12 Mashed Potato Makeovers

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/19/2012 10:00 AM   :  18 comments   :  20,386 Views

As you start to plan your Thanksgiving menu, think about this historical tidbit: Sarah Josepha Hale, an influential 19th-century editor who also wrote "Mary Had a Little Lamb," is to thank for your traditional Thanksgiving meal. Not only did she pitch the idea of making Thanksgiving a national holiday to President Lincoln but she also suggested that home cooks make food that was popular at the time rather than what the Pilgrims and American Indians ate at their first feast.

While Hale's holiday stuck, her push for us to cook modern food faded. The roast poultry, stuffing/dressing, and yes mashed potatoes stuck around. Why? My guess is that it’s because we know what we like and most people, my dad especially do not like change.  I have news for my family (actually I may not tell them!) that I am taking a stand. I'm going to start with a mashed potato makeover.  I plan to swap out some of the traditional white potatoes with other tubers or vegetables that might boost fiber and add nutrients or flavor. 

Here's how you can make over your mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day or any other night they're on the menu.

 
The Secrets to Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Before you swap out let’s review some basic cooking techniques for perfect healthy basic mash.
  • Keep the skin on Russets, redskin potatoes or sweet potatoes for extra fiber.
  • Dry out the cooked potatoes and vegetables before adding the flavoring ingredients.  Once the potatoes are cooked, drain into a colander then put the ingredients back in the pot.  Set the heat to medium and cook to release any additional moisture.  Start mashing! Use a potato masher, ricer or fork for best results.
  • Use skim milk or fat-free evaporated milk instead of whole milk or cream in your mash , opt for vegetable stock for a dairy-free version.
  • No matter which liquid you choose, it should be warmed before adding to the mash.
  • Add a small amount of liquid at a time.
 

7 Veggies to Guest Star in Your Mashed Potatoes

  1. Cauliflower is my #1 go-to as a stand-in for some of the potatoes.  Not only is it the same color so most folks won't notice it's there, but it also has a mild flavor that blend well with potatoes. To cook, add to the potatoes five minutes into cooking time. Use equal amounts cauliflower and potatoes. Try these mashed cauliflower recipes!
     
  2. Parsnips are amazing when added into a mash.  Roast them separately, then mash together for a caramelized flavor and added color.  Use equal amounts parsnips and potatoes or go 100% and serve up roasted, mashed parsnips.
     
  3. Turnips work well in a mash and add a mild spicy flavor.  Add peeled turnips to the potato cooking water at the same time as the potatoes.  Use a 3:1 ratio of potatoes to turnips.
     
  4. Celery root also known as celeriac adds a lovely touch sweet delicate flavor to the potatoes.  The light color of the root does not affect the color of the white potato and take the same amount of time to cook.  Mix it up and try celeriac with sweet potatoes.  Try my Sweet Potato and Celery Root Mash!
     
  5. Rutabaga, although a little strong in flavor, does work well in a mash.  Add peeled rutabagas to the potato cooking water at the same time as the potatoes.  Use a 3:1 ratio of potatoes to rutabaga. Try Rutabega and Red Potato Puree.
     
  6. Sweet potatoes are a wonderful choice for fall since they complement so many spices used during the season--rosemary, cinnamon, sage, nutmeg.  You can even leave them unpeeled for a rustic look.  There's no need to add any butter since they pack in so much flavor, but you can add unsweetened applesauce or honey if you are looking for some additional sweetness.  Due to color and the great flavor go 100% sweet potato--leave the white potatoes in the pantry. You might like Maple-Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
     
  7. Butternut squash, like sweet potatoes, offers a sweet swap for your potato dishes. Try squash and parsnips for a flavor-packed side dish. Give this recipe a try: Mashed Butternut Squash Remix
Here's how these veggies measure up against potatoes:

Veggie (1 cup raw) Calories Carbs (g) Fiber (g)
Butternut squash 82 22 6
Cauliflower 25 5 3
Celery root 42 9 2
Parsnips 111 27 6
Potato 116 26 3
Rutabega 50 11 4
Sweet potato 140 32 4
Turnips 36 8 2
 
 

12 Ways to Add Flavor to Your Mashed Potatoes

Just because you change up the variety of the main ingredient don’t stop there.  Try adding flavor notes in the form of herbs, pureed vegetables, or cheese.  Check out my top flavor enhancers for a mash.
  1. Roasted garlic--load up on it. The sharp taste of garlic will be mellow and sweet.
  2. Sautéed leeks or caramelized onions
  3. Fresh thyme or chopped fresh rosemary
  4. Sage and a small amount of brown butter
  5. Fresh chives and Greek yogurt
  6. Cilantro
  7. Grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese
  8. Concentrated orange juice (simmer until it has reduced by half)
  9. Bacon and bacon grease--just one slice, crumbled
  10. A sprinkle of smoked paprika just before serving
  11. Nutritional yeast and light soy sauce (just a teaspoon) for the vegans
  12. Curry powder and light coconut milk (great with sweet potatoes)
 
So what do you say?  Are you going to make over your mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving or stick with your family favorite?

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