Healthy mashed potatoes, but not really all that healthy.
March 25, 2014 7:18 AM   Subscribe

What are some vegan toppings for mashed potatoes that are fatty and delicious and not watery or fake?

I've been using sliced garlic cloves in olive oil, but that's all I've got so far.

Ideas I have seen suggested and find revolting: veggie chili, salsa, soy sour cream-ish stuff, etc.

Combo ideas are nice (scallions and walnuts and olive oil, maybe?) but the idea is it must be delicious, and delicious is defined by not coming from a source that says things like 'this tofu sour cream is just as good as the real thing!'*

Maybe a crazy thick vinaigrette I can make without eggs?

Does not at all need to be healthy.

*No offense intended to satisfied lovers of soy-based dairy alternatives.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Food & Drink (36 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Thai peanut sauce?
posted by ian1977 at 7:20 AM on March 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Avocado chunks?
posted by ian1977 at 7:21 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Try coconut cream. It's really fatty and delicious in coffee and it doesn't have a strong coconut taste. I like this brand, it's from Thailand and it comes in a big container. Shake it well! Check Asian markets, they may have it in cans.

I'd sautee some leeks and a bit of garlic, gently in olive oil, mix that into the potatoes, then add the coconut cream.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:22 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I second coconut cream! If you let the can sit a long while and open carefully, the thick cream on the top is amazing. I use this to make vegan whipped cream. My kids drink the leftover watery stuff or I use in curry.

How about this vegan Doritos spice mix and cashew cream: Doritos spice mix is included in the recipe.

Cashew cream with curry powder, or any spice mix, actually. Soak the cashews overnight and they are creamier.

Also seconding the peanut sauce. A cheat homemade could be a scoop of PB, some scallions, drizzle soy sauce and sriracha, sprinkle garlic powder. I've done this -- it's really good.

I make vegan pesto with nutritional yeast instead of cheese fwiw. Any green will do, lately in my home it's spinach.
posted by mamabear at 7:29 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I do sautéed onions or leeks with sliced field mushrooms and garlic. (Vegan) pesto is also pretty nice on a mashed or baked potato.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:30 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hollyhock dressing?
posted by whistle pig at 7:30 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sauteed minced mushrooms?
posted by mmascolino at 7:30 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also blending cashews and miso is the base for pure deliciousness.
posted by whistle pig at 7:31 AM on March 25, 2014

Best answer: I make vegan mushroom gravy by throwing a bunch of different kinds of mushrooms in a pot with oil, veggie broth, garlic, and onion on low heat for about 30 min and then dumping it in the blender and finishing with a ton of black pepper. It gets destroyed by vegans and non-vegans whenever I make it.

I bet some fennel would be really good in there too.
posted by justjess at 7:32 AM on March 25, 2014 [8 favorites]

Mushroom gravy!
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:37 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This isn't a topping per se, but if I mash Yukon Gold potatoes up with some chopped scallions, minced garlic, and minced sun dried tomato with a generous splash of olive oil, I am a happy girl.
posted by missmobtown at 7:38 AM on March 25, 2014

Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats recently came up with a very-not-healthy vegan nacho sauce that might be worth looking into.
posted by neroli at 7:43 AM on March 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Play with tahini. On its own it's delicious but a little stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth, but it has this miraculous property of turning into rich creamy deliciousness if you add watery things to it and beat the crap out of it.

If you put some tahini in a small bowl and beat in a little water with a fork, then it will rapidly and weirdly get thicker. But if you keep dribbling in water and keep beating it enough to eliminate all clumping, it will eventually thin out again. Once it reaches the consistency of a thickish dairy cream, you can then whip it like cream and make something that tastes like tahini with a whipped cream mouth feel. Having got an idea of the proportions involved, you can move to doing the whole lot in one step with a blender.

This is good, but it gets better. Include a little soy sauce in the mix, taste it, and it might not make it as far as your mashed potatoes. Try with a little good vegetable stock. Maybe a bit of tomato sauce, or tomato paste. The stuff is amazing.
posted by flabdablet at 7:44 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe there's a storebought vegan salad dressing you like. I've usually found creamy dill to be the best choice on that aisle for me.

