A great healthy alternative to mashed potatoes, you won’t believe how creamy and comforting white bean mash can be. This recipe is packed with roasted garlic and cheddar cheese for maximum flavor.
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.
Enter mashed white beans…
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 one day when eating out at a pub I ordered a dish which included it.
Well wow. I was completely won over! Mashed white beans are 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.
How healthy is white bean mash?
Depends on your priorities of course, and I do believe that anything in moderation is fine, but sometimes with comfort foods, moderation is hard.
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 definitely not a bad substitution to make sometimes.
While this isn’t low fat in the slightest, I’ve used extra virgin olive oil in place of butter, and greek yogurt rather than sour cream. So it is a really well rounded dish.
(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!)
Which white beans to use
In this recipe, I used butter beans, which is the same thing as lima beans in the US but with a big caveat. Americans tend to serve lima beans “immature” – green and fresh (so, not a white bean at all). The version we have in the UK is “mature” dried and white – and the end result is totally different.
Americans, if you want to use what I used, go and find some mature lima beans. But, you really do not have to go to such an effort. Any white beans will work!
Cannelini beans (aka white kidney beans) or navy beans (aka haricot beans) should be great too.
What is it with all the white beans having different names around the world?
Adding flavor to your mash
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 – this will not just blend into the background! You can of course reduce some of the flavoring if you’d prefer something more bland.
Some ideas for how to serve this white bean mash
- As a lower carb side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
- Topped with sauteed kale and burst cherry tomatoes.
- With a slab of halloumi or fried feta, topped with a tomato sauce.
- It is a great dish to bring to a potluck.
- As a base for the British classic sausages and mash (I’d use vegetarian sausages of course).
Roasted Garlic & Cheddar White Bean Mash
- 2 cans butter beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed, (400g / 14oz sized cans)
- 2 heads + 1-2 cloves garlic, depending on your tolerance levels for garlicky foods!
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup grated strong cheddar cheese
- 1 heaping spoonful of greek yogurt, or 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!