Mashed Parsnips And Rutabagas with Caramelized Onions

Often, when dealing with the digestive ups and downs of cancer treatment, finding things to eat that are nourishing, fulfilling, easy to eat and digest and also healthy can be a challenge.  Here is a relatively simple recipe that can replace bland, nourishment-lacking mashed white potatoes (a dish many patients turn to simply to feel satisfied).

Parsnips are sweet, juicy and contain many phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber (which can be so important in helping us regulate our excretory system during the throes of treatment).  Certain of the anti-oxidant compounds contained in parsnips also have been shown in research studies to have anti-inflammatory and, possibly, anti-carcinogenic benefits.  Rutabagas are a cruciferous vegetable, putting it among those vegetables shown to have antioxidant characteristics and which have been recommended by, among others, the American Cancer Society as part of an anti-cancer diet.  They are also high in vitamin C.  (Note, you can replace the skin milk in the recipe with almond, soy or other nut-milks and replace the sugar with either natural cane or date sugar).  Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 medium sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Bermuda, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
4 medium parsnips, scrubbed, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
3 small rutabagas, scrubbed, peeled to remove wax and cubed (about 3 cups)
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 to 3/4 cup skim milk

In large skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes more. Add vinegar and sugar to onions.

Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally; set aside.  In medium saucepan, cover parsnips and rutabagas with cold water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain using colander. Return vegetables to pot and coarsely mash with hand-held masher. Add horseradish, then milk, beginning with 1/2 cup, then adding more if necessary, to achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon caramelized onions over top and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 162 calories, 3 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 33 g carbohydrates,
4 g protein, 7 g dietary fiber, 48 mg sodium.

(Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research (