Dishin’ Up the Mash: A How-To on Classic Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower

Holiday meals are memorable. Sure, the bird might be the centerpiece, but side dishes can easily be a star. Even the healthy ones! This season serve up fresh, organically grown produce, sourced directly from Northwest family farms in the Co-op’s Produce Department.

Do the Mash

A buttery bowl of homemade mashed potatoes will always be welcome at the Thanksgiving table. More than an excuse to eat gravy, these spuds can stand alone. But why not soak up all that gravy with Paleo-approved Garlic Mashed Cauliflower or earthy, colorful sweet potatoes?

Most types of potatoes can be mashed, but many prefer the fluffy texture of high starch, thin-skinned Russet or Yukon gold potatoes. Red or white potatoes require more mashing, which can lead to a gummy, gluey texture. Be sure to cut your potatoes into uniform sized pieces, and always add warm liquid (such as cream or buttermilk), to avoid over-mixing. Read more in Epicurious’ “10 Commandments of Perfect Mashed Potatoes.”

Mashed Potatoes with Bacon & Crispy Scallions

Recipe adapted from

Worthy of a special occasion, you can also serve this recipe with roasted chicken, pork tenderloin or baked seafood. We just can’t resist topping creamy, whipped potatoes with crisp, house CURED bacon and pan-fried scallions for extra flavor. A little help from tangy buttermilk and crème fraîche make this rich dish ideal to serve with roasted meats as well as hearty veggie soups.

Photo: Victor Prosaio


  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 bacon slices
  • 1 cup scallions, sliced diagonally


Place potatoes in a large Dutch oven (or large cook pot) with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high; boil until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to Dutch oven over medium. Cook, stirring once, until potatoes dry out slightly, 30 to 50 seconds.

Place buttermilk and butter in a microwavable glass bowl, and microwave on HIGH until warm, 30 to 60 seconds. Add warm buttermilk mixture, crème fraîche, salt, and white pepper to potatoes, and mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Keep potatoes warm.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon. Cook 1 cup diagonally sliced scallions in hot drippings in skillet until lightly browned and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer scallions to paper towels with a slotted spoon to drain. Sprinkle scallions and crumbled bacon over warm mashed potatoes.

Paleo Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic

Recipe adapted from


  • 1 head cauliflower, rinsed and diced
  • 4 tablespoons grass fed salted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • fresh ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste


Add water to the bottom of a double pot and place over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Alternatively, if you don’t have a double pot and steamer basket you can add the cauliflower to a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.

Steam cauliflower for 15-20 minutes, or until soft. Add cooked cauliflower to a food processor. Be sure to use oven mitts to hold the steamer basket and be careful of the steam while pouring into the food processor. Process for a few seconds to chop then add butter, garlic, thyme and seasoning. Process until smooth and well combined. Plate or transfer to a bowl and serve.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Recipe & Photo from


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, about 2 medium
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan and roast for about 30 minutes, until very tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool slightly. Strip the skins from the sweet potatoes and place the flesh in the bowl of a food processor bowl (if you prefer, you can use a large bowl and a hand-masher). Puree or mash the sweet potatoes to desired degree of smoothness, and mix in the coconut milk, cinnamon and salt. Serve warm.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.