Or make an Italian dressing with olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic. Plus maybe basil and oregano.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 7:46 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cashews and miso, by the way, sounds like a flavour first cousin to tahini and soy sauce. Anybody who likes one should definitely try the other.
posted by flabdablet at 7:46 AM on March 25, 2014

Nutritional yeast, olive oil or melted Earth Balance, salt, and a little garlic, mixed together to form a paste.
posted by ActionPopulated at 7:50 AM on March 25, 2014

Sauteed / caramelized shallots are great for this
posted by Mchelly at 7:57 AM on March 25, 2014

I would roast the garlic before mashing it in, for a lovely creamy full flavor.
posted by gaspode at 7:59 AM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Sliced mushrooms + red wine + slow low heat forever and ever = amazing, can add onions and garlic if you like.
posted by Mizu at 8:05 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love salad dressing on baked potatoes, esp. sesame/ mushroom/ miso varieties. You can roast onions; peel, wrap in foil, adding some olive oil on top before sealing it up, bake (or put on the campfire). Mash into baked potato.
posted by theora55 at 8:11 AM on March 25, 2014

I think you're approaching this from the wrong way. Mash in either carrots, swede, celeriac or cabbage to get a more interesting flavour, and just use gravy to provide wetness. The potatoes should be pretty creamy on their own if you mash them well and use some oil.

You can then also use leftovers to make bubble and squeak, so win/win.
posted by tinkletown at 8:16 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love silken tofu fried up in lots of margerine, soy sauce, and garlic powder. I just kinda smoosh it in the pan and fry until it has some golden brown chewier bits. (It's not pretending to be anything else; I'm hoping that was your objection to soy.) I also love eating this on toast or with grits.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:16 AM on March 25, 2014

Best answer: Here is a vegan recipe for toum, which is a powerful but creamy garlic emulsion. (Many versions of toum are emulsified with egg white, but it's by no means untraditional to make it a little more contaminant-free without egg. There are other recipes that use potato for the thickener but I find them extra fiddly.)

Onion Strings, with or without BBQ sauce. (This sounds weird, but good sweet BBQ-like baked beans are really good with baked or mashed potatoes.)

Curry sauce of your choice.

Classic mushy green peas or pea puree (if you're trying to do something especially pretty on the plate, drawing designs with purees would make for great wow factor).

I don't know if this is a very personal quirk or if other people do this too, but one of my favorite mashed potato accompaniments is just asparagus, chopped small and cooked to mushy-soft in a good amount of olive oil, with garlic added very late so it's barely cooked, a little spritz of lemon juice, and slightly too much salt, which balances out in the potatoes. Getting plenty of asparagus-y oil is as important as the asparagus itself.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:17 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Fried shallots!!!! Slice shallots into rings, dip in a batter comprised of half flour and half beer (it should have the consistency of pancake batter), drop into bubbling oil and fry until crisp and brown.

I also use this as a topping for green bean cassarole, which I make from scratch (duxelles, steamed haricot verts, the whole nines).
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:27 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mushroom paprikás without sour cream? Saute onions in oil, add at least a teaspoon of paprika (the Hungarian stuff if you can get it) add choppped musrooms and saute for about three or four minutes. Push the shrooms to the side of the pan and add a big teaspoon of flour to the oil for a minute while stirring, then add veggie stock or water to thicken into a gravy and season. At this point you have what we call a mushroom pörkölt, which is a paprika based stew without sour cream. Paprikás (as in chicken paprikás) is when you add sour cream to finish. The flour roux should thicken it to a creamy consistency. We usually eat this over corn meal mush "mamaliga" but mashed potatos will do fine.
posted by zaelic at 9:00 AM on March 25, 2014

Yum! Store-bought bacon bits are actually generally vegan. I like to make a gravy with bacon tempeh and mushrooms. Goddess dressing with fried onions, shallots, or bacon bits works really well for a quick meal, as does Drew's Smoked Tomato dressing.
posted by semaphore at 9:02 AM on March 25, 2014

