Don’t Settle: Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

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Don’t Settle: Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes

Delicious, dairy-free and doable.
Don’t Settle: Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes

Stock, lemon juice and sizzled scallions make these mashed potatoes as delish as the dairy version. Ronnie Fein/JW

Makes 6 servings

30 min

1 hr

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When it comes to mashed potatoes, the richer the better, right? Who can resist them when they’re loaded with butter, softened with milk or cream and maybe even have that extra tangy bonus of cream cheese or sour cream mixed in.

But of course, this dairy-loaded dish is impossible for Thanksgiving if you’re like most of us and will be serving turkey.

So how to make fabulous mashed potatoes anyway? It’s not impossible. Dairy-free mashed potatoes can be as equally fabulous.

In days gone by, most kosher home cooks would simply substitute margarine for the butter. Many people also mixed in non-dairy creamer in place of the milk. Margarine’s okay, and these days there are increasingly more delicious options such as Earth Balance Buttery Spreads. But while these products may taste fine, they don’t really taste like butter. As for non-dairy creamer, sorry folks, but so many of them are actually not pareve and besides, any product that has a long list of fake-sounding ingredients and things like corn syrup and hydrogenated oils is not for me.

So why not go for enrichment that’s not a second choice substitute, but an ingredient loved for itself?

I’ve found great success using a premium, extra-virgin olive oil and either vegetable stock or chicken stock. I also mix in a small amount of lemon juice because its refreshing, citrusy acid brings out a tangy quality that does wonders for the mineral, earthy qualities of potato flesh.

We like our mashed potatoes straight up, but there are dozens of ways to enhance flavor if the plain version is not to your liking. Mix in some tahini (that will make the dish creamier, too) or some chopped chives or herbs such as fresh rosemary. You can also jazz the dish up with seasonings such as Aleppo pepper, smoked paprika, chipotle pepper, grated fresh horseradish, roasted garlic or wasabi. For extra flavor and visual appeal, try topping the mashed potatoes with crispy fried onions, or frizzled scallions or leeks, or crispy bits of lamb or beef bacon or even crispy bread crumbs.

The recipe below is for our favorite plain old dairy-free mashed potatoes. You can decorate with the frizzled scallions or do without. You can make the potatoes a day ahead and reheat in a 350 degree oven.

Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher in Stamford. She is the author of Hip Kosher and her newest cookbook, The Modern Kosher Kitchen, will be published November 1, 2014. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at, friend on Facebook, Twitter at @RonnieVFein.


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Mashed Potatoes with Frizzled Scallions

8-10 scallions

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

5 medium all-purpose potatoes such as Yukon Gold

1/4 cup olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, chopped

4-5 tablespoons chicken or vegetable stock

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt to taste

Pinch or two of cayenne pepper, optional

  1. Wash the scallions and with the tip of a sharp knife, cut along the length of each to cut each scallion in half lengthwise. Remove the root. Cut the lengths in half to make them shorter.
  2. Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallion shreds and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until the scallions are tender and browned. Set aside.
  3. Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and cook them in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a sauté pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic.
  5. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until the vegetables are beginning to brown. Set aside.
  6. Drain the potatoes and mash them with a ricer or potato masher until the lumps have disappeared.
  7. Add the vegetables and any olive oil in the pan and stir them in gently.
  8. Stir in the stock, lemon juice, salt and the cayenne pepper.
  9. Top with the Frizzled Scallions and serve.