Purple & green: 2 colorful ways to make mashed potatoes

What would your family say if you set down a big bowl of purple mashed potatoes on the table at Thanksgiving? They could also be a nice bright green — nice and festive for Christmas.

It could happen — and they might even be tastier than you might imagine.

Purple mashed potatoes

The purple mashed potatoes shown below have no food coloring — in fact, the ingredients are almost exactly like those in your traditional mash.

The big difference here is that this colorful side dish is instead made with purple potatoes. Don’t go worrying about GMOs — they’re fancy heirloom/heritage spuds that are native to Peru, where Specialty Produce says they have been cultivated for nearly 8000 years.

green mashed potatoes and purple mashed potatoesAccording to the United States Potato Board, most purple potatoes have moist, firm flesh that retains its shape while adding rich, vibrant color to dishes. The purple color is preserved best by microwaving, but steaming and baking are also great ways to cook purple potatoes.

If left to grow to maturity (and not harvested young), they become large and oblong, making them suitable for baking and mashing.

Appearance: Small to medium-size; oblong to fingerling; deep purple, blue or slightly red skin; blue, purple lavender, pink or white flesh.

Texture: Moist; firm flesh. Note: All Peruvian varieties have higher starch content than typical potatoes and a floury texture.

Flavor: Mild, earthy, nutty, low sugar content

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Green mashed potatoes

“Since my family has an Irish ancestry, we first started making this Green-Mash Potatoes Recipe for St Patrick’s Day. But everyone loved ‘green-mash’ potatoes so much that this family favorite became part of our Thanksgiving feast,” says Elaine McLaughlin, a nutritionist at the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

She notes that green peas add a slightly sweet flavor, and the garlic and pepper gives it some zip. A sprinkle of Kosher salt on top brings out the flavors, yet the sodium is much lower than traditional mashed potatoes. And also, kids think the chartreuse-green color is fun.

Green mashed potatoes recipe


  • 7 potatoes, medium size (about 1 cup each), peeled and diced
  • 1 cup skim milk, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp soft (tub) margarine
  • 1 tsp white pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt


  1. Simmer peeled, diced potatoes for about 10 minutes until soft when pierced with a fork.
  2. Cook 1 cup peas in microwave for about 3 minutes; drain and reserve.
  3. Heat milk until hot. Add garlic cloves to milk and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Puree peas, 1/4 cup milk, and garlic cloves using a blender.
  5. Drain potatoes and begin to mash.
  6. Slowly add 3/4 cup milk while mashing.
  7. Blend in the pureed peas and garlic, margarine, and white pepper (optional) to the mashed potatoes.
  8. Place mashed potatoes in a serving dish and keep warm.
  9. Just before serving, lightly sprinkle Kosher salt on top of potatoes.
Grapefruit juice and medicines may not mix

Total calories: 176 Calories
Carbohydrate 34 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 1 mg
Sodium 131 mg

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