Mashed Potatoes
February 18, 2005 1:24 PM   Subscribe

"Real" mashed potatoes without milk or butter. Recipes?

I've tried adding eggs, soy milk, margarine / canola oil, and nothing seems as good as when I do it with milk and butter. I'm making them for someone with dietary restrictions that can't have milk/butter. With just olive oil they fall apart and get crumbly, with soy milk they taste very strange to me, and with margarine they also taste "wrong" or "flat." What's a good non-dairy 'binding agent?'
posted by neustile to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What is the dietary restriction? How about lactose-free milk?
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:27 PM on February 18, 2005

Chicken broth is fantastic for flavor and a little bit of texture. Low sodium/healthy chicken broth even comes in pourable containers for cooking.

Also, you may want to fully peel them if you're not already. The peels don't cream up the way pure starchy potato guts tend to.
posted by Gucky at 1:28 PM on February 18, 2005

My girlfriend has a milk allergy, but it turns out that it's only to cow's milk. - we use goat's milk in everything.
posted by skwm at 1:31 PM on February 18, 2005

Assuming your guest is lactose-intolerant, use lactose-free milk and canola-based margarine. Or buy them a bottle of Lactaid pills to take with it.

Otherwise, best of luck to you.
posted by Jairus at 1:32 PM on February 18, 2005

Cook the potatoes in chicken stock instead of water (on preview, as Gucky said), and add some good olive oil when mashing & seasoning. If they seem too crumbly, you can put them in a casserole dish after mashing and pour some rice milk & a little more oil over them, then keep them in a warm oven, uncovered, for a little while before serving.
posted by obloquy at 1:33 PM on February 18, 2005

I don't use anything like that, just a bit of salt, pepper and maybe if I'm feeling daring - a bit of parsley. You can get them quite smooth if you mash them, then give them a good stir with a whisk.

I think the main thing is to get used to mashed potatoes without. I weaned myself off milk in coffee, and now white coffee just tastes odd to me.

Also, different potatoes have different characteristics when cooked. Try a few different varieties and see if that helps the texture.
posted by tomble at 1:37 PM on February 18, 2005

For a butter replacement I have been using Olivolio. Made from olive oil but has the texture and taste of butter. Very good.
posted by scazza at 1:41 PM on February 18, 2005

Shit, I mean Olivio.

Yea it looks like cheap stuff, but I and my boyfriend are foodies, but he has high cholesterol. Finding that soy butters are crumbly and rock hard I tried this and it is great. Spreadable, has the right color and texture. It may be salted though so I would taste any recipes used with it before adding salt.
posted by scazza at 1:45 PM on February 18, 2005

There's a great natural margarine called Earth Balance that tastes fantastic. It's the only butter substitute I'll use. It spreads well and is good for baking and cooking.
posted by smich at 1:48 PM on February 18, 2005

I actually don't add any dairy to my potatoes, out of preference. I peel a few cloves of garlic and toss 'em in with the potatoes, and add chicken broth when mashing. Yum.
posted by Specklet at 2:05 PM on February 18, 2005

dulse champ. adding dulse (or your favorite seaweed) is quite tasty and adds a bit of cohesiveness.
posted by dorian at 2:06 PM on February 18, 2005

I've done them with "Silk" brand soymilk (unflavored, naturally), thick vegetable stock, and "Willow Run" brand margarine, and they come out great, if by great you mean fluffy, flavorful, & satisfying. If by "great" you mean "milky" and "buttery," then you're always going to be a little off without milk and butter.
posted by scarabic at 2:23 PM on February 18, 2005

Another vote for low-sodium chicken broth, but lose the olive oil.

Instead, reserve the cooking liquid (the broth, which will now have some potato starch in it) and use that.
posted by briank at 2:25 PM on February 18, 2005

This might apply:

Milk by many other names:
a cook's guide to dairy and non-dairy "milks."
(Includes recipes and tips on cooking)

By Nancy Ross Ryan

Her mashed potatoes recipe uses oat milk. I haven't tried it, but it sounds like the cook came up with it for pretty much the same reasons you're asking.

