From potatoes to parsnips, there are plenty of mashable options to be found in the produce aisle. Here are some of our favorite vegetable “mash ups”:
Potatoes: When it comes to mashed potatoes, the right spud matters. Most varieties can be categorized into 1 of 2 groups: floury and waxy. Russet potatoes (aka baking or Idaho potatoes) are the quintessential floury potato and are terrific mashed. Their structure allows them to absorb lots of flavorful liquids, like Swanson® broth, milk (or cream) and butter while staying fluffy.
Waxy varieties, such as red-skinned and many heirloom fingerlings, make fine mashed potatoes but their structure can’t take on the same amounts of liquids and won’t have the flavor depth of mashed potatoes made with floury spuds. Because they hold their shape well after cooking, waxy potatoes are great sautéed or used in potato salads or chowder.
Some varieties, like Yukon golds, have qualities of both waxy and floury potatoes and can be used interchangeably.
To peel or not to peel? It’s up to you, really, but we always peel russets because the skin is rather thick and inhibits super-smooth mashed potatoes. Red, fingerlings and Yukon golds have thinner skins that are easier to mash to smoothness. For more flavor depth, simmer the potatoes in Swanson broth, using just enough to cook them to tenderness – you don’t have to cover completely. Mash left over cooking liquid right into the cooked potatoes, adding the liquid as you mash to reach the desired consistency.
Regardless of variety, though, don’t over-mash potatoes or they’ll turn gluey. Never purée them in a food processor and be careful when mashing with an electric mixer. It’s best to mash by hand or with a ricer.
Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes make a visual impact on the table and are as delicious as they are gorgeous. Look for orange-colored sweet potatoes at the store – yellow or white varieties aren’t as sweet and have a drier texture. Scrape a little of the skin off with your fingernail – the flesh underneath should be orange in color. “Garnet” or “jewel” varieties have amazing color and texture so if you can get your hands on them, by all means use them.
Cook peeled, cubed sweet potatoes in Swanson broth until just tender, drain, then mash – it’s okay (preferable, actually) to purée them in a food processor. Sweet potatoes won’t turn gluey like regular potatoes.
Winter squash: Butternut squash is delicious mashed and as easy to cook as potatoes. Simply peel, cube and simmer in Swanson broth until tender, then mash by hand, in a food processor or with a mixer. Because the squash’s flavor is mild, we sometimes add a peeled, cubed apple or pear to the mix or season with spices or fresh citrus.
Cauliflower: If you’re looking for a carb-smart alternative to mashed potatoes, cauliflower is your answer. Simply simmer in Swanson broth until very tender, then mash like potatoes. Flavor it with bold-tasting ingredients like Parmesan and garlic for a memorable side dish.
Parsnips: Try adding this carrot-like vegetable to a pot of potatoes to give regular mashed potatoes a delicately sweet undertone. They’re also delicious when simmered and mashed with sweet potatoes.