Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pesto Mashed Potatoes

A swirl of pesto on top takes mashed potatoes from ordinary to elegant. If you prefer your mashed potatoes a little more basic, see my post for, well, Basic Mashed Potatoes. And if you prefer something even more adventurous, you might like my Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

For the pesto:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup vegan chicken broth (prepared from Not Chick'n bouillon)
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
For the potatoes:
  • 2 and 1/2 pounds baking potato
  • 1/2 cup grated vegan cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan chicken broth (prepared from Not Chick'n bouillon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. To prepare the pesto, combine the basil in a blender with the parsley, 1/4 cup broth, and olive oil.  Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes: peel and cube the potatoes and place in a saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

3. Drain and return to the pan.

Note: it can be helpful to return the pan to the burner over low heat for just a moment, and then shake the potatoes, to dry them thoroughly. Doing so makes for better mashing.

4. Add the grated cheese, milk, 1/2 cup broth, salt, and black pepper. Mash to desired consistency, then return to the burner and cook for a final 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until heated through.

Note: for the cheese tonight, I shredded the vegan mozzarella block from Galaxy Foods, a nice but not overpowering substitute for Parmesan. Either a ricer or hand-held potato masher works well to mash the russet (baking) potatoes here, but I prefer my hand-held:

5. Spoon about 3/4 cup mashed potatoes onto each of 8 plates, and drizzle each serving with 1 tablespoon pesto - don't stir the pesto in, or you will wind up with green potatoes! (Unless of course, you decide to make these on St. Patrick's Day).

Because these mashed potatoes are out of the ordinary, I decided to pair them with equally innovative foods. Tonight that was flatbread wraps spread with hummus and topped with broccoli rabe, and a salad of tomato wedges, vegan blue cheese crumbles (from Veg Cuisine), and crumbled Tofurky chorizo.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (about 3/4 cup), Calories 190 

Tasting Notes:
I was a little disappointed in the pesto, and would make it more traditionally next time, with pine nuts and less broth. This version was watery and needed more basil both to thicken it and for stronger taste. That said, the pesto was lovely dolloped over the mashed potatoes, which were creamy, smooth, and had a light peppery flavor. The dish also needed a touch more salt, but certainly these were a fun and different take on regular mashed potatoes.


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