Almond gravy is the shit! Almonds in a food processor, heat in water, add liquid smoke or spices and a little corn starch. Amazing.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:46 AM on March 25, 2014

Another tried and true vegan gravy recipe:
saute 1 part flour with 1 part nutritional yeast flakes (NOT baking yeast and NOT brewers yeast) until toasty warm and smelling nice, do not burn
add 1 part oil, mix
add about 3 parts water and whisk smooth, add more water to desired thinness
simmer until thick (2 minutes or so), add more water to desired thinness
add a splash or so of soy sauce

This is so good as is. Can certainly modify with mushrooms or mushroom powder or onions, etc.
posted by RoadScholar at 10:18 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Definitely sauteed mushrooms in olive oil, especially something fancier than plain white or brown mushrooms.

I like garlic chives instead of regular chives.

For a while I enjoyed olive oil, crumbled feta, and black pepper. Feta's not vegan, but fermented bean curd (fu yu) is very similar in texture, though much saltier, and tastes more like fermented soy than cheese - but don't think of it as a direct substitute. Maybe toasted sesame oil, crumbled fu yu, and white pepper would hit the spot.

Have you tried Soyrizo? Fry it up into a mashed-up paste of vegan sausagey goodness, and pour it over the potato. There are other brands of vegan "chorizo" (e.g. Tofurkey brand) that are more chunky, like taco meat.

If all else fails, there's always tempeh bacon. If you go after vegan cheese, I've found the Follow Your Heart brand mozzarella blocks taste like very mild mozzarella, where all other kinds taste like fake processed cheese or tofu.
posted by WasabiFlux at 11:15 AM on March 25, 2014

Bitchin' Sauce.

Good on everything.
posted by morganannie at 11:44 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sprinkle on in this order, to taste: dill (dried is fine), salt, olive oil.
posted by amtho at 1:20 PM on March 25, 2014

Have you tried colcannon? It's basically mashed potatoes with kale (or cabbage) mixed in. It's pretty awesome, especially if you eat it in what I am told is the traditional way, with a big knob of melting butter on top. (Obviously you can use your favorite butter-substitute.) I usually just mash potatoes, sautee some chopped kale along with scallions and finely diced onion, and mix it in with salt, pepper, lots of butter/Earth Balance/olive oil/whatever, sometimes nutritional yeast, and (here's the spice that gives it its distinctive flavor) nutmeg [or mace if you have it]. Here are a few vegan recipes (this and this) which have a few more ingredients. I haven't tried them yet, but they sound tasty.
posted by spelunkingplato at 4:03 PM on March 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone; I look forward to trying these.

I'll share my misguided attempt this afternoon: playing off the caramelized onions/pureed mushrooms ideas above I caramelized a pound of onions in half a cup of olive oil, three cloves of garlic, a loving amount of salt, and pureed it with a ton of black pepper (all bastardizations of items above). It was way too sweet and velvety in a weird way, so I cut it with a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar. I now have a really great accidental creamy salad dressing. Seriously, it's fantastic. But it's salad dressing.

I also made the bitchin sauce because I thought it was meant to be since I not only had nutritional yeast on hand but also Bragg's and what were the odds? It is indeed very good (it's kind of southwesterny) but a little thin for mashed potatoes. It would, however, be great for fries, which is now its destiny. I recommend it highly - it's not Sad Vegan Food at all.

So I think my next destination is investigations of mushroom gravies. I also think the caramelized onions would have been good had I left them alone and not pureed them. I also think nutritional yeast and the use of soy sauce as a seasoning is something I have to learn about. (I'm not actually vegan, for whatever it's worth. I'm intermittently vegan.)

Any other ideas, please do keep them coming.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:59 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am a fan of this gravy. I usually have it with biscuits, but I imagine it would be really good on potatoes.
posted by baniak at 7:06 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for something creamy, you might try looking for soy-based sour cream. It exists! I used some to make sour cream and onion dip, which was excellent. Actually, you could put that on a potato...

Also, soy-based yogurt, mixed with stuff you like, might be another thing to try.
posted by amtho at 9:16 PM on March 25, 2014

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