Mashed Parsnips… and a mistake


I made a mistake! I didn’t bother looking up parsnips in the GAPS book and figured they were allowed because I thought they were similar to carrots. Not true! I just received a comment saying that they are too starchy (like potatoes).I’ve looked it up in both the SCD and GAPS book, and that is entirely correct. They are not GAPS or SCD legal.

Fortunately, I didn’t experience a bad reaction from eating them last night. I am so sorry if I confused any of you by labeling my mashed parsnip recipe “GAPS Legal.” My mistake!! I’m so sorry!!

This is a good reminder that the SCD/GAPS diet is a journey… stumbles are inevitable. What counts is moving forward with a positive attitude. Be gentle with yourself, forgive your mistakes (I’m working on this one right now…), and expect a learning curve.

But I don’t like parsnips

No, really… I don’t. This was actually my first introduction to the root vegetable. And while I don’t have a strong aversion to them, I think I’ll stick with their familiar orange cousin (UPDATE: that might have been my body telling me, “this is not good for you right now!”).

With that said, however, my family LOVED this dish. Even my sister finished her helping! And Dad was getting all culinary and employed adjectives like “earthy,” “mellow,” and “delicately sweet” to describe this dish. They unanimously voted that this deserved a place on the blog.

And if I had to eat parsnips, this would be the way to go. This creamy mash tastes slightly sweet and herbaceous, not at all spicy or bitter.

The rest of my GAPS Thanksgiving

It was just my immediate family for a small Thanksgiving celebration this year, since our extended family is across the country. I was somewhat relieved, actually, because it meant I didn’t have to stress about finding food on the table that I could eat. With the exception of mashed potatoes, the meal was GAPS friendly:

  • Roast Turkey with Creamy GAPS Gravy

  • Paleo Cornbread Muffins

  • Vanilla Cranberry Sauce (I didn’t use a recipe for this–just threw some chopped cranberries, water, vanilla extract and honey in a pot and simmered away. I also used a bit of gelatin. It was AMAZING. So I’m going to try to replicate it and share it soon!)

  • Fresh green beans with butter

  • Roasted butternut squash

  • And, of course, mashed parsnips

mashed parsnips

It’s the mashed parsnip “secret,” I suppose

My mom thoughtfully tore a recipe for parsnip purée out of the Sunday paper a few weeks ago and suggested I give it a try. The article explained how boiling down the cooking liquid was the secret to a creamy result. Except the author called for removing the parsnips from the cooking liquid after a while, then reducing the liquid, then giving everything a spin in the food processor.

I took that idea and just simplified it, cooking the parsnips down with the cooking liquid. It makes them soft enough to mash with a fork. I was happy, because it meant I didn’t have to dirty the food processor! And by now you know that I have a weird obsession with dirtying as few cooking materials as possible.

Creamy Mashed Parsnips

Yield: Scant 2 cups


  • 1 pound parsnips
  • 2-3 Tbs. pastured butter
  • GENEROUS pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Wash and peel the parsnips. Cut them into about 1 inch chunks, place in a medium saucepan and add filtered water to just cover all the parsnips.
  2. Boil over medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated. I think it took about 20 minutes. It is best to make these when you are doing other things in the kitchen, so you can keep an eye on them.
  3. When the water has evaporated, the parsnips will be very tender. Use a fork to mash up the parsnips with butter and sea salt. Season with nutmeg and pepper.

Eat well and heal!™


Did you have a grain-free Thanksgiving? Did you have to carefully navigate the Thanksgiving table to find grain-free or allergen-free dishes?

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  1. Nicole Warren says

    Parsnips are not GAPS legal, NCM says they are too starchy like potatoes and sweet potatoes. Are they SCD legal? Why did you introduce them back in?

    • says

      Nicole, I just had a mini heart attack reading your comment! I didn’t look up parsnips before preparing them, I just assumed they were similar to carrots. I’ve looked it up in my SCD and GAPS book and you are very correct! I’ve updated the recipe with an apology and made sure to emphasize that these are not GAPS or SCD safe. I’m so sorry for my mistake, and thank you so much for bringing this to my attention so I could correct it!

      • Nicole Warren says

        Hey Lauren,
        i Really appreciate what you said in your updated post – remembering that GAPS is a journey. I have made mistakes too, especially when friends have tried to make me something and then I try a bite before I learn the rest, or homemade yoghurt made with a yoghurt culture that contains milk powder, or the fact that I share a house with five other grain-loving folks, and it is hard to always clean cast iron pans well and counter tops when everyone cuts there bread on it like a butcher block. Or, when a pan has a little bit of residual rice starch? Yeah. Living with grain-loving people when you’re on the gaps diet is difficult. So, I experience this a lot, and feel like I’ll truely never be “pure” until I have a sterile kitchen that I share with no one – HAH! Anyways I wanted to share my woahs, and thank you for sharing yours. Lets be gentle with our selves, because there is only so much you can do sometimes.


        • says

          Thanks Nicole for your kind words and for sharing your own experience with GAPS. I’m in the same bind because the rest of my family eats grains and it seems like crumbs get into everything and everywhere. I just remind myself that freaking out will just do more harm to my health :) A sterile kitchen is a nice dream… but I guess it is only a dream. So glad that we can all learn from each other with blogs and the internet!

  2. says

    This was my second Thanksgiving on GAPS. Everything was GAPS legal. The only problem is I munched and tasted all day long so when it was all finally done I wasn’t really very hungry! It was all very delicious though and there were leftovers that I could munch on yesterday. Leftovers are really my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. :-)

  3. J.J. says

    I am a neophyte, but would baking this achieve an even healthier end….vs. boiling ? I’ve been under the understanding that boiling – “boils” out all the nutrients. Yes ? No?

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