Thanksgiving Side Dish: Potatoes Mashed or Not

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Mashed potatoes are delicious, but they do take some (messy) prep work  and time which may make you resort the the instant stuff for your side-dish. Instant potatoes have been an American staple for decades. They are cheap, have a long shelf-life, and come in many flavors. The sad thing about these convenient potatoes is that they are not real food. Instant potatoes are something created in a lab, with lots of chemicals and “foodlike substitutes”. These potatoes (along with all other convenience food) were invented for making lots of money for the industry and not to nourish your body. The strange thing is that potatoes are grown and available year-round in the United States and in abundant quantities, so we are not in need of potato substitutes.

Checkout this ingredient list from an instant mash potato box.

Potatoes (a blend of russet and red varieties), maltodextrin, parmesan cheese blend [(partially skimmed milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), sodium phosphate, salt, lactic acid], coconut oil, salt, corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated oil (contains one or more of the following: soybean, cottonseed, sunflower), sugar, nonfat dry milk, mono and diglycerides, sodium caseinate, modified food starch, hydrolyzed soy protein, calcium stearoyl lactylate, natural and artificial flavor (including natural smoke and garlic flavor), parsley, garlic powder, spice, artificial color, sodium acid pyrophosphate, dipotassium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate, sodium bisulfite, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, citric acid, mixed tocopherols (vitamin e) and not more than 2.0% silicon dioxide added as an anti-caking agent.

Not much of that is real food, but created to act like food. Most of these ingredients could only be made in a laboratory; you just would not find the bolded ingredients growing from soil. Would you keep any of these ingredients  in your kitchen? Food is meant to rot, but these ingredients prevent the real food ingredients (potatoes) from going bad. Industrial processing causes us to rely on labels and trick our senses.  Since our organs and cells cannot recognize the processed food, our body is left confused and no longer can sense hunger and satisfaction, in which we end up eating a lot more. Thus, buying a lot more. Over a period of time, our body becomes weaker from continues processed food consumption and the lack of real food nutrients, causing us to be sick (mentally and physically).

I have vivid memories of making instant mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving and eating it up with canned gravy and canned cranberry sauce. My uncle would add real spices and herbs to the instant mashed potatoes and called it his creation. Everyone acknowledged that he made the best mashed potatoes. Good memories. We were innocent, believed the products we bought at the supermarket were real food, and heating is like cooking. But, now we can read labels and understand that most real food doesn’t need labels. We also now make the real stuff or versions of potato side dishes.

By skipping these fake potatoes, you may not need to worry about eating real food carbs. You can enjoy real potatoes, take in all of the health benefits, and not worry about chemicals and weird ingredients. Real potatoes provide essential building blocks for your body, which the instant stuff really can’t do (despite of the nutrition label). Potatoes grown from the earth contain vitamins A and B6, and phytochemicals. Potato skins contain fiber that is equivalent to that of many whole grains.

No peeling, no mashing, no mixing- just an easy, beautiful, delicious (not to mention healthy) side dish. I have given specific measurements for each spice, but it really is about how much flavor you want! Adjust accordingly to your preference. This is a perfect alternative to mashed potatoes.

Roasted Herb Potatoes

Serves 4
2 tbs. fresh rosemary or 1 tbs dried rosemary
2 tbs. dried oregano
2 tbs Herbs de Provence (instead of rosemary and oregano)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tbs. olive oil
3 large Yukon gold or Russet potatoes
3 tbs. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (optional)


Herbs and spices bring a lot of depth and flavor to any dish. They also contain tons of antioxidents and nutrients to keep you functioning optimally. So you can just skip the artificial flavors.

1. Heat oven to 350F and prepare large baking sheet(s) with parchment paper
2. In a large bowl, mix oil, herbs, salt, and pepper.
3. Wash the potatoes well and slice 1/2 inch thickness
4. Throw the sliced potatoes into the bowl and mix well, using your hands.
6. Lay out the potatoes on the baking sheet, making sure to not overlap. Bake for 15 minutes and flip the slices over. Bake for another 15 minutes.
7. For extra texture and flavor, quickly sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the slices while they are still hot.

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7 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Side Dish: Potatoes Mashed or Not

  1. When my boyfriend found out that he was allergic to wheat, corn, rice, and soy, we turned to potatoes to fill the gap. You’re spot on with your analysis of powdered potatoes. I find myself reading labels now much more than ever before and it’s incredible the things that turn up in what we think of as “food.” Potatoes have been shunned because of their association with french fries and potato chips, but I absolutely adore cooking with them. In moderation, they’re actually just as beneficial as veggies like broccoli.
    My boyfriend has a spin on mashed potatoes and I swear I haven’t ever looked back. I put up a post about them in my blog which is dedicated to eating healthy without wheat, corn, rice, and soy.

  2. Youre right those potato buds CANT be real food. My mother always used to make them for us..i never had real mashed potatoes until one of my roommates in my early 20s made them for me and actually I was never a big mashed potato fan up till then. This recipe looks good but my friend who is coming to dinner next thurs has requested mashed, so I guess ill learn to make those. Usually I make something like scalloped potatoes or potato casserole on holidays instead.

  3. Pingback: Thanksgiving Side Dish: Potatoes Continued | Club Dine In!

  4. Pingback: Eating Beyond The Holidays | Club Dine In!

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