Ecosalon Recipes: Greening Thanksgiving with a Doubly Good Recipe for Taters, and More!


Thanksgiving can be either a gluttonous extravagance, or one of the greenest holiday feasts.

Here’s why: One of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gasses is livestock production. Turkey is faster growing than cows, so it’s more efficient from a resource input point of view. Plus, turkeys don’t emit methane.

Another big contributor to greenhouse gasses is food waste. After Thanksgiving, we tend to eat our leftovers, using every spare scrap of food.

Other than the turkey and the cranberries, most Thanksgiving dishes are seasonal, plant-based foods that can typically grow anywhere. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkins, apples. See what I mean?

From an energy use perspective, we tend to use our ovens to capacity at Thanksgiving, which is much better than cooking small amounts of food.

You can enjoy your Thanksgiving guilt-free as long as you don’t waste any food. And this recipe will help you with that task!

Two-in-One Mashed Potatoes

Serves 6-8

2 pounds russet potatoes
2 pounds garnet sweet potatoes
3 whole garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1/2 cup half & half
1/2 cup crème fraîche (divided equally into two portions)
4 tablespoons butter, softened (divided equally into two portions)
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes and sweet potatoes and cut them into 2 inch chunks. Bring two pots of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and the garlic to one pot and the sweet potatoes to the other. Boil both until tender.

Meanwhile, place the mustard seeds, cardamom pods and Half & Half in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for one minute. Turn off the heat and set aside.

When the potatoes and sweet potatoes are tender, drain them well and place them in separate bowls. Strain half of the Half &Half into each bowl and then add half of the crème fraîche and butter to each. Add some salt and pepper to each bowl and mash the potatoes and sweet potatoes well, keeping them separate. If you like smoother potatoes, you may run them through a ricer or food mill. Taste each mixture and adjust salt and pepper.

To serve, place them side by side in the serving bowl and swirl them together in a pretty pattern.

Use organic, locally grown ingredients whenever possible.

Recipe Copyright Vanessa Barrington 2009

Image: Dr. Hemmert

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.