What? Why?? (is probably what you thought when you saw this recipe). I know, but it's not bizarre in the slightest; it's amazing. As with many things on this blog or in my life, this is a recipe derived from a memorable meal, little daring and a lot of trial and error.
This recipe has had some evolution my friends. I first had jalapeno mashed potatoes in Cancun, Mexico. A great little steakhouse on the water; it's called Harry's Steakhouse & Raw Bar and its in the resort area of Cancun right at the bend in the main road skirting the coastline. Big windows frame the sunset as the kitchen pumps out great mains and sides to sun-kissed guests relaxing in paradise. One of those dishes came as a side simply titled "Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes" and my husband was all about them; so, they were ordered and arrived a pale shade of green garnished with sliced jalapenos and steaming hot at the table.
Yep, light green potatoes. Just like we were in a Dr. Seuss story. But, despite the color (or maybe because of it, who knows?), I stuck my fork into the fluff and raised the tinged vegetables to my lips. They.were.delicious! We couldn't stop eating them; creamy, light, with just a touch of heat from the spice. And then, when the meal ended (but not after the Dr. Seussian fun concluded with pink spun strands of sugar silk was deposited on the table), I knew I wanted to try and recreate them at home.
And recreate them I did! Turns out, I needed buttermilk to make them spectacular; that little bit of sour offset the butter, salt and potato mixed with the spice of the jalapenos. Every time we had a steak meal, I pulled out this recipe and blitzed up clouds of green tinted mashed potatoes.
Fast forward to vegan-me. Substituting buttermilk for plant-based milk and a little vinegar did not yield correct results. Neither did plant-based milk and lemon. I did one last try to make it right - lime! That did it and so now I have a vegan-ized version of this long-time recipe from another land (and what might feel like, another life).
Sustainability Spotlight: How many times have you thought to yourself "I can't." How many times has fear or social influence made you believe less than you were capable of accomplishing. Maybe right now, you are even debating with yourself about "going vegan."
Perhaps the argument begins and ends with this; "I can't go vegan! what about X, Y, Z meal / recipe / dish - I couldn't possibly make that without animal products." But see, you CAN! You won't "give up" anything to be vegan other than an old habit. Your new habits as a vegan are better for the planet (for animal welfare and from a pollution perspective). There are countless ways to make things taste the same (or better) than the old recipes you have; sometimes it just takes a little faith in yourself and a whole lot of perseverance.
I'm sure you know this by now, but I'll remind you anyways - you need fortitude to do anything worthwhile in this life and a perspective of perseverance. It's hard to change; it's hard to push against societal norms; and it is incredibly hard to break a habit. Have faith! The vegan community is full of folks that pushed to the other side and have moved the boundaries on what it means to cook, eat or be vegan. To all the creators out there making strides, "Thank you!" for making the way possible. To all the people open to change and ready to change, "Thank you!" for embarking on the journey and exploring how a vegan diet can be more sustainable.
Everyone CAN make the difference; everyone will make the difference. Believe, try, fail, try again, and never lose that spark of hope. Hope for a better you, hope for a better way to live, and hope we can all make a different society with more options, more choices, and better decisions. Vegan options are a way to move the needle on reducing pollution, a way to move the needle on climate change, and a way to move the needle towards an energy future that means our kids (and their kids) will be able to live on this planet.
It starts today, it starts now, it starts with taking a recipe you know and love and making it better; making it vegan. And if you don't have a "favorite" you want to try and vegan-ize yourself, try this one for potatoes and explore something new while you gather up the fortitude for perseverance.
5-6 medium russet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1/3 cup oat milk
4-5 tbsp vegan butter
1 lime (juiced)
1 tbsp salt
1 extra large jalapeno (seeded & diced)
Optional Garnishes: extra lime and jalapeno slices
Bring potatoes in a large salted pot of water to a boil; boil for ~20 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
Drain (save that water to cool & use on indoor plants!) and return the potatoes to low heat in the pot. Shake the pot vigorously to "fluff" the potatoes and remove excess water (~1 minute).
Now, turn off heat and add milk through jalapeno. Using an emulsifier blender (hand held blender), blend potatoes until they take on a greenish hue and there are no more lumps.
Serve potatoes with extra lime and jalapenos (as desired).
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie