French in a Flash: Parsnip Purée with Olive Oil and Sage Recipe

A bowl of parsnip puree with olive oil and sage.
Kerry Saretsky

This is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. It accommodates vegans, lactose-intolerants, food combination dieters, and people who like delicious things. I find that every Thanksgiving, the volume of dishes I try to create always leads to a cramped, hectic kitchen. So, this year, with this recipe and my recipe for Cranberry Chutney, I am making only simple, honest, delicious food that will not overwhelm me. This recipe has three ingredients, plus salt and pepper, and is nothing more than heating and blending. The result is something sweet from parsnips, and intensely savory from sage and olive oil. It's a creative, healthful alternative to the standard mashed potato, and it's a crowd pleaser. I'm making it this year, and I hope you will too!

Note: To fry sage leaves, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in small saucepan to 325°F. Drop sage leaves in three at a time and cook, agitating occasionally until crisp, 45 seconds to 1 minute 15 seconds. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins

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  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 leaves fresh sage
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 fried sage leaves as garnish (optional, see note)


  1. Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt water well, and add parsnips. Cook until very tender, 15-20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil small saucepan with 6 sage leaves. Heat on the lowest flame for 5 minutes, remove from heat, and allow to steep for another 5 minutes.

  3. Drain the parsnips and place in food processor. Remove sage from oil and add sage oil to food processor along with remaining 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fried sage leaves (see note).