‘Cheesy’ Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Bacon Bits

It’s officially 2013! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year. We decided to stay at home this NYE and take it easy this year. From what we hear, Chinese New Year is the BIG holiday here in Malaysia that you just can’t miss. So we are looking forward to celebrating a second New Year in February! Well, on NYE I was planning on making a big meal for my husband. However, we worked most of the day and actually worked through lunch! By the afternoon, our stomachs were empty and we were starved! I was going to make oven-baked french fries, but I was feeling too hungry and too lazy to take the time. I decided to just make some mashed potatoes and while they were cooking I got the idea to spice them up a bit with lots of garlic and nutritional yeast.

The mashed potatoes were such a hit with my husband, I had to make them again with this yummy recipe from The Happy Herbivore for bacon bits! Most bacon bits that you buy in the grocery stores are accidentally vegan. But the store-bought kind are full of weird chemicals and preservatives. Here’s a quick and low-fat recipe for when you’re feeling the need for bacon. Sprinkle it on mashed potatoes, salads, pizza, whatever!

‘Cheesy’ Garlic Mashed Potatoes 

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, washed (you can peel the skins off or leave ‘em on!)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk or reserved potato-cooking water
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast

serves 4

Vegan Bacon Bits 

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
  • salt to taste

makes 1 cup 

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For the mashed potatoes: Fill a large pot with water, leaving enough room for the potatoes and add some salt. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks and add them to the pot. Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce to simmer, until the potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes), then drain.

While the potatoes are draining, add the olive oil, salt, and garlic back into the pot you were using to cook the potatoes in. Sautée the garlic in the oil for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant, on medium heat. Turn off heat and add the potatoes back into the pot. Add the non-dairy milk or cooking water and nutritional yeast and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. Taste and add a little more salt, water, or nutritional yeast as needed.

For the bacon bits: Combine soy sauce, liquid smoke, water, maple syrup, garlic powder, and paprika in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, immediately turn off heat and stir in TVP. Keep stirring until all of the liquid is absorbed and add salt as needed.

Next, you’ll need to crisp up the TVP. You can either set your toaster oven to 200° F and toast the bits, shaking the tray every 2 minutes to prevent burning and repeating until crisp, or fry in a non-stick pan until crispy, stirring often.