Yes, they are blue

Shake Up Your Holiday Side Dishes with Blue Potatoes

2020 has been a year to remember, hasn’t it? With everything that is going on, we are all seeking comfort where we can find it. That’s why I wanted to share a snazzy holiday side dish that you can eat all winter long, when that craving for something creamy and comforting comes along.

It happens to everyone!

Blue potatoes show up at my local Coop in the Fall, and depending on where you live, they may be harder to find. They might seem like a new invention, but are actually a few thousand years old, and like all potatoes, originated in Peru. There are many varieties, grown all over the world. Blue or purple potatoes behave the same way that waxy, white or yellow fleshed potatoes do. They are soft and low starch, and make a lovely, creamy mash.

The blue color is an antioxidant bonus, produced by Anthocyanin pigments. I’ve been playing with purple foods for years, like these Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi, and Purple Barley Flour Muffins.

Is Blue Food a Good Holiday Side Dish?

It’s been a “rule” for food photographers for years- “Don’t shoot blue with food.” Blue is considered the least appealing color to place next to food, because there is some kind of innate human reaction to blue. This is silly, and you’ll see gorgeous food shots using blue elements all the time. The same idea has also been applied to food.

The theory is that because there are so few blue foods, we reject blue foods as foreign or distasteful. I’ve read long articles on this, and I suppose there might be a bit of unfamiliarity in a bowl of blue potatoes, but I don’t think it’s hard wired into your DNA. For me, the novelty and visual appeal of a bowl of blue potatoes is a reason to dive in!

Part of my Holiday Spread

For a Smaller Holiday, Make Smaller Holiday Sides

Like many of you, I’m celebrating the holidays at home, with my husband and cats. Unlike years past, I won’t be baking several pies and whipping up 6 holiday side dishes to take to a big gathering. I’ll miss sharing some of my favorite dishes with friends, and look forward to when we can gather, safely.

Because the two of us don’t need a vat of mashed potatoes, I scaled it back and used 2 pounds of potatoes. You can even cut that in half, if you don’t want to eat leftover mashed potatoes the next day. Leftovers can be made into a soup, by simply heating with more stock and non-dairy milk stirred in, and seasoned with some herbs, like sautéed fresh thyme and sage, or a sprinkling of dried herbs.

It’s All Gravy

Once you have a batch of gravy, you might want to save some to have in the morning, over plant-based sausage links, or hot biscuits. The traditional meal is such a gravy extravaganza, with gravy spilling over the stuffing, veggie sides, and potatoes, that you may eat it all up the first night.

It’s ok because this gravy is all plant based, and the “meaty” umami is provided by miso. Miso is a healthful food in its own right, made from fermented soy and other beans and grains. Go ahead and indulge in some mashed potatoes and gravy-it’s all plants, and you deserve to have some nostalgic fun.

With a blue twist, of course!

Blue Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Red Miso Gravy

Make your mashed potatoes comforting and colorful, with blue potatoes and miso gravy.
Course Side Dish
Keyword mashed potatoes, plant based gravy
Servings 6
Author Robin Asbell


  • 2 pound blue potatoes or Yukon Golds
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter up to half a cup
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy creamer or milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup red miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • fresh sage leaves for garnish



  • Cut the potatoes in quarters, then steam until very tender. Let cool slightly, then strip off the skins while hot and put through a potato ricer or mash by hand.
    While the potatoes cook, place the whole garlic cloves in a small pot with the vegan butter and cook over low heat until the cloves are completely soft, about 10 minutes. Mash the cloves with a fork.
    Stir the garlic cloves and butter, non-dairy creamer and salt into the riced potatoes until creamy. Keep warm.


  • In a medium pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Stir over medium heat until they start to sizzle. Reduce the heat as needed to cook for about 20 minutes, let the onions get some color and really get soft.
    Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir it in. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes. stir in the milk, a little at a time, to make a paste. Gradually whisk in the remaining milk.
    Whisk the miso into the vegetable stock, then whisk into the pot. Whisk in salt and pepper. Whisk the mixture in the pan over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
    Serve the mashed potatoes and gravy hot, with a fresh sage garnish.