Ask Our Expert

Q: While I love mashed potatoes, do you have any suggestions for some new, healthful sides?

A: I hear you loud and clear. We all get used to eating the same foods and sometimes new, unfamiliar dishes are not well accepted at the dinner table. Since mashed potatoes are a family favorite, why not just tweak a tried-and-true dish? Give your mashed potatoes a makeover by adding some root vegetables, such as parsnips, turnips, and rutabaga. Simply slice and dice your potatoes, along with your root vegetables. Then, prepare your mashed potato “mix” as usual. Because the white root vegetables will be blended together, picky eaters may not even notice this subtle recipe change. Or, for a bit of fun, add a pop of color by including a mix of bright root vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, or beets to your mashed potatoes. The vibrant mashed mixture will surely turn some heads and create some conversation at the dinner table.

A few tips when making mashed root vegetables:

  • Cut all root vegetables into roughly the same size – about 1 – 1 ½ inch cubes. If using carrots, slice them a bit thinner as they take a little longer to cook.
  • When boiling vegetables, place in a pot large enough to cover vegetables by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil and lower to medium. Gently boil the veggies for 15-18 minutes or until soft and easily pierced with a fork.
  • Drain vegetables in a colander and return to the pot. Mash with a fork, potato masher, or use a food mill for a smooth consistency. Using a food processor or immersion blender may lead to a sticky, gummy dish.
  • Add milk, butter (or whatever you like to add to your potatoes) and season to taste.
  • Feel free to add other vegetables like winter squash to your mashed vegetable dish.

For some quick tips for great slow-cooked dishes, visit Nutrition 101.

Have another Nutrition question? Ask our Dietitian.

Mashed Potatoes
Jill Kwasny

Registered Dietitian