want to add more color to your plate? Here’s a flavorful 70 calorie a cup dish that’s a great alternative and dairy free: Skinny Carrot and Parsnip Puree.

Carrots and Parsnips are both loaded with fiber and nutrition…but pureed carrots  alone can be a little too sweet and lack the body and bite that comes from mixing them with parsnips.

IMG_3526And by using almond milk rather than cow’s milk, you cut calories (unsweetened almond milk has just 40 calories a cup) while adding more nutritional value.

Depending on whether you’re roasting your entree in the oven…or cooking it outside or on the stove, I’ve given you 2 methods for this dish to choose from.  (When roasting a chicken, I just roast the veg. If grilling or pan cooking an entree, I’ll boil the veg. You do what you need to do.)

SKINNY CARROT AND PARSNIP PUREE

IMG_7782(This recipe makes 4 cups of puree. I usually double it for our family of 4 just so I have it in the fridge for the next few days.)

1 lb carrots

1 lb parsnips

big pinch dried oregano (1/4-1/2 t)

big pinch dried thyme (1/4-1/2 t)

1 t kosher salt (more, if you need to)

1 T Smart Balance Light

1/2 to 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened “plain” almond milk  (Boiled veg will take less, roasted veg will need more.)

STOVE TOP METHOD:

IMG_3476Peel carrots and parsnips, cut into chunks or thick slices, put into a stainless steel saucepan with the dried herbs and fill to the top with water.  (You can get a little heavy handed with the herbs, about 1/2 t each, when boiling since some will be lost when you drain after cooking.) Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until fork tender, about 20-25 minutes.

IMG_3485Drain into a colander but quickly return the carrots and parsnips to the pan, add salt and Smart Balance Light and put back on the warm burner with heat off.

Let it sit for a few minutes for Smart Balance to melt and salt to absorb.

IMG_3497Using your immersion blender, begin pureeing the veg right in the pan, adding 1/2 cup to 1 cup of almond milk until the texture is right for you. (Boiling the veg will leave them very moist so just add almond milk as you need it. )

Taste for seasonings, adding a bit more salt if you like.

OVEN METHOD:

Preheat oven to 425.

IMG_3467Peel and chop carrots and parsnips lengthwise into skinny strips or thin slices rather than thick chunks. (When oven roasting, you want them cut more delicately so they cook more quickly without going brown.)

Toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 t of each herb and roast 20-25 minutes until tender, stirring once or twice during cooking.

IMG_3471IMG_3474Remove to a large bowl, add Smart Balance Light and salt and begin to puree. (The veg will be more firm after roasting so you’ll need to start adding in the 3/4 cup to 1 and a half cups of almond milk earlier to get the puree going.) Keep whirling until the texture IMG_3502you prefer. Again, taste for seasonings, adding a little more salt if you need it.

(If making ahead, put into an oven safe baking dish that you can cover with foil and re-heat in the oven, or cover with a damp paper towel and reheat in microwave.)

PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD

P1020847For a couple of years, I was careful to use “Plain” not “Vanilla” almond milk for this dish. But paying more attention to Mad Men on TV than my Mad Cooking in the Kitchen one night, I accidentally used the vanilla type. It was delicious.  The next time I made it, serving with an Indian Spiced Grilled Chicken, I added a pinch of cinnamon and allspice and a few raisins to the mix and left it all a little more chunky..It was a completely different dish, but fantastic with the meal that night!

RE-USE, RE-PURPOSE, RE-CYCLE

Even though I always double or triple this recipe, there are rarely leftovers…But when there are, I’ve tossed them into Sting’s Favorite Winter Squash Soup or Golden Cauliflower Soup.

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
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