I often hear folks say that it’s difficult to eat enough vegetables in the winter. Many of us crave warm, dense foods at this time of year, which I think is natural: they help to keep us grounded and brace us against the cold. Vegetables don’t always fit the bill, or maybe they could, but it’s not immediately clear how to prepare them in a really soulful, comforting way. Last weekend, in the middle of all-day snow and freezing temperatures, I whipped up these simple, loaded garlic kale potatoes. They felt like the best of both worlds: comfort food that was also packed with nutritious, leafy greens.
Part of what I love about this recipe is that it has stick-to-your-ribs appeal, but it’s a lot less labor-intensive than making a fancy casserole or gratin or some other baked dish. Russet potatoes and garlic roast at the same time, and when they’re finished you squeeze the sweet, tender roasted garlic cloves right into the potato flesh and mash away. You add chopped, steamed kale, top with a bit of vegan parm, and transfer everything to the broiler for a couple of minutes.
After that, you’ll have crispy stuffed potato skins with a creamy filling. The kale adds texture to the potatoes, as well as color. The dish reminded me a lot of my kale colcannon, which I love, but with an Italian twist: the delightful combination of roasted garlic and cheesy nutritional yeast.
As you can see, my potatoes got a little burnt (I always underestimate what even a minute too long under the broiler can do), but that ended up being a happy accident: I loved the crispy exterior. I used nutritional yeast in the mashed potatoes themselves, and I used vegan parm on top (my go-to is Go Veggie Foods vegan parmesan). My hempesan would also work really nicely, as would any homemade vegan parm (I’ve made it with walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and lots of other nuts/seeds: essentially you blitz the nuts, nutritional yeast, and some salt in a food processor, and you’re good to go).
This was my first time adding roasted garlic directly to mashed potatoes, and I’m in love. I’ve always added garlic powder in the past, which is fine, but the roasted garlic has a sweeter, deeper flavor. You can use this recipe to make regular mashed potatoes, with or without the kale–though it seems like a shame to waste the crispy potato skins as a handy vessel.
This recipe that calls for a little kitchen intuition. If your potatoes are on the bigger side, you’ll probably need more almond or soy milk. I also recommend tasting the mashed potatoes before and after you add the kale, so that everything is nicely seasoned. Feel free to add fresh herbs, like parsley, or dried herbs, like oregano, to the potatoes, too. I’d love to try my next batch with oregano and thyme as well as the garlic.
And it’s worth saying that any leafy green–from broccoli rabe to chard to collards–would work well in the recipe. You can also used finely chopped broccoli or broccolini, if that’s what you have. You can serve the them as a side dish, or you can pair them with soup or salad for an easy, but very comforting, meal.
Winter is here to stay, at least in my neck of the woods, but this kind of food makes me feel ready for it. I’m wishing you all warmth and comfort, and I’ll be back on Friday with a special giveaway.