We all like to enjoy a good dollop of mashed potatoes alongside a juicy steak, but sometimes having the same side over and over can become quite boring. That’s why you should have a plan B on hand – try an alternative like veggie mash. It’s healthier, has more nutrients, and it will give you a new world of fresh flavors on your plate.
The French term for mash is “purée,” and it means cooked vegetables or legumes, which have been blended or mashed to the consistency of a soft, creamy paste or thick liquid. Even if you can mash a large variety of veggies, mashed potatoes are the only ones that have become a classic dish, which in some cultures is now a tradition. For example, any American has a roasted turkey and a large bowl of mashed potatoes on its Thanksgiving table.
Mashed potatoes became an American staple during the 1700s. Potatoes are a native North American food that is easy to grow, plus they’re filling and affordable. As far back as 1747, Americans were mashing up potatoes with butter, milk, salt, and cream, and dishing them up on the Thanksgiving table.
Maybe mashed potatoes are so popular and everybody likes them because they’re fluffy, creamy and buttery. They’re not only easy to make, but also delicious in any combination. I enjoy eating mashed potatoes with literally anything. From steaks to salads, fish to cheese and so on. For me, it can be a main dish, not only a side.
Why replace mashed potatoes
I like mashed potatoes, but I realize it doesn’t do me any good – they are pure carbs after all. So, I’ve recently started to look for healthier alternatives to mashed potatoes. Not that the dish isn’t healthy in and of itself. But it’s very starchy and is often made with lots of milk, butter, and maybe some cheese. Not to mention that as a side dish you pair it with meat, cheese, and salad. That’s too caloric to be healthy.
So, I found some veggie mash ideas as alternatives to mashed potatoes. Trying them out made me realize that mashed potatoes as my first choice are a matter of habit and familiarity. And now I know that I like mashing other vegetables too.
3 veggie mash ideas to spark your appetite
1. Cauliflower mash
Cauliflower has an unmistakable strong flavor. To make a delicious veggie mash from it, combine it with parmesan. Use a large head of cauliflower and boil its florets until they’re tender, then add them to a food processor with skim milk, olive oil, grated parmesan, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse everything until you have a creamy veggie mash. Spoon the mash into a bowl, and top it with a handful of chopped chives.
2. Parsnip and carrot mash
Parsnip has a neutral taste when you compare it with other veggies. You can mash it on its own, but you can also mix it with carrots, for a more nourishing and sweeter taste. So, boil some diced parsnips and carrots until they’re tender. If you want parsnip to dominate the dish, use only 2 carrots for 1/2 pound (250 grams) of parsnip. They’ll flavor and color up your meal. Pulse everything in a food processor in which you also add some olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Of course, other spices – like nutmeg and chili powder – are welcomed! Your choice!
Let’s say this is the “low fat” option. But if you want to enrich its taste, you can make a compromise and add some butter and milk.
3. Multi-root veggie mash
Because you can mash so many vegetables, how about combining as many as you want in the same dish? Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pot on your stove, add diced root veggies (carrots, butternut squash, parsnips, celery root), some crushed garlic cloves, and fresh thyme. Cook them while occasionally stirring until the vegetables begin to soften. It should take about 10 minutes. Then, add 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 bay leaf, and some water so you can simmer your veggies until they’re soft and the liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove the bay leaf (it cannot be mashed), add 1 more tablespoon of butter and use a potato masher until your veggies are chunky.
Do you want a less caloric veggie mash? Just skip the butter and replace it with skim milk.
I still think mashed potatoes are one of the best side dishes on earth. But if you give it a chance and try every other vegetable, you might learn to appreciate other varieties of mash, too. Other than cauliflower and parsnip, you can also mash celery root, pumpkin, beet, turnips, rutabaga, or butternut squash.