These creamy Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes are vegan and Whole30-approved comfort food. In less than 30 minutes you can make healthy purple sweet potato mash is creamy, savory and delicious, the perfect side dish for the holidays!
- ❓ Why this recipe is great
- 🥔 Ingredients
- 📋 How to make mashed purple sweet potatoes: step-by-step
- 👨🏻🍳 Expert notes & tips
- 🍽 Substitutions
- 🥘 Mashed sweet potato variations
- 🌟 Freezing and reheating
- ✔️ Most common mashed potato mistakes
- 🙋🏻♂️ Frequently asked questions
- 😋 What to serve with purple mashed potatoes
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
❓ Why this recipe is great
Simple Enough for Beginners: this recipe was developed based off of my almond milk mashed potatoes, which my fiance requests on the regular (and even does most of the prep), so I know they're easy & detailed enough for beginners and home chefs alike!
Can't Tell They're Vegan: thanks to some simple cooking hacks covered below, you can't even tell these dairy-free mashed potatoes are vegan! Using coconut milk for mashed potatoes lends a creaminess and mild nuttiness that completes the comfort food trifecta.
Low Histamine Comfort Food: with all the restrictions, finding low histamine comfort foods can be hard, but these purplesweet mash potatoes fulfill the requirements of warm, fluffy, savory, and satisfying.
Purple Sweet Potatoes: you can use any other variety of sweet potatoes for this recipe, but I highly recommend a creamier type, like the creamy purple sweet potatoes I used here.
Coconut Cream: this is a key ingredient, adding more of a creamy flavor and texture to the dish.
Oil: I used avocado oil for this recipe, but you can use any neutral-tasting oil you tolerate. Ghee or butter are other good options if you tolerate dairy, but check out my post on low histamine oils for more ideas.
Garlic: using raw garlic adds an umami element to the potatoes that really rounds out the overall flavor and complements meats and root vegetables as a side dish, though technically it's optional.
📋 How to make mashed purple sweet potatoes: step-by-step
Step 1. Set one quart of salted water to boil (image 1), then carefully wash (image 2) and chop the potatoes (optionally peel them beforehand) (image 3) into ½" pieces of roughly the same size (image 4).
Step 2. Once the water is at a roiling boil (image 5), add the potatoes and lightly boil them with the lid slightly askew for roughly 15-20 minutes (I recommend setting a timer) (image 6). Some people say to add the pieces to cold water when boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes, but I've made them both ways and noticed no difference in the doneness of the potatoes, so cook as desired.
💡Tip* The smaller the potato pieces are, the faster they'll cook, so if you need your dish very quickly then cut the pieces quite small.
Step 3. While they cook, peel, chop (images 7 and 8) and then sautée your garlic cloves in avocado oil until softened (images 9 and 10), and set aside the infused oil on a cool burner (image 11). You'll know your potatoes are cooked once they're soft enough to pierce through with a fork.
Step 4. Once cooked, drain the potato pieces and put them in a large bowl (image 12) (do NOT use a blender or food processor, or you'll ruin the texture), scrape in the oil and garlic, then add the salt and coconut milk (images 13 and 14) and mash everything until fluffy (image 15).
Step 5. Leave some small chunks, if that's what you prefer, but be careful not to stir too much or you'll activate the potato starch, of which there's even more in purple sweet potatoes, and make your mashed potatoes into a very nice glue.
Your purple mashed potatoes are now ready to eat and top with chopped chives (image 16) or spring onions for a touch of color.
👨🏻🍳 Expert notes & tips
Adding Texture: for even more texture in the final dish, you can bake potatoes for mashed potatoes and even leave on the peels, creating more crunchy bits, and do less mashing for the final dish.
Microwaving for Mashing: if pressed for time, you can also carefully wash the sweet potatoes, stick each one with a fork several times, and then micriwave them on high for 1-2 minutes each. Then cut them in half and scoop out the insides of each one before mashing.
Other Potatoes - other than yams or purple sweet potatoes, you could also use regular sweet potatoes, but you'll need to boil them for a bit less time, on average.
No Garlic - you can omit the garlic in the recipe for more plain-flavored mashed sweet potato.
Oil-Free Version - you can make this mashed sweet potato recipe oil-free by swapping the avocado oil for an extra 3 tablespoons of coconut milk, however that will mean that the garlic flavor will be sharper since you'll be adding raw garlic to the mix. Just follow the steps as outlined in the recipe card and skip cooking the garlic to make oil-free mashed purple sweet potatoes with coconut milk or without.
Milk Substitutes - You can really use any milk substitute for mashed potatoes, even oat milk or almond milk or water, but the best substitute for coconut milk in these vegan mashed sweet potatoes is by far almond milk. It adds a mildly nutty, creamy flavor without the extra calories or dairy.
