I know, you may be thinking “why on earth do I need a recipe for mashed potatoes?”, but before you jump to another website or hopefully look around my site further, hear me out on this one. Mashed potatoes are so simple to make. I get that, however, when I started getting really serious about avoiding dairy (more on that later), it took me a few tries, and the addition of a secret ingredient, before I nailed a good batch of dairy free mashed potatoes. Since I want to save you from that trial-and-error hassle, I’m posting this recipe. You’re welcome.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, have you already planned your menu? Are you hosting or being a guest? I’m always a guest on Thanksgiving at this point in my life, but for someone like me who loves to cook, it doesn’t stop me from making something to share at the big feast. I personally love when a large group gathers and everyone contributes a part of the meal. It’s fun for me to see what people make and what people devour first.
Mashed potatoes are staple at Thanksgiving, whether we are at my parent’s house or my in-law’s house. Both are made from scratch and both have a good amount of butter and milk added. For those of us who avoid eating dairy, that means the mashed potatoes are usually off limits.
Shortly after I finished college I learned that I am lactose intolerant. Frankly, I should have known this long before that, however, it just wasn’t as common to consider food intolerances when I was growing up, so I just suffered all while drinking milk with every meal. After I was diagnosed, I didn’t change as many of my food habits as I should have, and I still battled a lot of the problems I had faced while growing up. About three years ago, I decided to get really serious about cutting out dairy, and I gradually started feeling better. Along the way, I experimented with cutting out other foods as well, and I’ve been able to see even more positive progress. It’s one thing I can be extra thankful for this Thanksgiving, and every day for that matter!
Back to the main topic of this post…these super light and fluffy mashed potatoes, that don’t taste quite like my grandma’s (she made THE BEST mashed potatoes), but are equally as satisfying, especially knowing I will feel great after eating them!
Have you already scrolled down to look at the recipe? If so, you’ve seen the secret ingredient, and while you may be thinking that I added parsnips to lower the carbs or to up the nutrition value of these dairy free mashed potatoes, that wasn’t my motive. My goal was to replace a bit of the tangy flavor that milk and butter give to traditional mashed potatoes. Since parsnips have a bit of tangy flavor, I thought they would be a perfect addition. The fact that they have a creamy off-white color, and mash into a smooth, fluffy texture made them an even more perfect addition to these dairy free mashed potatoes.
As with any recipe, feel free to play around with the ratio of parsnips to potatoes. I’ve found the combo that gives the flavor and texture I want and that I can pass off to the rest of my family without them knowing the difference. You might like it best with more or less parsnips. Just make sure the total weight of the vegetables you use is really close to 3 pounds so that the coconut oil and milk amounts will be just right.
Speaking of the “milk”…thankfully, there are lots of dairy free milk options in grocery stores these days. From nut milks to coconut milk and even oat milk or flax milk, you’re bound to find one that suits your dairy free eating needs best. I got to write a story for a magazine once where I “had” to taste-test a bunch of dairy free milk options. It was so fun, and I learned a lot. You can do the same to find the one you like best! My main recommendation is to stick with an “unsweetened” variety because otherwise, the milk will likely contain a bunch of added sugar, which doesn’t taste good in most recipes and isn’t healthy either.
My non-dairy milk of choice these days is unsweetened coconut milk…the kind you will find in the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store. It has a very neutral flavor that tastes great and works well in all the recipes I like to cook. Plus, I love it in my morning coffee, and that’s important!
P.S. What are you cooking for Thanksgiving this year? Anything new, or sticking with your favorite traditional recipes? Me? I’m haven’t decided everything yet, but I think these Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes will definitely make an appearance.
Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes How-To Photos:
Peel and thinly slice parsnips. Parsnips take longer than potatoes to get tender, so they need to start cooking first.
While the parsnips are cooking, peel and cut up the potatoes.
Cook the vegetables in boiling salted water. Make sure the vegetables are mostly covered with water.
Drain the vegetables. Add the non-dairy milk, coconut oil and salt. Mash until desired consistency.
I like to top the potatoes with a simple drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh pepper. Fresh herbs look nice too if you prefer that look!
- 8 ounces parsnips (about 3 medium)
- 2 ½ pounds Russet or Yukon gold potatoes
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk** (not canned)
- 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil***
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- Peel and thinly slice parsnips. In a large saucepan, cook parsnips, covered, in enough boiling salted water to cover for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces. Add potatoes to water with parsnips. If necessary, add additional water so vegetables are mostly covered. Return water to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes more or until vegetables are very tender. Drain vegetables.
- Add coconut milk, oil, and salt to vegetables. Using a potato masher, mash vegetables until they are as smooth as desired. Add pepper to taste, if desired. Transfer potatoes to a serving dish. If desired, drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with additional coarse salt and fresh pepper.
- *I prefer Russet potatoes for the lightest, fluffiest mashed potatoes, however, I also love the flavor of Yukon gold potatoes even though they give a slightly different texture to mashed potatoes. Use the ones you like best or use a combination of the two.
- **You can use your favorite non-dairy milk, as long as it’s an unsweetened, plain variety. I feel that refrigerated unsweetened coconut milk has a very neutral flavor that does not take away from the flavor of the potatoes.
- ***It’s important to use “refined” coconut oil in this recipe because it has a very neutral flavor. “Virgin” coconut oil tastes like coconut and would take away from the classic mashed potato flavor in this recipe.
- If you love roasted garlic mashed potatoes, roast a whole head of garlic. Then mash the garlic cloves and add them to the potatoes when you’re adding the coconut oil and milk. Here’s a link so you can see how to roast garlic. It’s really easy if you’ve never done it! https://www.freshfoodbites.com/roasted-garlic/