Throughout history there has been some amazing things discovered by accident…

The slinky, chocolate chip cookies, microwave ovens, fireworks, post it notes, potato chips, and Penicillin.

And now I can add to that list with my recipe for potato and parsnip mash with cauliflower crumb!

Soft and creamy mash, with a crunchy topping, lots of complimentary flavors and textures spice up a plain old mash. Yum, yum, yum.

Let me take you back to the beginning. So through my marathon of cooking dinners last week I had a fridge full of things to cook, leftovers wrapped in foil and in tupperware, half used vegetables, and a mess of fresh herbs. I decided I needed to make the most of the vegetables I had remaining, which called for a little creativity.

What really needed to get used up were some potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower and asparagus. If I pick one or even two and then the asparagus, it seemed like a lot of white on my plate with the roast of pork belly that was filling my kitchen with the most of aromas.

First thought was potato and parsnip mash. It’s my absolute favorite! The parsnip adds a sweeter, nutty flavor to the potato. But the cauliflower really needed to be used up… Dilemma. I decided I would chop it up into the little florets, toss in the garlic, parsley, pepper, and olive oil and decide later. Worst case I’d toss the cauliflower into a salad the next day.

After all the dishes were done, it was during plating up is when I had my happy discovery. The asparagus, meat and mash were on the plates when I decided the cauliflower was cooked, so why not just sprinkle on top of the mash, cross my fingers, and hope for the best! I shouldn’t say I was just serving my Mom, but it was my Mom so how harsh could she be if the flavors and textures didn’t work??


Just like Ruth Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn, who was mixing a batch of chocolate cookies, when she discovered she was out of baker’s chocolate, we both had to make do with what we had. As a substitute Wakefield broke sweetened chocolate into small pieces and added them to the cookie dough. She expected the chocolate to melt, making chocolate cookies, but the little bits stuck, and history and snack time was changed forever… Okay so maybe my mash and crumb topping isn’t history changing, but it so tasty and it makes one awesome side dish!


Vegetable side dish that combines the flavors of potato, parsnip, and cauliflower and differing textures of the mash and roasted vegetables. Great side dish for roast meats or BBQ.

  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup of cauliflower florets
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ whole milk
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.

  2. In a pot of boiling water add potatoes, parsnips and 1 clove of garlic. Boil till soft, then drain and risen.

  3. Toss cauliflower in oil, parsley, pepper and 1 mashed clove of garlic. Place in an oven proof dish and roast for 15-20 mins until crispy and golden.

  4. In the meantime, using a ricer mash the potato and parsnip adding the milk and butter. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. To plate, smooth the mash and then sprinkle with the roasted cauliflower.