These silky mashed purple sweet potatoes are easy and quick to prepare, packed with unique flavors and are remarkably healthy. They are also unbelievably creamy and rich plus, look at their outstanding vibrant violet color! Perfect as a dairy-free and gluten-free side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas that everyone will enjoy.
As we are really getting into the holiday season, I have been working on vegan comfort food recipes that are festive and delicious enough to win a precious place on any winter celebration table.
You might have seen my vegan Swedish meatballs paired with a vegan onion gravy, which is exactly what I'm planning to bring to our family Thanksgiving dinner. And now that I made this stunning and vibrant purple purée, there is simply no other option than to also include this amazing side dish part of the menu.
Not only will these mashed purple sweet potatoes catch the attention of everyone with their beautiful bright lavender color, but also, they require only 4 simple ingredients (+salt). And they can be whipped up so easily! They also mash to the most velvety texture I have ever seen, with barely any effort or fancy equipment. I was so stunned the first time I made them!
Savory mashed purple sweet potatoes
Regular orange sweet potatoes are naturally SO sweet! Unless you pair them with savory ingredients, like in these sweet potato sushi rolls, you might feel like their sweetness is just too powerful. The purple types are less sweet than the regular orange ones, but I still prefer to combine them with savory ingredients, which gives a great balance in the overall taste.
And if you never had purple sweet potatoes before, then you will have fun discovering their very unique flavor. They taste quite different from other sweet potatoes with a subtle natural smoky touch plus, you might even detect some red wine flavor in the background. Really, their flavor is simply fascinating!
When paired with coconut milk, they easily reach an impressive creamy texture that's almost whipped. I love to add garlic and chives too that balances out their deep and candy-like natural flavor.
Purple sweet potatoes health benefits
Purple potatoes aren't just incredibly gorgeous, but also such a nutritious vegetable to add to your diet.
They are packed with fiber, minerals and tons of vitamins (particularly vitamin C and B-Carotene). Also, their deep purple color is a reflection of their high content of anthocyanins, which is a type of flavonoids that have a powerful antioxidant effect (source from healthline- 7 benefits from purple yams).
Fun fact: we all have heard that consuming blueberries on a regular basis is an amazing way to include antioxidants in your diet. BUT, did you know that purple sweet potatoes contain at least twice as much flavonoids as blueberries? So, swap your daily handful of blueberries for purple yams once in a while!
And one more thing: even though they are quite sweet, they have a low-glycemic index, which can help avoid spikes in your blood sugar.
Ingredients you'll need
- Purple sweet potatoes: they are usually easy to find, but you could also use regular orange potatoes instead if you cannot find them.
- Coconut cream: I usually simply use the top solid portion from a can of coconut milk, then I keep the remaining water for smoothies. You can also find canned coconut cream.
- Fresh garlic: start with a small clove and add more for a more garlicky mash. I found that the garlic flavor intensifies with time.
- Chives: adds a subtle pungent flavor. Can also use green onions or even finely diced shallots.
What kind of purple sweet potatoes to choose
There are a few kinds of purple sweet potatoes, but you will find in grocery stores mostly these 2 varieties:
- Okinawan: Also called Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes, they have a flesh with a deep purple color, but with a lighter skin that's mostly beige/white.
- Stokes: Feature a very deep purple flesh with a skin that's also darker, from purple to reddish.
Both kinds of potatoes will work well, so use the one you can find. Stokes purple sweet potatoes are more widely available and are the ones I used to make this recipe. I just can't get enough of their amazingly bright purple color!
If they are too difficult to find in your regular grocery store, then check out in an Asian supermarket if you have one nearby. You can also order them online from the company Frieda's.
How to make them
Step 1: Boil or steam
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes in 1 inch size slices or cubes.
Then, transfer to a medium pot and cover with water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Then, turn down the heat to medium-low and keep simmering for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain well.
Step 2: Mash
Simply use a hand masher to mash the potatoes as smooth as you can. I find this kind of potatoes to be more mash-able then let's say, regular white potatoes. Keep mashing until velvety and uniform with no more large pieces.
Step 3: Flavor
At this point, the mashed potatoes should be pretty thick and dense.
Add some coconut cream (or regular unflavored plant milk), with a good pinch of salt, a crushed clove of garlic and chopped chives. Stir well. Then, check the texture and taste so you can adjust the ingredients.
You can get a can of coconut cream, but what I like to do is simply to use the top solid portion from a can of coconut milk (see video).
