Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No-Guilt Comfort Food (A Healthier Potato Side Dish) from Cleo Coyle

Potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods, and with the cold temperatures and gray skies of winter still hanging on here in New York, I'm up for all the comfort I can get! Marc (my husband and partner in crime writing) is a mashed potato fiend. Unfortunately, peeling, boiling, and mashing potatoes with butter and cream leaves us with high carbs, low fiber, and not much nutrition.

My solution has become one of my favorite quick-and-easy side dishes for dinner: garlic-carrot mashed potatoes. They're beautiful, bringing a spectacular golden-orange color to your plate, and they're delicious in the extreme. 

Cleo Coyle, comfort
food craver, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Of course, a great added bonus here are the health benefits from the garlic and carrots (more fiber and vitamins). I also leave the potato skins on for more nutrition. There is no milk or cream in the recipe, so it can be made Vegan or Kosher by replacing the butter with margarine.

The best part (especially for comfort food lovers): This recipe doesn't taste like mashed carrots. It produces a creamy, garlicky, delicious mashed potato experience, one that I certainly hope you will eat with joy...

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle's
No-Guilt (Healthier)
Mashed Potatoes

Another thing I like about this recipebesides the creamy, flavorful taste and added nutrition of carrots, garlic, and potato skinsare the proportions. The amounts are very easy to commit to memory for whipping up a "from-scratch" dinner side dish fast: 3 Potatoes + 3 Carrots + 3 Cloves Garlic + 3 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine = 3 Cups of No-Guilt Mashed Potatoes...

(Enough to serve 4)

To download this recipe in a PDF document than you can print, save, or share, click here.


3 medium white potatoes*, scrubbed, skins on (about one pound)
3 large carrots, peeled and diced (about 8 ounces)
3 Cloves Garlic 
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine 
1 tsp. salt 
+ salt and pepper to taste

*What kind of potatoes?: White potatoes are the best for creamy, smooth, delicious tasting mashed potatoes. Yukon gold will work, as well. But do not use russet potatoes, the results will not be as appealing.


Step 1: Prep the veggies - Peel and dice the carrots into one-half inch rings. Cut the potatoes into sections about one-half inch thick, halving the sections again if too large. Peel and chop the garlic. 

Step 2: Start by boiling carrots alone - Carrots take longer to cook than potatoes so you're going to give them a head start. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Add the peeled and diced carrots, return to boil for 8 minutes, uncovered. 

Step 3: Add potatoes and garlic - After adding these ingredients, return the pot to a boil and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, uncovered, or until potatoes and carrots are soft enough to mash. 

Step 4: Drain well, add butter, and mash - Pour the cooked veggies and garlic into a strainer and make sure water is well drained. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add butter or margarine and mash. Marc and I use a traditional hand-masher. Then, for a creamy finish, we whisk briskly with a fork until smooth (about 30 seconds). Salt and pepper to taste. (You can also go techno and use a hand-stick or immersion blender or throw everything into a food processor.)

Marc and I still use a hand masher. But a
hand stick (aka immersion) blender will
work great, too.

Our secret to making roughly mashed potatoes into
smoothly whipped is a vigorous 30-second beating
in a deep bowl with a simple fork.

And now we're ready to...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on twitter here.
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.  


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.


  1. Beautiful color, Cleo, and I too am a believer in leaving the skins on potatoes--that's where all the good stuff is. I have a batch of red-skinned carrots in my fridge--would that make pink potatoes, do you think? Maybe I should find out.

    1. Sheila - The only thing prettier than orange potatoes would be pink potatoes. We don't have red-skinned carrots in our markets, but beets might do the trick (although the taste may not be as appealing)! In any event, methinks you have opened a potential rainbow of root-vegetable experiments.

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. Cleo, aren't these pretty. Love the mix of colors. Would add nice color to any dish. Yum. And I bet they're sweet thanks to the carrots.

    Daryl aka Avery

    1. Avery/Daryl - Thank you kindly, and one of the great things about this particular recipe (with its proportion of potato to carrot to garlic) is that it still tastes very much like garlic mashed potatoes, so I'm extremely happy with this as a comfort food--as opposed to a "healthy" food, which it is; I just prefer that it not taste that way, lol!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. These are one of my favorite ways to do potatoes, other than just baked. A bit more effort (I'm very slow at chopping) but certainly worth it! I snagged the recipe ages ago from this very website, and have always been glad I did.

    1. Lynne W - Bless your heart for that! You have clearly been following Mystery Lovers' Kitchen a long time because I did indeed first post this recipe way back in 2010!

      With our blog gaining so many new followers and the evolution of Pinterest, I thought it was about time I shared this recipe again. Like so many of us, I love comfort foods, and I'm always looking for ways to make things from scratch that are not only easy but healthy and delicious, too. Thanks again for the happy endorsement. May you eat in good health (and with joy)!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Toni N These look absolutely yummy. Wish I had the stuff to make them now but we are in the middle of a snow thing. My grandfather told me years ago the skins were the best part and held all the nurtrients so I have always kept the skins on. Plus I love them. Great dish for my vegetarian son also.

    1. Toni N - I feel your snow pain! This is a relatively light snow year for us here in New York, but a few weeks ago, we were shoveling out. I hope your weather doesn't prove too problematic (or even hazardous) for you and your neighbors. On the potato skins, we're in agreement. The skins are not only tasty but also the best part the tuber for fiber and vitamins. Thanks for dropping by the Kitchen today, and hello to your vegetarian son. If he tries it, I hope he enjoys it. Have a delicious week...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Cleo, lovely and tasty, as always. Thanks for reminding us that "good for you" can also be "good"!