Pumpkin Season is in full swing! I like to take advantage of the abundance of pumpkin farms near my home and cook all my pumpkin for the season fresh. With the right tools, this daunting task is a no-brainer and is almost as easy and valuable as buying a can in the store. Living out in the country, it is in my best interest to reduce my waste collection. Accumulating a large amount of recycling is not ideal in small living spaces where any trash outside means attracting wild animals outside my door. The effort I spend cooking my own pumpkin from scratch is equivalent or greater in value to the accumulation of recycling.
The process of cooking pumpkin from scratch can definitely be time consuming but I use my handy Insta-pot and food processor. These tools make the process seamless and only about 30 minutes. Because home cooked pumpkin is so nutritious and has wonderful, velvety textures and flavors, I love to add it to creamy smooth dishes. One of my favorite ways to boost my Luxurious Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes is to add my dairy free garlic herb butter (which includes pumpkin) and an additional scoop of pumpkin to the mash. This seriously boosts the creaminess and comfort factor to my milk free mash!
While I love a traditional serving of plain mashed potatoes, perfect for a heaping of gravy, I also love to dress it up from time to time. For this dish, I decided to go for a ‘loaded potatoes’ theme. I love to serve this with my Roast Split Chicken breast recipe (in tomato or pumpkin versions). You can use some of the bacon used to flavor the vegetables and sauce in the Chicken recipe as a topping for these Luxurious Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes. The bacon topping is optional for this recipe. For more tips on how I prepped the garlic and herbs for the herb butter, download my free Balanced Spices Toolkit!
How to Make these Mashed Potatoes Creamy & Luxurious
If you do not need these mashed potatoes to be dairy free, feel free to use butter and cream if that is your preference. Ghee is an option for those who are lactose intolerant but still want a buttery flavor. I love using a small amount of ghee in this but limit my use because I am especially sensitive to dairy. To supplement the creaminess and fat, I want to make sure that it does not have any other unnecessary flavors like coconut or soy. If you happen to want to keep it dairy free or simply lighter (but still comforting), here is my Dairy Free Pumpkin Herb Butter Recipe:
- 1/4 c refined coconut oil
- 1/4 c lard or tallow
- 1 Tbsp coconut butter
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree chilled
Soften the fats but do not melt completely.
With a whisk, begin beating the fats together until there are no lumps
Add salt and cool pumpkin puree. Begin beating vigorously to avoid lumps and to help fluff it and harden the texture of the fats.
If adding additional flavors, fold those in gently with a spatula.
If you would like to make things easier for yourself, one of my favorite dairy free butters can be found in many health food stores. Check out their website to find a store locator: https://miyokos.com
In addition to using this fat source in my mash, I will include a few tablespoons of garlic infused olive oil, some of the liquid used to cook the potatoes and add almond milk or whatever dairy free milk I have on hand (I do not recommend coconut, make sure it is unsweetened). The amount of liquid, butter, oil and salt that you need to include varies based on the amount of potatoes you cook and the type of potato you choose. Some may need more than others if it has a drier texture, so add about half of what you think you need of liquid and fat and then add more in small increments until you have reached your desired texture. I may add additional pumpkin to the mashed potatoes if I want more flavor, if the potatoes are dry or if I have fewer potatoes than I want to cook and serve.
How to Flavor This Mash
Honestly, there really is nothing worse than showing up to a family or friend gathering expecting mashed potatoes and the person has done them up so fancy and so flavorful that you lose what you love about mashed potatoes. It’s a travesty and potatoes on their own are so bland that we tend to over-season them. An over-flavored mashed potato does not make an ideal side dish because you lose all of the magic of the main dish with too many competing flavors.
I like my garlicky, herby loaded potatoes to be complimentary to my meal’s main star. To flavor these potatoes so they shine but don’t compete, I use a few tricks to soften the flavor of my garlic, making it the perfect round complimentary flavor profile.
The first way: add garlic olive oil (see in previous section about how to make these mashed potatoes creamy)
The second way: roasted garlic. I roast most of my garlic except for one – two cloves. Roasted garlic has a very soft flavor and can even enhance the creamy texture of the potatoes.
The third way:
Smash two cloves of raw garlic.
Begin chopping with herbs.
Once you have a dice, add more salt and continue to chop until it becomes almost like a paste. Add a little more salt and let it sit out in the open air for several minutes, even up to a half an hour. I will do this early on in the cooking process to let the flavors soften and the nutrients of the garlic to become extracted.
I mix this final mixture into my dairy free pumpkin butter and stir it into the mashed potatoes when I am ready to smash!