To make the mashed potatoes, place the potato pieces in a heavy bottomed pot. Add enough cold water to cover them by a few inches. Transfer the pot to the stovetop and bring the water to a boil. Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until very tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes. In the same pot, melt the butter and add the milk. Remove the pot from heat and add the drained potatoes and salt. Use a potato masher to mash them until they're fluffy and creamy. Add milk by the tablespoon to achieve a consistency you like. You can also use a potato ricer for extra fluffy potatoes! Set the mashed potatoes aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the broth and the flour to create a smooth slurry.
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh crumbles (or smashed chickpeas). Add one teaspoon of tamari or soy sauce and the smoked paprika. Cook the tempeh, stirring often, for about a minute. Then allow it to cook in the skillet without stirring for a minute, to help brown the crumbles. Stir and then allow it to sit for another minute. Repeat until the crumbles are nicely browned throughout.
Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth to the skillet and bring the broth to a simmer. Stir in the broth and flour slurry. Give everything a stir, then add the remaining 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce, garlic powder, mustard, nutritional yeast, and thyme. Stir everything well, then allow it to come to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until the gravy is thick. Season to taste with additional salt and freshly ground pepper.
Divide the mashed potatoes into bowls, along with your green beans or other veggies. Top each bowl with a quarter of the tempeh and gravy. If you like, garnish each bowl with a small scoop of cranberry sauce—or even a few dried cranberries, if you're feeling low-key. Serve!