🥘 Mashed sweet potato variations
You can add in any low histamine herbs and spices you think would go well to mix up these potatoes. But just be sure to add the spices when you’re flavoring the cooking oil to help them release their flavors, otherwise they may taste raw and overly-strong.
Try the following mash potato variations for a twist on these nightshade-free mashed potatoes with coconut milk and garlic:
- Healthier Sweet Potato Mash: add or swap in roasted carrots, radish, or squash to the potato mash for an extra dose of antioxidants, flavor, and texture.
- Richer Mashed Sweet Potatoes: you can make this easy mashed purple sweet potato with butter or heavy cream in place of the oil and maybe part of the unsweetened almond milk or oat milk as a way of making a richer dish.
- Mashed Sweet Potato Dessert: you can still make these vegan and dairy-free, even if you decide to make these for dessert rather than dinner. Simply leave out the garlic and swap the avocado oil for coconut oil (or butter), adding 1-2 Tablespoons of maple syrup for extra sweetness.
- Ginger Sweet Potato Mash: purple sweet potatoes mashed with ginger and coconut milk seem like it'd err towards the sweet, but if you add in the ginger when you're making the garlic oil, then this version can stay savory.
- Tropical Cream: leave out the garlic and swap the oil for lime juice and the milk for yogurt (whatever you tolerate). This verison goes best with a lighter meat, like chicken or pork.
🌟 Freezing and reheating
If you're not on a low histamine diet, these mashed purple potatoes can stay good in the fridge for up to 4 days when stored in an air-tight container and cooled to room temperature beforehand.
But if you want to freeze these mashed Okinawan sweet potatoes, I recommend cooking them fully beforehand. They’ll stay good in the freezer for up to 2 months, though the texture will get a bit denser the longer they stay in there.
✔️ Most common mashed potato mistakes
Using Cold Milk - keep the coconut milk for the recipe on the counter once you start prepping your sweet potatoes, so that by the time you're mashing you're not adding any cold ingredients to the mash, causing clumping rather than creaminess.
Blending Rather Than Mashing - be sure to use a potato masher NOT a blender or any other type of food process or whisk attachment, which will activate the potato starch and make gluey purple mashed sweet potatoes.
Watery Mashed Potatoes - how do you fix watery mashed potatoes once they're already made? The trick is using heat to evaporate the excess moisture. Simply heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each round, until reaching your desired consistency.
🙋🏻♂️ Frequently asked questions
Yes, purple sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin A in addition to the potent antioxidant anthocyanin, which is what gives the sweet potatoes their purple hue.
No, purple sweet potatoes are true sweet potatoes while ube are yams, most commonly associated with the Philippines.
Purple sweet potatoes taste a bit creamier and slightly less sweet compared to regular sweet potatoes, due to their higher starch content.
These mashed purple sweet potatoes are a very forgiving dish, so you can peel the potatoes for an even smoother dish, but if you like a bit of texture then you can leave them on. Just make sure that either way you scrub the potatoes very well, so that you don't end up with any nasties in the dish.
How long to boil purple sweet potatoes for mashing will depend entirely on how small you cut the pieces, though in general they do take slightly longer to cook than regular sweet potatoes, since they're denser.
You can really use any milk substitute for mashed potatoes, even oat milk or water, but the best substitute for milk in mashed sweet potatoes is either coconut milk or almond milk.
😋 What to serve with purple mashed potatoes
As always, if you like the recipe, I really appreciate a 5 star review or comment!
Easy Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes (Vegan)
- 2 pounds purple sweet potatoes peeling optional
- ½ Cup coconut cream
- 2-5 cloves chopped raw garlic (18g), optional
- 2 ½ Tablespoons avocado oil alt. butter or oil of choice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt + more to salt the cooking water
- chives to top optional
- Set one quart of salted water to boil, then chop the potatoes (optionally peel them beforehand) into ½" pieces of roughly the same size.
- Once the water is at a roiling boil, add the potatoes and lightly boil them with the lid slightly askew for roughly 15-20 minutes (I recommend setting a timer). Some people say to add the pieces to cold water when boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes, but I've made them both ways and noticed no difference in the doneness of the potatoes, so cook as desired.
- While they cook, chop and then sautée your garlic cloves in avocado oil until softened, and set aside the infused oil on a cool burner. You'll know your potatoes are cooked once they're soft enough to pierce through with a fork.
- Once cooked, drain the potato pieces and put them in a large bowl (do NOT use a blender or food processor, or you'll ruin the texture), scrape in the oil and garlic, then add the salt and coconut milk and mash everything until fluffy.
- Leave some small chunks, if that's what you prefer, but be careful not to stir too much or you'll activate the potato starch, of which there's even more in purple sweet potatoes, and make your mashed potatoes into a very nice glue. Your potatoes are now ready to eat and top with chopped spring onion, chives, or parsley for a touch of color.