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Vegetarian Journal's Foodservice Update
Healthy Tips and Recipes for Institutions

Volume VIII, Number 1 Winter 1999/2000  


Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are surely one of the most popular and versatile lunch and dinner menu items. Prepared from scratch or made from a mix, mashed potatoes can be served as a side dish or part of an entrée and used as an ingredient for soups and entrées.

Mashed potatoes can be comforting or trendy, low fat or completely sinful, vegetarian or vegan, depending on the chef. Wolfgang Puck made rosemary mashed potatoes popular and Oprah Winfrey’s restaurant featured unpeeled, horseradish mashed potatoes. At Leona Yarbrough Restaurant, Fairway, KS, 1500 pounds of potatoes are mashed every week and Phillips Flagship Restaurant, Washington, DC, produce 500 pounds weekly.

Vertical choppers, electric mixers, immersion blenders, food processors, and of course, hands can all be used to produce mashed potatoes, depending on the quantity desired. Machines get all the lumps out, but if not used carefully can produce more of a purée than a mash.

From-scratch mashed potatoes can be made with starchy potato varieties (such as russets or bakers) so they absorb liquid and can be whipped into fluffiness. Liquid can include hot soy or rice milk, melted margarine, puréed tofu, unflavored soy yogurt, olive oil, water reserved from the potato cooking (be sure the potatoes were thoroughly cleaned if you’re doing this), and vegetable stock.

Peel on, peel off, or a combination of the two is your choice. If leaving the peel on, you might want to throw in some red, gold, or purple potatoes for a conversation piece.

There are many mashed potato mixes commercially available. For vegan potatoes, carefully read the ingredient line, as there may be dairy products (butter, casein, whey, and/or milk solids) added for texture. If possible, purchase mixes that have Vitamin C added (this is actually done to prevent oxidation or browning, but gives the added dividend of sneaking in some nutrition).

Mash potatoes while hot, and be sure to add hot liquid to both scratch and mix potatoes. The heat encourages the potatoes to absorb liquid, so you’ll get a fluffy, moister product. Whip to fluffiness and season according to the accompanying dishes.

Potatoes don’t have to do a solo act. They can be mashed with cooked sweet potatoes or yams, carrots, turnips, rutabagas (potatoes and rutabagas are usually mashed together to take the edge off the rutabagas spiciness), winter squash, and celery root. Sautéed veggies, such as fennel, onion, garlic, mushrooms and cabbage can be added for flavor and texture. Seasonings such as grated horseradish, thyme, sage, oregano, basil, chili powder, and curry powder can add some "zing."

For a lower fat version, use non- or low-fat soy milk, defatted vegetable or mushroom stock or cooking water. Be sure to add seasonings to adjust for the flavor you took out with the fat.

Mashed potatoes can be served on their own as a side dish, seasoned or plain. If using russets, save the potato shells, stuff prepared mashed potatoes in them, top with onions, garlic, and mushrooms, and bake for a twice-baked potato. Add breadcrumbs and minced veggies and fry or bake for potato pancakes. Alternate layers of seasoned cooked beans and mashed potatoes for a vegan shepherd’s pie. Prepare potato chowder by thinning mashed potatoes with soy milk and adding chunked veggies, corn, and more potatoes (in chunks).

We could go on and on. Here are some mix and match mashed potato ideas for you:

Excerpts from the Winter 1999/2000 Issue:

For the complete issue, please subscribe to the magazine. To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal's Foodservice Update, click here and check "Add 1 year Foodservice Update for $10 more"  on whatever subscription form you choose.

Converted to HTML by Stephanie Schueler.

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