Are your kids veggie averse? Try mashed carrots

J.M. HIRSCH AP Food Editor Published:

Not sure why this recipe never occurred to me before. After all, I live on the front lines of the battle to get kids (in particular, my own) to eat vegetables.

And it's usually a losing battle. Until I bumbled my way into this one.

I was making carrots with dinner a few weeks ago. Instead of seasoning and roasting them as I usually do, I decided to steam them. Then I got distracted, as I usually do. By the time I rescued the carrots from the pan, they were fall-apart tender.

That's when it hit me. We mash potatoes. We mash squash. Some people even mash cauliflower. Why not mash carrots?

And so I did. With a bit of butter, milk, salt and pepper, I had a delicious vegetable dish with the consistency of mashed potatoes. The next night, I made it again (only this time on purpose). But instead of mashing by hand, I used the food processor to ensure an even smoother, mashed potato-like consistency. Adding a bit of cumin made it even better.

It was a winner. And not just with me. The resident 7-year-old boy also approved.

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MASHED CARROTS

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add the carrots, then cover the pot, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the carrots are very tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the carrots to a food processor.

Add the butter, milk and cumin, then process until very smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. You will need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl 2 or 3 times during processing. When the carrots resemble mashed potatoes, season with salt and pepper.

If you prefer a smoother or looser consistency, more milk can be added during processing.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 170 calories; 70 calories from fat (43 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 6 g fiber; 340 mg sodium.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.