By Marie Rama, Bryan Miller

Vegetable purées are simply cooked vegetables (usually boiled or steamed but sometimes roasted) that are mashed, blended, or processed to a thick consistency. Starchy root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, and carrots generally make the best purées, but broccoli, cauliflower, and roasted red peppers are also wonderful, especially when mixed with a dense root vegetable.

Thick purées make a great side dish. When thinned with water, broth, or sauce, they make delicious toppings for meat, potatoes, pasta, or rice.

To make a purée, put any soft-cooked vegetable or combination of vegetables in a blender or food processor with a bit of water or broth, and purée it. Serve it warm (you can reheat the purée in a saucepan over low heat if it’s cooled off too much). Or use an immersion blender and purée the vegetables right in the pan where you steamed or boiled them.

Season with salt and black pepper and your favorite herbs or spices, or in the case of sweet potatoes or winter squash, a bit of honey, maple syrup, or cinnamon. Mmm, comfort food!