For almost every holiday gathering in my home, I make a pot of mashed potatoes. It’s an easy, no-fail kind of side dish that is loved by both kids and adults alike. So often, pareve potatoes rely on lots of margarine to achieve a buttery flavor. In this dairy-free version, I challenged myself to create a flavorful mash while using as little margarine as possible. The resulting potatoes were rich and creamy with a hint of exotic saffron flavor. Nobody missed the butter!
If you’re not worried about making these potatoes dairy-free, feel free to substitute butter for the margarine, milk for the non-dairy milk, and heavy cream for the coconut milk. These subs will take this recipe from amazing to “holy cow these might be the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted.” For reals!
Saffron can be expensive; I tend to reserve it for holidays and special occasions. These potatoes would make an elegant side dish for Rosh Hashanah, or any holiday. They have a lovely golden color, creamy flavor and fluffy texture. I hope you love them as much as we do.
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- 5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
- Pinch of saffron threads (make sure you use a good quality saffron, the expensive stuff-- the other kind has no flavor)
- 2 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour (for Passover or gluten free use 1 tbsp potato starch)
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk, or more if needed (almond, rice, soy, etc.)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- Salt and black or white pepper to taste
You will also need
- Potato masher or ricer, mortar and pestle
- In a large pot, cover the potato chunks with a few inches of water, then add ½ tbsp salt. Bring to a boil on the stovetop. Let the potatoes simmer for about 20-25 minutes till soft.
- While potatoes are cooking, grind the saffron threads to powder with a mortar and pestle. Add 1 tbsp of hot water to the ground saffron and let it soak for a few minutes.
- When the potatoes are done cooking, drain them thoroughly and return them to the hot pot on the stovetop. The heat source should be turned off; the residual heat from the pot will “dry out” the potatoes a bit, allowing them to soak up more of the good stuff later.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt 2 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine over medium heat. Whisk in flour or potato starch to form a thick paste.
- Whisk in the non-dairy milk, coconut milk, crushed garlic, ½ tsp salt and the saffron water. Heat the mixture over medium, whisking frequently, till it boils and thickens.
- Pour the creamy saffron sauce over the cooked potato chunks, then mash with a potato masher till smooth. If using a potato ricer, push the cooked potatoes through the ricer first, then stir in the sauce. If the potatoes need moisture, add more non-dairy milk as you mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Don't skimp on the salt-- I usually use around 1 1/4 teaspoons or more. The salt really enhances the flavor of the saffron. Use white pepper if you want a more uniform golden look to the potatoes (without any black flecks).
- Serve immediately.