Watch how to make them
Can I bake the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them?
Although it takes more time, you can also bake the sweet potatoes in the oven.
In this case, poke a few holes in the potatoes using a knife or a fork. Then, wrap them in foil and place in a pre-heated oven (425º). Bake for about 60 minutes, but if you have longer and thinner potatoes, they might be done after 45 minutes, just check on their doneness once in a while.
Then, let them cool down until you can handle them. Remove their peels (they should come easily simply by pulling on them) and transfer the flesh to a large bowl to keep going with the recipe as described.
Can I make them sweet ?
If you want to serve them sweet, then simply omit the garlic and chives all together.
Mash the potatoes just the same as described using the coconut cream, but then add a splash of maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You could also serve topped with roasted pecans or walnuts for a festive holiday look.
- The texture of the mashed potatoes will be pretty dense at first, especially before you add the cream. I recommend to add ½ cup of cream to make them fluffier, but add more as needed for an optimal texture.
- My potatoes were mostly long and skinny, so I simply peeled them and then sliced them about 1-2 inch thick. If you have rounder-oval shaped potatoes, then you might want to dice them not too big to speed up the cooking. Feel free to also use a pressure cooker.
- Add the coconut cream while the potatoes are still warm so it can melt and be incorporated easier.
Serving suggestion and toppings
These mashed sweet purple potatoes make for a great side dish to serve with vegan meatballs, lentil meatloaf, simple roasted tofu or use this colorful mashed potatoes for a fun twist when making a vegan shepherd's pie.
I like to keep some extra coconut cream to drizzle over the potatoes at serving. To make the cream more drizz-able, whisk a small amount with some of the remaining coconut water from the can (or just use regular water if using a can of coconut cream) until smooth and desired consistency.
Top with some more chopped chives at serving for a nice contrasting pop in color. Feel free to also garnished with other fresh herbs like thyme, parsley and oregano. And if feeling like a treat, after the mashed potatoes are all done, swap the coconut milk topping for melted vegan butter!
Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. They tend to firm up while resting in the fridge and can easily dry up, so be sure to keep them in an air-tight container. Also, if you have extra coconut cream left, then store it in the fridge in a small container too so you can add some more when reheating to recreate a super creamy texture.
This will depend on how smooth vs textured you want the consistency to be. I love extra smooth, so I always peel them, but keep some of the peel if you want a coarse texture.
Yes! Transfer to an air-tight container and keep in the freezer for a quick last minute side dish. Best to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
To reheat, I like to add an extra splash extra of coconut milk (or regular plant milk) and mix vigorously to soften the mashed potatoes. Then, you can use the microwave (30 seconds, stir, 30 more seconds, repeat until done). Can also use the stove to reheat.
You will need a milky ingredient to cream and fluff the potatoes. I love coconut milk for their flavor and creamy consistency, but feel free to use any plant milk as long as it is unflavored and unsweetened.
More potato side dishes to try
- Mashed potato stuffed mushrooms
- Lemon miso roasted potatoes
- Mexican baked potatoes
- Vegan twice baked potatoes
- Oven-roasted potatoes and broccoli
- Harissa potatoes
Other sweet potato recipes you might like
I hope you enjoy these mashed potatoes as much as we do! If you try them, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how they were. Your feedback is so helpful!
Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes
- 4 purple sweet potatoes, medium size
- ½ cup coconut cream - see note, or regular plain vegan milk
- 1 small clove of garlic - crushed
- ½ tsp salt - or to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh chives
- Peel the potatoes and slice them in thick pieces (about 1 ½ inches thick). Then, transfer to a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and let simmer until they are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Drain and return the potatoes to the pot to help evaporate the extra water/moisture.
- Mash until very smooth (I use a hand masher), then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir/mash well and taste to adjust the flavor. If the potatoes are still too dense, then add more milk/coconut cream until desired consistency.
- You can either use canned coconut cream or simply scrape the top solid cream part from a can of coconut milk (see video). It works better when the can is chilled for at least an hour before, especially when the weather is warm.
- Store in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. Reheat using the microwave or on the stove. Can also be frozen. The mashed potatoes might get thicker as they cool down, so add some more milk/cream when reheating if needed.
- Both Stokes or Okinawan purple sweet potatoes work well for this recipe. You should be able to find them in a regular grocery store. If not, then check out an Asian supermarket or you can also buy them online through the company Frieda's.