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Ultimate Mashed Potatoes

September 20, 2018

[Recipe serves 4 to 6].


We still have a couple months before Thanksgiving, but it's never too early to master the art of mashed potatoes, right?

To most of us, good mashed potatoes taste good because they're packed with butter, sour cream and/or cream cheese, heavy cream, and sometimes even cheese.  So how in the world do you make vegan mashed potatoes taste "good" when dairy is off limits?  After several trials, we've finally come up with a recipe of our own to satisfy anyone's taste buds.  We still included some (vegan) butter for flavor, but to replace the remaining list of dairy, we came up with a cashew purée that mimics the taste and texture needed to make mashed potatoes feel rich and velvety.  We also included some truffle oil, roasted garlic, and chives to put this dish over the top, but know that these flavorings are completely up to your taste buds.

Before we get into the actual recipe, we feel that there are some key tips to share, since there's more science to the perfect mashed potato than you might be aware of.


  1. Contrary to what many recipes state, there is no 'one correct' potato to use; there is some science to keep in mind, but the degree of success that you have also has to do with your personal preferences.  Red potatoes are a low-starch variety that don't provide too much flavor, but you give a velvety texture and nice look if you keep the skins on.  Yukon gold potatoes are a medium-starch variety that have a buttery flavor rather than an earthy taste, and give the mashed potatoes a rich hue.  Russets are a high-starch variety that have great flavor, but can become gluey if overworked (due to the starch).  Play around with one or two types and narrow down what you prefer best through trial and error.
  2. Add your melted butter before you add the 'cream'.  Starch molecules love to absorb water, so if you add the 'cream' (aka water) first, the starch molecules will balloon up and explode, causing your mash to be gluey.  If you add the butter first, the starch molecules will be coated in a protective layer of fat that makes it hard for water to pass through.
  3. Make sure that your potatoes are as close in size as possible.  There's nothing worse than having a mix of small, watered-down over-cooked potatoes alongside some large, crunchy under-cooked potatoes.
  4. Be gentle when mixing your potatoes.  The more they're worked, the more starch pockets will explode, resulting in gummy potatoes.  The best thing for mashed potatoes is a ricer, spatula, and elbow grease; the worst thing is a food processor...or dare we say...blender (unless you're making vegan cheese dip).
  5. Start with cold water when boiling your potatoes for a more even cooking process.  If you begin with hot water, the outsides of the potatoes will cook right away while the centers will still be raw.

So with that, let us present you with the ultimate vegan mashed potato recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, baby Yukon golden potatoes, or a mix of both

2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
1 tablespoon white truffle olive oil

80 grams (~2/3 cup) raw cashews, soaked in warm water for several hours, then drained
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder or roasted garlic purée
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 to 1/2 cup plant-based milk, warmed

2 tablespoons freshly minced chives

DIRECTIONS:

Add the whole potatoes to a large pot, and add enough cold water to cover the potatoes.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked.  [Side note:  You will know that the potatoes are done when a sharp paring knife easily spears through a potato].  Drain and reserve.

While the potatoes are boiling, make the cream sauce by adding the cashews, water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and salt to a high-speed blender.  Blend on high speed until completely smooth, roughly 30 seconds.

Process the potatoes by hand using a ricer or potato masher, or using a stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low speed.  Incorporate the melted butter and olive oil, followed by the cashew mixture.  Stir in the warmed plant-based milk until the mashed potatoes achieve the consistency that you prefer.  Lastly, fold in the minced chives.  Taste to season, and enjoy!

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