Plating gives me as much joy as cooking food. I'm always looking for creative, healthy ways to bump up the wow factor on any dish I serve, and veggie purees are one of my favorite tools for making a plate of food more exciting to eat. 

I love vegetable purees because, first and foremost, they taste so good. They’re silky and luxurious, and they are a great way to pack in a ton of veggies into your meal. Purees can also easily be transferred to a squeeze bottle, and then that squeeze bottle full of gorgeous puree can be used to make designs and squiggles on any plate of food that you serve.

Two of my favorite veggie purees are parsnip and spinach. And don’t get intimidated by the word puree… it's a fancy word, but these recipes are super easy. All you need is an immersion blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools) or a regular blender, a pot, and some happy veggies and you’re on your way to a beautiful, vitamin-rich plate of food.

Who said we shouldn't play with our food?

Spinach Puree

  • 1 ½ cups frozen spinach, thawed but not drained
  • ½ cup homemade vegetable or chicken stock
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon liquid amino acids

Add the spinach and stock to a medium pot. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer until it is warm, and the spinach has fully heated through. Turn off the eat, add the juice of half a lemon and 1 teaspoon of the liquid amino acids to the pot. Using a handheld immersion blender or a regular blender, blend the spinach mixture until smooth. 

Using a funnel, transfer the puree into a plastic squeeze bottle. Squeeze the puree however you would like onto your plate of food. This looks great as a topping to a piece of fish or chicken!

Parsnip Puree

  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup light coconut milk, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegan butter (Earth Balance)

Add 2 chopped parsnips to a pot. Fill the pot with water until the parsnips are covered by at least an inch. Bring the water to a boil, and cook the parsnips until they are just tender, about 8-10 minutes. You can check their tenderness by piercing them with the tip of a knife. If the blade goes in smoothly without resistance, your parsnips are fully cooked. Drain your parsnips and add them back to the pot. Add the coconut milk, almond extract, a pinch of salt and the Earth Balance to the parsnips.

Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients in the pot until they form a smooth puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the mixture to a regular blender and blend until smooth. I like the immersion blender because it simplifies the process. If the puree seems too thick to your liking, you can add a little more coconut milk until you get the consistency you prefer.

You can serve the puree by spooning it directly onto a plate. Or alternatively, using a funnel, you can fill a squeeze bottle with the puree, and then squeeze the puree onto the plate however you like.

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