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Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Mashed potatoes and gravy would seem an option for plant-based eaters during the holidays, but the dish is often full of hidden menaces. Not only are the potatoes usually made with butter and milk, but the gravy almost always contains chicken, turkey or beef. This recipe, though, calls for nothing more dangerous than shallots and thyme in the spuds, and is topped with a creamy cashew gravy for an all-vegetarian version that doesn't sacrifice any flavor.

See also: Lentil shepherd's pie for a holiday main dish on Meatless Monday

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

You will need:

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots

3 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter (this is the very best kind -- use olive oil if you don't have any)

1/2 teaspoon or more of salt

1 teaspoon thyme

Fresh-ground black pepper

3/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon corn starch

1-2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (to taste)

1 lemon

1 teaspoon powdered garlic

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

1. Peel and quarter the potatoes.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Put them in a large pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, until fully cooked and tender. While they're boiling, we'll work on the shallots.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

2. Peel and thinly slice the shallots.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Add the shallots and saute until golden-brown, stirring frequently -- five to ten minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn!

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

They should be crispy and golden when you're finished. Set aside until the potatoes are ready and get started on the gravy.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

3. Put the cashews in a blender or food processor.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Grind into a fine powder.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Keep the blender or processor going and slowly add the water.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Continue till you've added all the water.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

4. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and put about 1/3 of the cashew-water mixture into the saucepan. Add the cornstarch, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Looking nice and thick!

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Add the rest of the cashew-water mixture to the saucepan.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Add the juice from the lemon, garlic powder, freshly ground pepper and soy sauce -- add the soy sauce a little at a time and taste as you go; you don't want it to overpower your gravy. Adjust seasonings as necessary.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

5. By now, your potatoes should have finished boiling. Drain them well and return them to the pot.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Add the vegan butter, coconut milk, shallots, thyme and salt.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Mash the potatoes thoroughly, adding more coconut milk if needed to make sure they're nice and creamy.

Shallot-and-thyme mashed potatoes with cashew gravy for Meatless Monday

Serve warm, topped with the gravy.