Replace The Taters With Vegetable Purees!

Looking for innovative and tantalizing side dishes for your Easter or Passover celebration? Why not ditch the baked potatoes and introduce your family to a whole new way of eating? Many cooks put their creative energy into preparing an extraordinary main course but neglect to supplement the meal with something equally special.

Vegetable puree can be served alone, mixed in with mashed potatoes or made into a flavorful soup. Broccoli, parsnip, celery root, celery, cauliflower, squash, rutabaga, beet and turnips all work well as purees with very little effort. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, these colorful side dishes are naturally low in fat and scrumptious.

My personal favorite is cauliflower puree because it tastes like a fluffy, rich and creamy version of mashed potatoes. In fact, your family will be shocked it isn't mashed potatoes, it tastes better. And best of all with a mere fraction of the calories and carbs of the tater variety!

I also enjoy celery root puree, which is as uniquely delicious as celery root is ugly. This midwinter vegetable looks like a mangled blob that should have been left underground. But don't be dissuaded! It is so tasty. Follow these puree recipes using any of the previously mentioned vegetables.

Cauliflower Puree

1 large head of cauliflower
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
salt
freshly ground pepper
small bunch of fresh chives

1. Take the cauliflower, trim and remove the entire core. Cut into 4 or 5 large pieces.
2. Place in a microwaveable dish, cover with plastic wrap and cook for 7 minutes.
3. Place the cooked cauliflower in a blender or food processor and add the buttermilk, salt and pepper to taste. Blend or process until smooth.
4. Pour into serving dish and garnish with chopped chives.

Variations:
For a thicker puree, hold back on the buttermilk, adding just a splash at a time until you get the desired consistency. For soup, add 1½ cups of chicken broth to puree and blend. Serve hot. You can also mix this puree into mashed potatoes for a more robust side dish.
 
Celery Root Puree

1 pound of celery root
1 large russet (baking) potato
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
salt
freshly ground pepper

1. Cook the potato in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes, until skin begins to burst. The potato will be ready when you can easily stick a fork into it. When the potato is cool enough for handling, remove skin and mash by hand or in a food processor.
2. Peel and cube the celery root and microwave in bowl covered with plastic wrap for 9 minutes.
3. Place the buttermilk and cooked celery root in blender or food processor and blend or process until smooth.
4. Add the mashed potato and blend again. Salt and pepper to taste.

Variations:
For soup, leave out the mashed potato and use the same variation as suggested above for the cauliflower puree. Add your own signature to these recipes by adding herbs and spices that you enjoy.

Experiment with some of the other vegetables listed at the beginning and consider mixing these purees together for delectable vegetable blends. Yummy and healthy to boot!

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