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Mashed Un-Potatoes Earns A Surprising Rave Review

By Blue Cross NC | May 16, 2019 | Healthy Lifestyle

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Sam Jones, in addition to being a Fire Chief in Eastern North Carolina, is a well-respected barbecue chef. So he’s naturally opinionated about food. When chef Vivian Howard offered him a taste of mashed potatoes made with cauliflower instead, let’s say he was a bit skeptical about how it would taste.


Vivian Howard’s test kitchen in Kinston, NC. This is where her new dishes are born, revised and perfected before gracing the tables at Vivian’s award-winning Chef & The Farmer and The Boiler Room restaurants.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) paired Vivian with an in-network Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Counselor named Tracy Owens. The idea was to see if they could take a traditional dish that’s filling, delicious and well-loved, make it healthier — and still tasty! Knowing that Sam has to feed a group of hungry volunteer firefighters, the dish that quickly came to mind was mashed potatoes.

Before they got started cooking, Vivian had a question for Tracy. “So, a nutrition counselor. That sounds like something almost anyone can benefit from?” Tracy responded, “Absolutely. If you can make simple changes to your diet, you can make a big difference in your health. For Blue Cross NC members, nutrition counseling is covered in many of their plans.”

[button link=”” type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Learn about Nutrition Counseling, and how to find a Nutrition Counselor near you.[/button]  


Fire Chief Sam joined Vivian and Tracy in the test kitchen to cook up Vivian’s twist on mashed potatoes: replacing the potatoes with cauliflower, cooking it, mashing it, combining it caramelized onions, and putting it in a blender to create the texture of mashed potatoes.

Tracy explained, “Cauliflower is a great source of Vitamin C, which a lot of people don’t really equate with this vegetable. Another benefit we have by replacing potatoes with cauliflower is we’re cutting down on the carbs and the calories. Anytime we can eat more vegetables in any shape or form it’s always going to be better for us.”

With the “potatoes” all blended, Vivian and Tracy moved on to creating the gravy. As the two got to work prepping the ingredients in a sauté pan, Vivian said: “So I’ve got a little bit of garlic. Some onions. I have canned black-eyed peas. You can use butter beans, any sort of bean or legume.” Tracy chimed in, “Any type of bean is a great source of protein.”

They placed the sautéed vegetables in a blender, added some milk, and pressed the button. Presto! It looked like gravy. “All right, let’s give it a taste,” said Vivian. “Sam, I’m giving you an extra-large portion.”

Turns out, the barbecue expert liked it: “I’m pleasantly surprised, actually!”

Here’s the full “Swapping Recipes” video:

Mashed Un-Potatoes and Veggie Gravy | GET THE RECIPE


You can make delicious meals that also contribute to improving your health. Eating the right foods can help you prevent, manage and potentially reverse chronic conditions. A Nutrition Counselor can help you meet your health goals.

Next steps:

[button link=”” type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Learn about Nutrition Counseling, and how to find a Nutrition Counselor near you.[/button]