From personal experience, I'd add that I've saved mashed potatoes from disaster in the past (ran out of milk and butter) by using plenty of sour cream instead. I assume real sour cream is also on the no-no list, but Imo is a pretty good non-dairy sour cream substitute that might go a long way toward combating the crumbly strangeness if added to other recipes.
posted by Man O' Straw at 2:38 PM on February 18, 2005

Try some minced garlic (to taste) sometime. Also, we love using red new potatoes, skins and all.
posted by lobstah at 2:39 PM on February 18, 2005

Yukon golds moistened very liberally with good-quality chicken stock. The Yukon gold potatoes have a rich enough texture than they seem buttery even without butter. I fooled my saturated fat-loving dad.

I'm fond of adding snipped chives to this. I think that the little bit of fresh and green makes the potatoes seem creamier.
posted by desuetude at 2:45 PM on February 18, 2005

Thanks everyone!!! I don't know much about the restrictions or the reasons but I'm going to stay away from milk and butter, even the lactose-free kind, to be safe. Will try the chicken broth, dulse (very interesting!), olivio, and peeling/different potatoes (will look for yukon golds tonite.) Good thing I like potatoes. Garlic and horseradish are already in my recipe anyway :) Now, can I mark all these answers as best?
posted by neustile at 2:47 PM on February 18, 2005

I've boiled potatoes with sprigs of rosemary in the water, and it gives the mashed potatoes this fantastic herby flavour...
posted by Katemonkey at 3:36 PM on February 18, 2005

I'll second smich's Earth Balance recommendation; the stuff is incredibly good. My brother-in-law who has high cholesterol turned me on to it. I adore butter but this is the next best thing. Trader Joe's carries it.
posted by TimeFactor at 5:41 PM on February 18, 2005

I second Yukon Golds. Make sure not to make the mistake I did once at Thanksgiving:

I was trying to be calorie conscious and heard that mashed potatoes made with chicken broth were a delicious and lower-calorie way to prepare them. But in my literal mind, I thought this meant to boil them in chicken broth, rather than boil them in water and use chicken broth as a thinner/flavoring agent when mashing.

When you boil Yukon Gold potatoes in a pot full of chicken broth you end up with eight pounds of wallpaper paste. Tasty. Lower Calorie. Suspiciously stringy -- think deep dish pizza.

I have no idea what sort of freakish chemistry happened there, but if you decide to go the chicken broth route -- boil in water, drain, mash with chicken broth, serve and most importantly, enjoy.
posted by macadamiaranch at 6:17 PM on February 18, 2005

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

One head of garlic
2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, cleaned and quartered
1 TB salt
3 to 4 TB Olive Oil

Roast the garlic by cutting off the top, brushing with olive oil, wrapping in foil and baking for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Meanwhile put the potatoes in cold water, add salt and bring to a boil. Boil 20 minutes. Strain the potatoes and put back in the pot. Squeeze out the roasted garlic and smash with potatoes. Add the oil and smash until desired consistency. You may want to thin with a little cooking water or broth.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:23 PM on February 18, 2005

Adding to what Secret Life of Gravy said, if you have a Garlic roaster, which is a little terra-cotta hut for the garlic, you can "roast" the garlic in the microwave in one minute. (you do the same prep.; removing the top of the bulb, olive oil, salt, &c.)

Sometimes I'll eat garlic smashed potatoes all by themselves. I'm crazy like that.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:00 PM on February 18, 2005

I recently discovered that my mom has been making the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes with a few globs of mayonnaise instead of butter for years. It's good. Creamy. Of course, if your friend is a vegan rather than lactose-intolerant, the eggs in the mayo will be a problem. I don't think soy mayo would cut it.
posted by librarina at 8:22 PM on February 18, 2005

Water works. You can add all kinds of things to improve the flavor (see above) but when you're making substitutions you need to think about consistency. In other words, don't try to substitute oil or eggs for milk in a recipe, it won't work. Substituting water for milk, however, does work. The added water (use the cooking water) will give the taters the right texture, then add whatever you like to add flavor.
posted by bonheur at 8:28 PM on March 1, 2005

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