Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Best, Healthiest Mashed Potatoes EVER!

I love potatoes. They're so versatile, healthy, filling and cheap! Potatoes are rich in fiber, Vitamin-C, B-complex and minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.  Despite popular belief, potatoes are good for you and a necessary part of a healthy diet.

What really matters is how you prepare potatoes and what you mix in them or what you choose to pile on top of them!

Skip the deep-fryer. Bake your own homemade fries instead.  And forget all that butter, sour cream, bacon and melted cheese on top of baked potatoes. Yes, I know it's delicious but you're just eating fat on top of fat!  End result: all that fat makes you fat! No doubt about it.

My favorite way to eat a potato is baked or boiled. I slice the potato in half and pile it high with tossed green salad mixed with balsamic vinaigrette.  YUMMY!  Sometimes, I will top a baked potato with steamed, chopped broccoli and occasionally some melted vegan cheese. That's a whole dinner for me.

So what about everyone's favorite - mashed potatoes? They're usually prepared with loads of butter and cream. So delicious, but you can pretty much forget all those great health benefits. Reserve mashed potatoes for special occasions!

Or.....you can make mashed potatoes MY WAY!

I serve mashed potatoes very often to my son because they're filling. He loves them!  The best part--my mashed potatoes are VEGAN.  Not an animal product in sight. :)

Here's what you need: (this recipe will serve about 5 -6 people)

4 large organic potatoes, scrubbed well (peeled or unpeeled- your choice. I NEVER peel potatoes), and cut into quarters. They will cook faster and will be easier to mash if you cut them up.
3 or 4 cloves of quick roasted garlic (instructions to follow)
Several sprigs of fresh rosemary
a dash of olive oil
organic vegetable broth
freshly ground pepper

1.Sprinkle the potatoes very lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Break off the individual pieces of rosemary and toss those over the potatoes and mix very gently.  Take a large pot with a lid, add about a cup and a half of water. Place your potatoes in a steamer basket and add to the pot of water. Cover, bring the water to boil, reduce heat and allow the potatoes to steam for about 20 - 30 minutes. You want the potatoes nice and soft so they're easy to mash- but you don't want them to fall apart and you don't want the water in the pot to evaporate. Check them often as they steam and add more water as needed.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, quick roast your garlic by spreading individual, un-peeled cloves evenly on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, and bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, until soft. Roast a bunch of garlic cloves. If you store them in a sealed container in the fridge, they will keep for 3 days.  Roasted garlic is delicious spread on toast, freshly baked bread, mixed with vegan mayo for sandwich spreads, or added to salad dressings.

3. Remove steamed potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl.

4. Take 3 or 4 of the roasted garlic cloves. You can add more if want your potatoes really garlicky. Gently squeeze the garlic out of their skins right into the pot of cooked potatoes. Discard the skins.

5. Start mashing. I like  rustic-looking mashed potatoes, so I just use a fork to do this.  A potato masher works well, too.

6. Add a bit of the vegetable broth to the potatoes for extra moisture while mashing them. Just add a little at a time. You don't want watery potatoes.

7. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Another great variation is to simply toss your raw, quartered potatoes gently with a bit of olive oil, season with salt, pepper and the rosemary and roast them in the oven until soft, but not browned. Then, you can mash them. Roasted mashed potatoes are also SO good!

If you really want your mashed potatoes creamier, substitute the vegetable broth with a bit of vegan creamer, or even vegan cream of mushroom or potato soup. I love using the vegetable broth, however, because other than the small amount of olive oil, my mashed potatoes are virtually fat free!

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