By Jenn Fillenworth
The hearty and humble potato is a staple for many, especially around the holidays. But beyond being a workhorse in the kitchen, they are a great source of potassium, more so than bananas, making them a delicious and nutritious side dish to any meal. Potassium actually helps us manage stress and anxiety better, so let’s call it: potatoes are a perfect food to serve when dealing with holiday stress and planning!
While potatoes, especially mashed potatoes, are delicious, that cream adds up the calories and saturated fat quickly. Choosing an alternative to cream is actually simple and even switching up the mashed potato game opens up so many possibilities! And don’t get stuck on cooking just one type of potato — they come in all different sizes and flavors just waiting for you to try.
The Potato Possibilities
Russet potatoes are known for being large and in charge. These are perfect for baking, frying, or mashing. Most mashed potato recipes you see will call for russets because of their high starch content.
Sweet potatoes have become very popular over the last several years. They are highly versatile and can be used in roasting baking, steaming, boiling, mashed, or pureed. Roasting sweet potatoes is a great method to caramelize those natural sugars within the potato.
Red potatoes are always a home run when you are looking for a crispy baked option. Outside of baking, these are good boiled or sautéed on the stovetop.
Yukon gold potatoes are highly versatile and have the same fluffy interior that russet potatoes have but they tend to be smaller and creamier. You can use any cooking method on these potatoes, making them a great staple to have in the house.
Note: Store your potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place for optimal holding.
How to Switch Up your Potato Game
Roast with Olive Oil
Roasting potatoes is so simple and hands-off. I roast potatoes at least twice a week. For this type of cooking method, I usually toss small redskin potatoes or Yukon golds with olive oil, salt, and pepper. If your potatoes are smaller, you can keep them whole or you can slice them in half. Opt for olive oil to take advantage of its anti-inflammatory fats and high levels of antioxidants. You can spice up your roasted potatoes with any type of seasoning (I personally love a Cajun blend on mine) or you can toss them in chimichurri, pesto, or any of your other favorite sauces.
Boost the flavor up even more with garlic and fresh herbs.
Hasselback potatoes came bursting into the food scene a few years back and I’ve been in love ever since. This method makes small cuts halfway through the potato until it looks similar to an accordion when finished. This method allows for optimal flavor coverage since your seasonings will coat every layer of the potato. Any type of your favorite spice blend will work with these potatoes. First, I drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then apply my other seasonings. There’s no limit to the toppings you can add, roasted nuts, sautéed vegetables, pesto, freshly grated parmesan, the list goes on and on!
Get the recipe: Rosemary Garlic Hasselback Potatoes
A Smarter Mashed Potato
Okay, so maybe you want to keep the mashed potatoes on the table. I don’t blame you, I love a good mashed potato. I don’t love the heaviness from too much butter and cream! I lighten up the fat content of my mashed potatoes by using plain Greek yogurt and finishing with just a hint of butter so that I’m not compromising the flavor too much. The Greek yogurt adds richness and moisture and a hit of tang. Plus Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, which will help keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you are looking to thin out your potatoes more, try adding vegetable stock. Adding fresh herbs to your potatoes will also boost your flavor without compromising the nutrition.
Here’s a great recipe to check out: Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes