Blackened Atlantic Cod with Root Vegetable Mash (Recipe)

As my grandmother used to say, this combo of fresh fish and a root vegetables is good for what ails you.

When I was a child, my grandmother would serve me a healthy dose of vegetables alongside a homemade meal and exclaim proudly, “Eat up, Kari-dear, it’s good for what ails you!” I never understood what that meant except that it always accompanied something I didn’t want to eat.

Fast forward to my new clean-eating lifestyle and I finally understand. My grandmother was referring to whole, nutrient-dense foods like fresh-caught fish and garden-grown root vegetables. They are simply good for what ails you, and perfect for preventing most ailments as well.

A Powerhouse Combo

Fish, including the Atlantic cod in this recipe, is an ideal lean protein and contains a powerhouse of B vitamins as well as a number of other nourishing minerals. Blackened with a metabolism-boosting combination of pepper and spices, the cod in this recipe is not only tasty, but also a prescription for keeping that lean physique.

“Fish, including the Atlantic cod in this recipe, is an ideal lean protein and contains a powerhouse of B vitamins as well as a number of other nourishing minerals.”

Root vegetables are another wonderful whole food to incorporate into your side dish rotation. Having been a mashed potato lover all my life, I’ve created this pleasantly creamy root vegetable mash to replace plain white potatoes and boost the nutritional value. Rutabaga, turnip, and parsnip are the key players in this antioxidant-rich and dairy-free mash. The slight anise flavor of this root vegetable trio pairs perfectly with the blackening spices in the cod.

The secret to making a creamy dairy-free mash, whether it’s of root vegetables or tubers, is to incorporate an egg while mashing. This turns any mash from a slightly watery purée into pure creamy decadence.

Blackened Atlantic Cod with Root Vegetable Mash

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 45 min

Yield: Serves 4


For the Cod:

  • 4 fresh Atlantic cod filets
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil for frying pan

For the Spice Blend:

  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 /2 teaspoon thyme

For the Root Vegetable Mash:

  • 1 rutabaga
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2-3 turnips
  • 1 teaspoon salt (for cooking water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons broth of any kind
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped chives (plus more for garnish if desired)


  1. Chop vegetables for root vegetable mash into small chunks and place in a large saucepan. Add water to about 1 inch above vegetables and stir in 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Boil vegetables until tender, about 40-45 minutes.
  3. While vegetables are boiling, mix together blackening spices in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. When vegetables are finished cooking, drain water.
  5. Mash vegetables with a potato masher or use a hand-mixer and blend in salt, pepper, broth, egg, olive oil, and chives. If you desire a thinner consistency, add more broth 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
  6. Heat up a skillet (cast iron works great!) with the coconut oil until hot. Dredge cod filets in blackening spice and lay cod filets in skillet.
  7. Fry cod 2-4 minutes per side until it flakes easily with fork. Remove from pan and place on serving dish.
  8. Make it a meal with a side of sautéed broccoli seasoned with smoked salt and olive oil.

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Photo courtesy of Kari Lund.