By Jenn Fillenworth
Potatoes are a kitchen staple for good reason: They’re cheap and filling, with a shelf life of up to a few months, provided you store them in a cool, dry, dark place. They’re also surprisingly nutritious: They’re a great source of potassium — more so than bananas — which helps us manage stress and anxiety better. No wonder they’re the perfect food to serve when dealing with the stress of holiday planning!
The only problem? Your typical mashed potato recipe usually involves a generous amount of butter, heavy cream — or both. That makes them delicious, but not always the healthiest option.
For special occasions, we say, go ahead and load up your spuds with butter and cream. But know that there are other options out there for you for every other day of the year. Here’s a cheat sheet to making potatoes that are good and good for you.
But, First: Know Your Potatoes
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.
Russets are known for being large and in charge. They’re ideal 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 roasted, baked, steamed, boiled, mashed, or pureed. Roasting is a great way to caramelize those natural sugars.
Red potatoes are always a home run when you are looking for a crispy baked option. They’re also good boiled or sautéed on the stovetop.
Yukon Golds are highly versatile and have the same fluffy interior that russets have, but they tend to be smaller and creamier. You can use any cooking method, making them a great staple to keep in your pantry.
How to Make Potatoes Delicious (Without a Ton of Cream)
1. Roast them with olive oil.
Roasting potatoes is so simple and hands-off, I do it 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 spids are smaller, you can keep them whole or you can slice them in half. You can spice up this method of cooking with any type of seasoning (I personally love a Cajun blend on mine); toss them in chimichurri, pesto, or any of your other favorite sauce; or just roast them with fresh garlic and herbs.
Get the Recipe: 3-Ingredient Roasted Dijon Potatoes from The Kitchn
2. Hasselback your potatoes.
Hasselback potatoes came bursting onto 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. It allows for optimal flavor coverage since your seasonings will coat every layer of the potato. 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 from Feasting at Home
3. Lighten up your mashed potatoes.
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