Mashed potatoes are a classic for a reason: comforting and creamy, they pair well with almost any main. But did you know their cousin, sweet potatoes, are even healthier? (As long as you don't top them with marshmallows...)
In this recipe, we're taking a different tack. This vegan recipe (no gelatin here!) is brimming with superfoods like turmeric and garlic for a healthy, delicious side perfect for colder weather (and for warding off colds, too!)
The White Potato: Healthy or Not?
Despite its presence in the veggie aisle, we've got some bad news about the health benefits (or lack thereof) of white potatoes; According to a 2014 report from the Harvard School of Public Health, a cup of white potatoes has about the same effect on blood sugar as a can of soda or a handful of candy. (That's probably why potatoes are not even included in the vegetable category on Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate.)
Essentially, the carbohydrates in white potatoes are digested rapidly, causing blood sugar and insulin to surge and then crash. This roller-coaster-like effect on blood sugar and insulin release can result in people feeling hungry soon after having a meal. Cue: overeating.
“Over the long term," Harvard's report notes, "diets high in potatoes and similarly rapidly-digested, high carbohydrate foods can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.”
Of course, this does not mean you should run screaming from white potatoes at every encounter. Consider them a treat to be enjoyed mindfully in moderation. Potatoes do contain essential minerals and vitamins, after all, and can be made into delicious homemade French fries – no drive-thru required.
Potato Upgrade: Sweet Potatoes
As compared to its white counterpart, orange sweet potatoes are quite literally a horse of a different color.
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants such as beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid, and coumarins. As compared to white potatoes, sweet potatoes boast a lower glycemic index and more fiber, not to mention far more nutrients, including vitamin A.
Unlike other sources of beta-carotene (carrots, leafy greens, cantaloupe), orange-fleshed sweet potatoes have been shown to have a superior ability to increase blood levels of vitamin A. This is because sweet potatoes contain the highly bioavailable variety of beta-carotene.
Comfort Food Revamp: Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Along with swapping white potatoes with nutrient-rich sweet potatoes, this recipe boasts turmeric and garlic for added health benefits (and flavor!) Turmeric is loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, while the compounds in garlic promote heart health and immune system support.
Olive oil adds essential healthy fats to the recipe, which makes the vitamin A in sweet potatoes more easily absorbed. Vegetable broth adds a rich and savory flavor, but it could easily be swapped with organic bone broth, unsweetened almond or cashew milk, or chicken stock instead.
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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Turmeric and Garlic
- 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ - ¾ cup vegetable broth
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Pinch black pepper
- Fill a large pot with water to just under a steamer basket. Place peeled and cubed sweet potatoes into the steamer, close the lid, and steam for 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are super soft and can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Put the sweet potatoes in a high-speed blender, or add to a large bowl to use a hand beater to mix. Add half a cup of vegetable broth and the remaining ingredients. Blend well. If mixture needs more liquid, add the remaining quarter cup of vegetable broth, and blend again until texture is smooth and creamy.
- Spoon the mashed sweet potatoes into a bowl and serve immediately. Enjoy!