Turn a regular mashed potato recipe into a spectacular side dish simply by using purple potatoes! These glorious bright purple hues will definitely be the star of the dinner table.
Why You’ll Love This Side Dish
The first time I ever served up purple mashed potatoes, it took over the dinner table conversation for the first 10 minutes.
“What is that?”
“Did you put colouring in the mashed potato?”
“What does it taste like?”
Purple potatoes have been around for the longest time, and yet, we never think to use them in our everyday cooking. This is a truly simple mashed potato recipe that uses purple potatoes. There really is nothing more to it than that!
You’ll love how just switching something up will elicit so many fun remarks. There is no compromise on taste whatsoever, as, at the end of the day, it’s just a potato!
What are Purple Potatoes?
Native to Bolivia and Peru, purple potatoes are simply potatoes that are purple!
The purple colour comes from anthocyanin pigments, which are the same pigments that give blueberries, red cabbage, the skin of eggplant and vegetables such as purple cauliflower and purple Brussels sprouts the purple hues.
They have deep purple, almost black coloured skin with vibrant purple coloured flesh. The colour does tone down a little bit after cooking, but it is still vivacious, and the purple hue can vary from light to bright.
They are usually about 10 cm to 15 cm long, and they are oblong rather than round. The texture of the skin and flesh is the same as a regular potato.
What do Purple Potatoes Taste like?
Purple potatoes have a mild taste that incorporates earthy, slightly sweet and nutty flavours.
Close your eyes and eat one, and I doubt you’d be able to tell if it was a regular potato or a purple one.
Are Purple Potatoes Good for Mashing?
Depending on the variety of purple potato you can find, they do range from smooth to starchy.
They are, however, in general, a denser potato and can sometimes have less moisture. This, in turn, does mean they don’t always make the best potato to mash compared to favourites such as Russet or Yukon Gold.
To help with the lack of moisture of the mash, a creamy concoction is called for to create that creamy finish. This will help the mash become less dry.
As some of the purple potatoes are less floury, they make the best rustic mashed potatoes that don’t require a lot of work to make it ultra-smooth. In our house, we like the roughly mashed texture, so purple potatoes work perfectly for us.
If you do like your mash nice and smooth but want to use purple potatoes, make sure to put it through a potato ricer, and you have to do so when it’s still hot. Adding a dairy component will help to smooth out the potatoes and make them less dry too.
Flavour/Texture: I have gone down the rustic, grainy route for this purple mashed potato side dish. The potatoes are mashed roughly with lumps and bumps still present. The indulgent mixture of butter, milk and cream creates the creaminess it so needs.
This mild tasting potato is enhanced by the mild garlicky goodness of fresh chopped chives and a generous amount of salt. Of course, you can dial up or down to your liking.
Ease: This is a good old fashioned mashed potato with nothing overly complicated at all. As we have not made this a super smooth mashed potato, it is easier to get the consistency you’re after.
Time: This recipe will take 25 minutes of which it’s all about boiling the purple potatoes. Prepare everything else while that is happening to save on time. Make sure it’s timed well to be served with the main fare and is nice and hot.
Purple potatoes: They are available all year round, although they are not as easy to find in your everyday supermarkets. Try farmers markets or independent grocers. I found quite a few at the weekly markets. It did help that there was a potato stall!
Butter: Unsalted butter and full fat is my preference for mashed potatoes. Nothing quite beats the taste of good butter!
Milk: Preference is once again full fat milk to add to the lovely creaminess of this side dish.
Double cream: Simply decadent, I know! Regular cream will, of course, suffice too.
Chives: Love the onion and garlicky undertones of this herb. Gives the purple mashed potatoes a little lift.
Variations and Substitutions
Potato substitute: Purple potatoes are available all year round, but if you’re unable to find them, use any floury potato of your choice, such as Russet, Maris Piper, King Edward or Desiree.
