This recipe for Rustic Purple Mashed Potatoes with Parsnip is creamy, buttery, savory and seriously delicious! With a pretty purple hue, slight sweetness from the addition of parsnips and earthy undertones of thyme, these unique mashed potatoes are a fun spin on the classic!
We are going to continue in our thinking outside of the Thanksgiving cornucopia (see Turkey Roulade)… and take it a step further.
I really wanted to share a unique Thanksgiving side dish with you. Something you could proudly bring to your turkey table, but not anything too crazy…like maple bacon mashed potato doughnuts or something. Because I was aiming for ‘different,’ I needed the dish to be spectacular in the taste department, and it turned out to be just that.
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What are purple mashed potatoes?
Our tale all starts with finding the right potatoes. Not just any potatoes will do when it comes to making something different and unique for Thanksgiving. Celebration blend potatoes are the perfect ingredient for purple potato mash. They are dark and earthy in color and taste and bold in appearance and flavor. When mashed in this recipe, it’s a treat that even my pickiest of eaters couldn’t pass up.
Celebration potatoes can be found at most grocers. At times, they come in various colors, so you may have to pick out just the purple ones for this dish.
Why you’ll love these mashed purple potatoes
- If you like things that are unique and not just the same-old-same-old, these are for you.
- Purple potato mash is creamy with a side of creamy. Blended just right.
- The thyme gives it an earthy goodness, while the parsnips and leeks provide a touch of sweetness.
- Rustic mashed potatoes, prepped and ready in an hour
- These will be the talk of the Thanksgiving dinner table!
Key ingredients for rustic purple mashed potatoes
- Celebration blend potatoes: These potatoes provide the color.
- Garlic: provides a foundation of savory flavor.
- Unsalted Butter: The true secret to creamy is the right amount of butter. You can of course use salted butter, but I prefer to control the amount of salt to taste and remove it from the butter.
- Leeks : Just use the white part of the leeks, and they will add a nice hint of sweetness to your purple potato mash.
- Parsnips, Thyme, and Pepper: These together give the dish additional tones of sweet and savory. Together, they are Thanksgiving side dish magic!
- Cream: You can’t do creamy without cream! A heavy whipping cream is what I went for, but you could sub in half and half if you prefer.
- Chicken Stock: This is for boiling the potatoes. You can definitely boil them in lightly salted water. When you use the stock it injects that subtle chicken flavor into the parsnip mashed potatoes and they come out even more tasty!
How to make mashed purple potatoes
These are so easy to prep and can be completed in about an hour total.
- Roast the garlic: Cut the top off the garlic and wrap it in foil with olive oil and a bit of salt. Roast it in the oven at 400 degrees to get that really savory garlic flavor.
- Combine the cream ingredients: Combine the cream, butter, thyme, and garlic together and simmer to allow the flavors to combine.
- Sauté the leeks: Melt the butter, and sauté the leeks until softened.
- Cook the potatoes: Leave the skins on the potatoes and bring the potatoes, parsnips, chicken stock, and more salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to a nice simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Dry the potatoes: Once the potatoes are complete, put them back on the heat for a couple of minutes to let them dry. This will ensure they are light and fluffy and not watery.
- Finish the purple mashed potatoes: remove the thyme sprigs and combine all the ingredients in the big pot. Mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon until you get the perfect consistency. Season to taste and serve!
Tips for the perfect purple garlic mashed potatoes
- Leaving the skins on the potatoes helps provide more of that amazing lavender color. It gives additional texture to the purple mash as well, which I prefer.
- Roasting the garlic gives an extra savory flavor. You can use canned garlic, but if you have the opportunity to roast fresh garlic, you will thank yourself!
- Boiling the potatoes in water is a no-brainer method, but if you use the chicken stock instead of water, your Thanksgiving potato side dish will be even richer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do purple mashed potatoes taste different?
Purple mashed potatoes are very similar in taste to any russet potato mash. They can have slightly stronger earthy tones, but generally the thing that makes them stand out is their color, not their flavor.
Are purple potatoes good for mashing?
Yes, purple potatoes are actually some of the best kinds of potatoes for mashing. They have a hearty meat center with a slightly thicker skin, which means they stay thick and fluffy when mashed.
More unique holiday recipes!
More potato side dishes!
- Spanish Frittata
- Galette Potato
- Roasted Red Potatoes
- Stuffed Baby Potatoes
- Potatoes Au Gratin with Bacon
How to make purple mashed potatoes👇
Rustic Mashed Parsnips & Purple Potatoes
- 1 Head Garlic
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter , room temperature, divided (plus more for serving)
- 1 small leeks , white parts only - washed well, thinly sliced crosswise then finely diced
- 1 pound parsnips - peeled, cut into ½ - 1’’ pieces
- 1 pound celebration blend potatoes - cut into 1’’ pieces (can substitute red skin, fingerling or Yukon gold)
- 4 Whole Sprigs Thyme - washed, plus more for garnish
- 3/4 cup Heavy Cream (can substitute Half and Half)
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper , to taste
- 2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock *
- Roast the garlic: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off of the head of garlic. Place the head of garlic on a small sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Wrap garlic up tightly in the foil. Place the garlic package directly on the center oven rack and roast for 40 – 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Remove head of garlic from the foil and squeeze the roasted cloves out of the skins into a ramekin or a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a small sauce pan add: Half and Half, 2 tablespoons butter, whole sprigs of thyme and roasted garlic. Bring contents to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and allow flavors to seep together, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile: In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
- Add parsnips, potatoes, chicken stock* and enough cold water to cover vegetables by 2’’, and enough salt to make the stock and water as salty as the ocean; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until parsnips and potatoes are very tender but still hold their shape, about 15 – 20 minutes.
- Drain vegetables in a colander. Return vegetables to pot and place over low heat to allow the potatoes and parsnips to dry out slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove sprigs of thyme from milk/butter and discard. DO NOT discard the garlic cloves!
- Add the leeks and milk mixture with the garlic cloves* to the pot. Smash the mixture with a potato masher, or the back of a wooden spoon, to combine ingredients and mash until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Serve Hot.