An oval white dish with root vegetable saute.
Holiday favorites, Sides

Root vegetable saute


Root vegetable saute is a creamy and delicious side dish for any dinner. It features carrots, parsnips, rutabaga and yams. This dish is inspired by a French classic, but will feel new served alongside your holiday meals.

An oval white dish with root vegetable saute.
Root vegetable saute bursts with flavor

Thanksgiving is nearing! Do you like to stick to the same family favorites each Thanksgiving? Or are you looking for something new to try? I usually like to introduce something new, while keeping a few of the classic family favorites around. This recipe is a medley of delicious and wintry root vegetables. It’s fairly simple, yet tastes just a wee bit decadent because of the smallest amount of heavy cream added at the end. Combined with the natural starches of the vegetables, this creates a creamy silky texture. Add a small amount of freshly grated nutmeg and it smells just like the holidays should.

Due to their ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the ground, root vegetables grown in rich soil are full of nutrients and are an excellent source of fiber. Many root vegetables are high in Vitamins C, B, A and antioxidants.

Ingredients in root vegetable saute.
Carrots, parsnips, rutabaga and yams

I used carrots, parsnips, rutabaga and yams in this root vegetable saute. I like this colorful and slightly sweet combination of vegetables. Turnips or sweet potato could also be used in place of the yams.

Is there a difference between sweet potato and yams? Yes, there is. They are generally sold side by side in the produce section. Yams have a darker, almost orange flesh. They also contain more natural sugars which are often released in the cooking process.

This particular root vegetable saute, is scaled for four people. So, make sure to use a much larger, deeper skillet or two 12-inch skillets if you double the recipe for the holidays. I hope you enjoy this recipe! Happy holidays!

A white oval bowl with root vegetable saute.
Root vegetable saute is creamy and silky


Above nutrition quote is from Organic Lifestyle Magazine (January, 2015)

This recipe is insprired by a basic, but classic French winter vegetable recipe I recently learned about in an advanced cooking class series from Bon Vivant Cooking School. One of the great things about learning advanced cooking techniques is learning how to adapt recipes and put your own personal touch on them.

Root vegetable saute

A creamy medley of wintry root vegetables. A perfect pairing with poultry.

  • 1 cup carrots ((see notes for vegetables))
  • 1 cup parsnips
  • 1 cup rutabaga
  • 1 cup yam
  • 1 – 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic (smashed, but left whole (see notes))
  • 1 pinch salt and freshly ground white pepper ((see notes))
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley (minced)
  1. Peel and cut all the vegetables into 3/4 inch cubes (bite sized pieces). Peel and smash the garlic using the blunt side of your knife. Leave the cloves whole.
  2. Heat your pan on medium heat and add the olive oil, butter and garlic. Saute the garlic for a minute or two, then add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the garlic once it has toasted.
  3. Once the vegetables are lightly browned, add the chicken broth. Cover and cook on low heat until the vegetables become just tender (about 8 minutes).
  4. Add the heavy cream, nutmeg and parsley. Toss the vegetables until they become glazed and the sauce thickens somewhat. Garnish with a little more parsley and serve.

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Peel and cut all vegetables into 3/4 inch cubes (bite sized pieces). Peel and smash the garlic using the blunt side of your knife. Leave the cloves whole. Our goal is to season the olive oil with a mellow garlic flavor by toasting the garlic. Once toasted, remove it. If the garlic turns brown or burns, it has been cooked too far and will turn the dish bitter. Too much garlic can also overpower the dish. Black pepper may be used instead of white. White pepper is preferred for aesthetics.

Use a 12 inch skillet with a cover or a 3 quart saute pan.



  1. I was just trying to explain to a coworker the other day that sweet potatoes and yams were different and she didn’t believe me! Thank you for clarifying lol šŸ˜‰ I love them both so this recipe sounds like the perfect combo. YUM!

  2. 5 stars
    I can just imagine how perfect this would be at the Thanksgiving table! We don’t do Thanksgiving here in the UK obviously, so Christmas is the big celebratory meal. And I’m like you, I stick to tradition, but also love to introduce one thing new or a version of an old recipe. It keeps things interesting, doesn’t it? Especially for the cook!

    • Michelle Barsness

      Hello Azlin. Yes, absolutely. Keeps it interesting, yet still traditional. Thank you for stopping by here.

  3. I’ve always thought that sweet potatoes and yams were two different things, but then I moved to South Africa and I see that here they don’t use the word yams; you will find white sweet potatoes, orange sweet potatoes, etc, which confuses me sometimes! This looks like a delicious side dish, especially with the heavy cream, yum!

  4. Another great recipe that sounds great! The whole sweet potato/yams is so confusing to people. I think this recipe is great for Thanksgiving. I’m not a traditional type person so I am always cooking non traditional foods for the holidays. As long as it’s good that is all that matters.

  5. Yum, this would be perfect for a side dish. I will have have to make this for my family soon.

  6. I love root vegetables too, but never thought to make them like this. This seems like a creamier version of the usual roasted vegetables. I’ll have to give this a try.

  7. 5 stars
    This sounds heavenly! I love new savory recipes for the sweeter root veggies!! Yum!

  8. I like root vegetables as a mixed vegetable assortment. I usually have it with whole wheat tortilla.

  9. 5 stars
    it looks delicious and thank you for explaining the difference between Yam and sweet potatoes. I saw them at the supermarket sold as the same thing and wondered why they were so different.

    • Michelle Barsness

      Thank you Laura. Yes, they are different, but sometimes positioned as the same in the supermarket. We always had yams growing up.

  10. 5 stars
    Totally my kind of recipe, somehow I always end up making a mix of vegetables instead of just one sort. Love that you used root vegetables for this recipe, some are often overlooked and they’re so good! šŸ™‚

  11. Love this side! definitely could see this being a great option to bring for vegetarians!


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