September 18, 2017

Mashed potatoes. Everyone loves them, and I mean everyone.

But with so much butter, milk and sometimes bacon, cheese and sour cream, today’s consumers may be less likely to continue their childhood love of mashed potatoes into adulthood. That shouldn’t be a deterrent for ambitious chefs and culinary students, however. After all, there are plenty of substitutes and innovative recipes that transform your grandmother’s mashed potatoes into a 21st-century magnum opus.

Well, it may not be the crowning achievement of your life’s work, but you get the point. So set the timer, grab your cooking utensils and let’s whip up some mashed potato-esque magic.

Mashed garlic cauliflower

A staple of the nonpotato crowd, cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that can be put to use in an unimaginable number of dishes. It’s also one of the closest tastes you’ll be able to create to the mashed potato that everyone is used to.

  • First, boil a pot of water on high heat.
  • Cut a head of cauliflower into small pieces (the precise size isn’t all that important at this stage).
  • Toss the chopped cauliflower into the boiling water for five or six minutes, then strain the water and pat the cauliflower dry with a paper towel.
  • In a blender, puree the cauliflower with a chef’s choice mix of garlic, salt, pepper, chives and three tablespoons of unsalted butter.
  • Add in optional small amounts of Parmesan, cream cheese and spice of choice.
  • Process until smooth and serve hot.

Steamed broccoli mash

Similar to cauliflower, broccoli is every chef’s best friend. On the other hand, there’s no way around the fact that broccoli mash is going to turn out green rather than the familiar white that consumers expect from potatoes or cauliflower. In this sense, it may be difficult for customers to get over their potentially off-put impression of the green puree in front of them.

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  • Add in three heads of broccoli, then close the lid.
  • Steam until tender.
  • Combine garlic, butter and olive oil in a pan and saute.
  • Add all ingredients into a blender while tossing in Ricotta cheese, salt and pepper.
  • Process until chunky, not liquidy.

Mashed sweet potato or yam

One of the easiest ways to substitute for regular Russet or red potatoes is to use their close botanical cousin, the sweet potato or yam.

Both sweet potatoes and yams contain high vitamin contents while bringing a welcome flair of sweetness that isn’t found in standard potatoes.

Further, you don’t have to change any other part of your typical mashed potato recipe – it can be a 1:1 swap, so there’s no additional learning curve.

Bonus: Smashed potatoes

To create the beauty that is smashed potatoes, you can either keep your trusted red potatoes or opt for sweet potatoes.

The kicker is that you don’t have to peel or process the potatoes, saving you time and effort.

  • Simply boil 8-10 small potatoes in hot water for 10 minutes.
  • Drain the water and place potatoes on a baking sheet.
  • Use a masher or heavy utensil to push the potatoes down into a flatter shape.
  • Cook the potatoes in a skillet until brown, then sprinkle pepper and Parmesan.

There’s no limit to your potato potential, so keep in mind that any of the above recipes can actually be mixed and matched across ingredients and preparations. And with so many cultures using potatoes as their primary side dish, there’s a world of opportunity to appeal to wide audience that would likely be open to other vegetable alternatives.