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Recipes / Vegetable Purée

Vegetable Purée

By The Editors

Published February 14, 2024

Purées are all-purpose: They make a perfect bed for burgers, cutlets, “meat” balls, and slices of cooked tofu, tempeh, or seitan. Or use them underneath other vegetables like asparagus, broccoli spears, sliced or cubed eggplant, or roasted chunks of potato. This recipe is a straightforward template for puréeing almost any vegetable.

Photo: Burcu Avsar and Zach DeSart
Photo: Burcu Avsar and Zach DeSart
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Vegetable purée can also be used as a “sauce” for pasta (you may want to thin it first), rice or risotto, cooked whole grains, baked potatoes, or thick slices of toast. Well-seasoned warm or room-temperature purées are also lovely dips for anything from crudités to dumplings to grilled tofu skewers; thin them, if necessary, with a little stock or other liquid. They make good spreads for sandwiches and fillings for burritos or tacos too.

To make an impromptu gratin, put the purée in a greased shallow baking or gratin dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs, dot with butter or drizzle with olive oil, and bake in a 375°F oven until hot and bubbly.

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Vegetable Purée

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Makes 4 servings 1x

Time 40 minutes

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Ingredients

  • About 1 1/2 pounds vegetables (one kind or a combination)
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel and trim the vegetables as necessary; cut them into roughly equal-size pieces, 1 or 2 inches in diameter. Put everything in a pot with water to cover and add a large pinch salt. Or put in a steamer above an inch or so of water. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the vegetable.
  2. Drain the vegetables well, reserving some of the cooking water. (You can prepare the vegetables up to this point, cool, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 days before proceeding.) Put the vegetables through a food mill placed over the pot, or cool slightly and purée them in a blender or food processor with as much of the reserved cooking water as you need to get the machine going. If the vegetables are very tender, you can mash them with a large fork or potato masher, adding the water as needed.
  3. Add the oil and stir, then taste, season with more salt if necessary, and sprinkle with pepper. Serve, keep warm, or allow to cool for reheating later. (Reheat over low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally, or zap in the microwave until hot.) Garnish with parsley, if you like, before serving.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition 

Recipe variations

Rich Vegetable Purée
Replace the olive oil with butter and add up to 1/2 cup heavy cream, sour cream, half- and-half, or whole milk. Proceed with Step 3.