Roots Puree with Curry Gravy is comfort food

Just Comfort Food

Comfort Me With Food

It’s cold outside, and here in Minnesota, we’ve been cocooning for weeks. At times like this, it’s hard to keep from face-planting into anything at all that seems like it might replace the energizing effects of sunshine and warmth. Sugar, Salt and Fat are sending out a siren call. At times like this, I look for comfort food that packs a bunch of flavor, creaminess, and yes, real food goodness. A Creamy Roots Puree with Curry Cashew Gravy hits the spot.

Steamed Parsnips, Turnips and Whole Garlic Cloves, comfort food

Steamed Until Butter-Soft

Why Roots?

First and foremost, I have no beef with potatoes. I forget about them, honestly, because I’m thinking about whole grains when I put my menus together. I’m not potato-phobic, or anti-carb. But when it comes to a creamy, silky mash, I really think parsnips are so much sexier. Parsnips are like the sweet, mildly earthy cousin of the potato, once you cook them. For this puree, I snagged a huge turnip, really, it counted as two turnips. It’s my laziness that calls me to big vegetables, thinking, “I’ll only have to peel one!” and this turnip looked smooth and fresh, so there was no fear of it being a woody monster root.

Spice it up with Curry

From there, it was a matter of sauce. I had my fill of meaty tasting miso gravies over the holidays, so I was in the mood for something a little spicier. That craving for comfort food dictated that I wanted creaminess, so I went with raw cashews, for a rich, thick base. Curry spices felt warming and complex enough to keep me interested. I had fresh turmeric on hand for juices and smoothies, and love to add that to dishes as often as it makes sense. I’ve written about the incredible health benefits of turmeric before here, with a recipe for dal, too. I’m dedicated to keeping my brain as healthy as possible, and turmeric is part of that plan.

Roots Puree with Curry Gravy, comfort food

Creamy Roots Puree with Curry Cashew Gravy

So, yes, I ate it with a spoon, without expending any energy on pesky chewing. This would make a great side dish for a big salad, covered with Cauliflower and Spiced Nuts, or alongside a mess of Channa Dal. Kamut Naan with Banana Chutney would be divine.  Cauliflower Biryani would be another unexpected twist to serve alongside. A samosa or some Chapati might also be a good accompaniment. If you’re up for it, my Nut Curry Stuffed Squashes are a showstopper of a main course.

It’s starting to feel like winter won’t last forever, so you might as well give yourself over to comfort food that makes you feel good in your body. Warm up with real food.

Creamy Roots Puree with Curried Cashew Gravy

Servings 4


  • 4 medium parsnips peeled and sliced
  • 2 large turnips peeled and sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves peeled
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked
  • 1 medium roma tomato chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 1/2 cup toasted cashews


  • Set up a steamer and steam the parsnips and turnips until very tender, about 10 minutes. Pour the coconut milk or other milk and salt into the Vitamix and add the hot roots. Secure the lid and insert the tamper. Start on Variable Speed 1 and increase gradually as you press the ingredients into the blades with the tamper. When smooth, transfer to a serving dish and keep warm.
  • For gravy, drizzle the oil in a large saute pan and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir, and cook for about 10 minutes. When tender, add the turmeric and ginger and cook for a couple more minutes.  Add the paprika and cayenne and stir. Add the tomato and stir until softened, about 4 minutes.
  • Transfer the onion mixture to the Vitamix and add the cashews and half a cup of water. Secure the lid and select Variable Speed 1. Using the tamper, press the ingredients into the blades as you increase the speed. Blend on High until the mixture is very smooth. Makes about a cup plus 2 tablespoons of gravy.
  • Serve the roots with a drizzle of gravy and top with cilantro and toasted cashews.