The humble potato has been a staple in the human diet for around 8,000 years since it was first domesticated by South Americans in the Andes. It wasn’t until the mid-1500s that the potato made its way to Europe and the Americas.
Potatoes have remained a popular food source for many nations including the United States. The States is the third largest consumer of potatoes across the world behind China and India. This article will discuss the suitability of potatoes for a vegan diet and how to prepare them.
Are Potatoes Vegan?
As potatoes are root vegetables and plants, they are completely vegan and suitable for those adopting a plant-based diet.
They are cheap, filling, and comforting which is why they continue to be so popular amongst different cultures and diets.
All raw forms of potatoes are vegan including red, white, and sweet potatoes. Potatoes are suitable for every diet apart from the keto diet. Although they don’t contain any gluten, they are high in starch and carbohydrates.
Health Benefits And Nutrition
Potatoes are mainly made up of starch and fiber with some vitamins and minerals too. They are particularly high in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Antioxidants help to protect your cells against free radicals, these cells contribute to heart disease, cancer, as well as other serious health conditions.
Potatoes are also a great source of potassium, a mineral used for the healthy functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system. The skins of potatoes are where the majority of the fiber content is stored, aiding in healthy digestion.
Why Aren’t Some Potato Dishes Vegan?
The only reason a potato wouldn’t be vegan is due to the way it’s cooked. When buying pre-made mashed potatoes or frozen potato products in the grocery store, it’s common for manufacturers to add ingredients such as milk and cheese to enhance the flavors.
Obviously, milk is a dairy product that comes from the mammary glands of certain farm animals such as cows and goats.
Any basic mashed potato recipe will call for the use of milk, luckily when you’re at home you can opt for a plant-based alternative. As a result, vegans need to be more aware of the ingredients in processed, boxed, and restaurant potatoes.
The packaging labels will indicate if the product contains milk through the allergen information which is displayed in bold. These popular pre-made mashed potato products are vegan:
- Edward & Sons Roasted Garlic Organic Mashed Potatoes
- Edward & Sons Organic Mashed Potatoes
- Ore-Ida Home Style Steam ‘N’ Mash
- Great Value Instant Mashed Potatoes
Cheese is another common dairy product that is added to mashed potatoes. When venturing through the dozens of instant mashed potato options at the store, it will be difficult to find one that doesn’t contain cheese.
Look out for cheese in frozen foods too as it is added to many nachos, baked potatoes, fries, and potato skins. When cheese is a component of one of these products it should be clearly indicated on the packaging.
Occasionally cheeses such as parmesan might be added to a food that isn’t always as obvious. Always check the allergen label on the back of the product to look out for ‘MILK’.
Another common pesky dairy product that makes its way into many potato dishes is butter. Vegan butter can always be used as a substitute when making the food yourself, however, this isn’t helpful when dining out or trying to pick up a quick meal for dinner. The presence of butter will also be indicated with a ‘MILK’ allergen label.
The Best Vegan Potato Recipes
Making delicious and comforting potato dishes in your own home has never been easier. Turn those spuds into something fantastic with these easy recipes.
- Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
- Vegan Potato Bake
- Vegan Potato Casserole
- Vegan Twice Baked Potatoes
- Famous Crispy Potato Casserole
Great Vegan Alternatives
When you’re making a tasty potato dish at home, using vegan butter, sour cream, milk, or cheese is a great way to replicate the cheesy goodness and textures achieved with dairy products.
Nutritional yeast is another great contender for those that can’t find a vegan cheese they like. It adds a creamy texture to the dish and a depth of flavor.
Potatoes are a common root vegetable that is extremely versatile and contains important nutrients. These comforting and delicious vegetables are popular around the world and are the source of the much-loved french fry.