Whenever there is any suggestion of white starches and carbs being bad, I basically put my hands over my ears and go “la la la I can’t hear you la la la” because I will never live in a world without mashed potatoes and pasta. But I know, deep down, that I eat these foods more often, and in larger portions, than is ideal. I’ve recently become a little more conscious of maintaining my blood sugar stability and having lower-GI foods, so while I will never give up my beloved white starches, I think it is always healthy to experiment with new things.
So I saw some white bean mash recipes online and wondered, cynically, if it would be any good. I was in no rush to try it, but then I saw it on the menu at a pub, alongside some pan fried feta cheese, and oh how I wanted that to try that. I didn’t know what to expect, but I loved it! White bean mash is actually really creamy and comforting, much like mashed potatoes, but it’s a little lighter and just has it’s own different-but-delicious thing going on.
Eating a reasonable portion of mashed potatoes is almost impossible, and the same applies for white bean mash, but at least this is giving you some protein and some so-called “good carbs”, and slower releasing energy. It’s not a bad substitution to make sometime.
In this recipe, I used butter beans but any white beans can be used. I’ve added two entire heads of roasted garlic and some cloves of minced garlic. Yeah, that’s a lot, and you should tread lightly if you don’t love garlic. The garlic and cheddar work together to give a strong flavor that will stand on it’s own two feet- you won’t need a gravy. For extra nutritional benefits, extra virgin olive oil takes the place of butter, and greek yogurt takes over from sour cream. So this is a really well rounded side dish that you should not feel bad about piling high on your plate!
(Edit: If you’d like to lighten this recipe up, I came across a great suggestion from Lori on Facebook- Using white kidney beans, she added some veggie broth to thin out the beans and was then able to add less oil, cheese and yogurt. Thanks Lori for sharing!)
It serves four as a side dish, but I actually used the full amount between two of us, topped with sauteed kale and burst cherry tomatoes – a simple, healthy dinner that we both really enjoyed.
- 2x 400g / 14oz cans of butter beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed
- 2 heads + 1-2 cloves of garlic (depending on your tolerance levels for garlicky foods!)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- A few handfuls of grated strong cheddar cheese
- 1 dessertspoon of greek yogurt (or you can use sour cream)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Chives (optional, for garnish)
- First, roast the 2 heads of garlic. Heat the oven to 180C/360F. Slice the top off each head of garlic (just a little, so that each clove is exposed) and brush the exposed cloves with olive oil. Wrap in foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove, unpeel the foil, and leave to cool down for about 15 minutes.
- Once they are cooled, squeeze out all of the garlic cloves into a small glass or bowl- they will now be soft and creamy and will ooze out of their skins very easily. Mash them with a fork, and then mix in a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Whisk until emulsified.
- Mince the additional 1-2 cloves. Heat 1-2 Tblsps of olive oil in a saucepan and lightly saute the garlic until fragrant and soft, but stop before they become brown and toasted.
- Now add the white beans and the roasted garlic/olive oil mix to the same pan. Mash the beans into the garlic with a wooden spoon and/or a potato masher. Once they are mostly broken up, add the spoonful of yogurt.
- Use a hand mixer to whip them into a creamy mash, adding additional olive oil or yogurt if the mixture is too thick.
- Finally, over a medium heat, add the cheese and stir until melted in.
- Garnish with some chives and serve!