Mashed potatoes always transport me back to my youth on the east coast when the temperatures were dropping and the holiday season was approaching. This root vegetable has received a bad wrap over the last few years in the world of crash diets, but before you write them off forever, consider how ancient modalities like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda have been using them for centuries to help people find balance.
TCM: According to Healing with Whole Foods, potatoes are mildly diuretic, tonifies the spleen-pancreas and qi energy, harmonizes the stomach, lubricates the intestines, fortifies the yin aspect of the kidneys, and neutralizes body acids, which helps relieve arthritis and rheumatism.
The book says that potatoes are one of the most completely nourishing foods when eaten with the skin. Supposedly two Danish food scientists lived healthfully for three years during WWII on whole potatoes alone – although I don’t recommend trying this.
Ayurveda: White potatoes are cool, light, and dry, which may be helpful if you are experiencing heat, heaviness, and dampness. These qualities may cause an imbalance in Vata, assist Kapha, and generally have a neutral effect on Pitta.
If you are a generally healthy person worried about the carbohydrate content, remember that potatoes should be a small side dish. The rest of your meal should consist of 1/2 a plate of green veggies and whatever else you are having in that meal. Due to the high carbohydrate content, potatoes deliver lots of tryptophan, which helps boost serotonin levels, the happiness hormone. You can read more about the general health benefits below.
Before getting to the recipes, here are some pro-tips that will take your mashed potatoes from good to outstanding.
Soak: You’ll see below in the instructions that you want to soak the potatoes for at least an hour; this breaks up the starches and helps with the end product’s fluffiness. You won’t want to skip this step! If you are cooking a holiday meal for the afternoon or evening, cut and soak your potatoes right when you get up that morning.
Warm: This recipe also calls for plant-based milk or vegetable broth warmed up; this can be room temperature or warmer. The idea here is to make sure everything is at the same temperature so that your dish comes out hot and fluffy.
Skins: I’m a big fan of leaving the skin on the potatoes. For starters, who wants to take the time to peel that many potatoes? Fortunately, the skins are where most of the nutrients are, like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
According to the USDA, the nutritional content of potato skin includes:
- Vitamin C: 8 grams, or 9 percent DV
- Calcium: 20 milligrams, or 2 percent DV
- Potassium: 332 milligrams, or 7 percent DV
- Magnesium: 25 milligrams, or 6 percent DV
- Phosphorus: 59 milligrams, or 5 percent DV
- Manganese: 0.4 milligrams, or 16 percent DV
- Iron: 4 grams, or 23 percent DV
- Zinc: 0.3 milligrams, or 3 percent DV
- Copper: 0.5 milligrams, or 53 percent DV
These nutrients support the body in various ways, including bone health, digestion, immunity, and blood pressure.
Mixer: Buying a stand-up mixer was one of the best culinary investments. I use it for making bread, baking, and of course, whipping up mashed potatoes. A hand mixer works too, and if in a pinch, you can use an old-school potato masher. Note that with the masher, you won’t get a whipped potato.
Organic: I can not stress organic enough when it comes to potatoes. You can get away with buying some foods inorganic, as found on the clean 15 list. However, potatoes must always be organic; the USDA identified 70% of the food tested in 2019 had pesticide residue, a possible human carcinogen, and potatoes were on the top of this list.
Serve: If you’re like me, when it is finally time to sit down to the meal you created for loved ones and celebrate, you want everything to be just right, and there is nothing worse than the potatoes being cold! Whipping and serving the potatoes should be one of the very last steps you take before sitting down to feast.
- 3 lbs organic russet or sweet potatoes
- 1 cup plant-based milk or vegetable broth, warmed
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil or non-dairy butter
- Celtic sea salt and pepper to taste
- Cut washed and scrubbed potatoes into one-inch chunks.
- Soak potatoes in filtered water (I always use a Berkey water filter) for at least an hour. You can soak them overnight if you keep them in the refrigerator.
- Drain potatoes.
- Fill a large pot with the potatoes and cover it in filtered water.
- Add a dash of salt and bring it to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook potatoes until they are soft; easy to pierce with a fork.
- Add the potatoes to a stand-up mixer bowl and add oil or plant-based butter, a dash of Celtic sea salt pepper, and 1/2 cup of plant-based milk or vegetable broth, warmed.
- Using the whisk attachment, turn the stand-up mixer on to a low setting to start. As the ingredients begin to mix, turn up the speed to allow the potatoes to whip.
- Add more plant-based milk or vegetable broth, Celtic sea salt, and pepper as needed.
- Serve immediately with Wild Mushroom Gravy.
Give these a try and let me know how they turned out in the comments below! Don’t be afraid to make this recipe your own. Consider adding rosemary, thyme, crushed red peppers, chives or other herbs to bring your dish to life.