Non-potato substitute: If you’re after the lovely purple colours and purple potatoes prove elusive, try looking for purple sweet potato or even purple cauliflower. If using purple cauliflower, just add the butter. You won’t need the double cream or milk as it’s just not starchy enough.
Replacement for chives: A great substitute for chives would be spring onion. Just chop the green parts as the white parts would be too overpowering.
How to make it smooth: If you like your mash potatoes smooth, use a potato ricer to give you the consistency you need. If you like your mash grainy and rustic, just like this recipe, a regular potato masher will do.
Instant pot: If you love your instant pot and do a lot of your cooking in it, you can try this Instant Pot garlic mashed potato version.
Step by step instructions for Purple Mashed Potatoes:
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 cm to 2 cm cubes.
Add the potatoes into a saucepan of salted cold water. Put the lid on and bring to the boil.
Chop the chives to yield ¼ cup.
In a small saucepan, add butter, milk and double cream and bring them to a gentle simmer.
When the purple potatoes are cooked, drain and return to the sauce while it’s still hot. Start mashing the potatoes and slowly introduce the creamy mixture.
Add ¾ of the chopped chives and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place in a serving bowl. Add a thin streak of double cream to create a swirl and garnish with the left-over chives.
Serve while hot.
Great Mains for This Side Dish
Purple mashed potatoes would go so well with so many main dishes. Check these out for some inspiration:
Easy BBQ pulled jackfruit is a great vegetarian version of the famous pulled pork dish you always loved.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are quite a few different varieties of purple potatoes around the world. Here are some of the favourites: Purple Peruvian, Toolangi Delight, Purple Majesty, All Blue, Royal Blue, Congo, Adirondack Blue, Purple Gem, Purple Fiesta, and Vitelotte.
Most of these potatoes boast a deep purple flesh and don’t always diminish in colour when put through the cooking process. Some of them have white streaks or patches on the purple flesh.
Adding potatoes to boiling hot water means that the outside will cook faster than the inside. For a more even consistency, it is best to put potatoes in cold water in a saucepan and allow it all to come to the boil.
Vegan butter is the name of the game here when making a creamy vegan mashed potato side. You can use either a nut based or coconut-based butter, depending on your preference in tastes. You can add some garlic to the recipe, too, for a little extra kick.
Like all mashed potatoes, they can withstand re-heating well. Just put it in the microwave, covered, for a bit of a zap. If you feel that it comes out a little dry or thick, drizzle some fresh double cream, melted butter or milk on the top and stir through gently.
I told you this purple potato mash was an easy recipe! How stunning do the purple potatoes look? This is such a great looking side dish that you can put together any time of the year, and it is as simple as your everyday mashed potato.
For a truly decadent and creamy finish, we really do love our recipe. Give it a try!
More Winter Side Dishes
Purple Mashed Potatoes
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 cm to 2 cm cubes.
- Add the potatoes into a saucepan of salted cold water. Put the lid on and bring to the boil.
- Chop the chives to yield ¼ cup.
- In a small saucepan, add butter, milk and double cream and bring them to a gentle simmer.
- When the purple potatoes are cooked, drain and return to the sauce while it’s still hot. Start mashing the potatoes and slowly introduce the creamy mixture.
- Add ¾ of the chopped chives and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place in a serving bowl. Add a thin streak of double cream to create a swirl and garnish with the left-over chives.
- Serve while hot.
- Purple potatoes are available all year round, but if you’re unable to find them, use any floury potato of your choice, such as Russet, Maris Piper, King Edward or Desiree.
- If you’re after the lovely purple colours and purple potatoes prove elusive, try looking for purple sweet potato or even purple cauliflower. If using purple cauliflower, just add the butter. You won’t need the double cream or milk as it’s just not starchy enough.
- A great substitute for chives would be spring onion. Just chop the green parts as the white parts would be too overpowering.
- If you like your mash potatoes smooth, use a potato ricer to give you the consistency you need. If you like your mash grainy and rustic, a regular potato masher will do.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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