Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes Recipe

My favorite mashed potato recipe - creamy mashed potatoes flecked with finely chopped greens and garlic. Adding a green like kale, and golden threads of drizzled olive oil is a great way to add color and nutritional umph to America's favorite starch-packed side dish.

Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Meet my new favorite mashed potato recipe - creamy mashed potatoes flecked with finely chopped greens and garlic. Adding a green like kale is a great way to add color and nutritional umph to America's favorite starch-packed side dish. Good luck passing this one off on the kids, at that age I liked my mashed potatoes just-so and this meant free of lumps, skins, and most importantly, anything remotely green. Let's hope your kids are more adventurous eaters than I was.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from The Oldways Table, a cookbook that has been sitting on my desk since it came out late last year. It's a fantastic collection of recipes highlighting healthy eating where it intersects traditional foodways. You end up with a book full of recipes contributed by food writers like Paula Wolfert, Molly Stevens, and Lidia Bastianich alongside dozens of essays by influencers like Deborah Madison, Bill Niman, Zarela Martinez, and Oldways principals Dun Gifford and Sara Baer-Sinnott.

Today's mashed potato recipe was contributed by Steve Petusevsky - I made a few minor tweaks, but the version below is similar in spirit to what you'll find in the book.

I brainstormed a few other directions you could take this recipe.

  • Use mashed white beans in place of the mashed potatoes.
  • Add stock until you have a potato soup with kale.
  • Add some sauteed or baked mushrooms (chopped) and use as an empanada filling.
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Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potato Recipe

For this recipe, be sure to wash the kale well (or spinach, or chard) - dirt and grit hides in the leaves. I don't like floppy leafiness in my potatoes, so I chop the kale quite finely. If you stir the kale in too much it can lend a slight green cast to your potatoes, so i just barely stir it in right before serving. Also, on the potato front - feel free to use unpeeled potatoes if you like something a bit more rustic (and nutritious). I picked up some yellow-fleshed German Butterball potatoes at the market last week and they added the visual illusion that the mashed potatoes were packed with butter. Didn't miss the real thing a bit.

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
sea salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, large stems stripped and discarded, leaves chopped
1/2+ cup warm milk or cream
freshly ground black pepper
5 scallions, white and tender green parts, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish (opt)
fried shallots, for garnish (optional)

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chopped kale, a big pinch of salt, and saute just until tender - about a minute. Set aside.

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Slowly stir in the milk a few big splashes at a time. You are after a thick, creamy texture, so if your potatoes are on the dry side keep adding milk until the texture is right. Season with salt and pepper.

Dump the kale on top of the potatoes and give a quick stir. Transfer to a serving bowl, make a well in the center of the potatoes and pour the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with the scallions, Parmesan cheese, and shallots.

Serves 6.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Anything is better with kale in it... well, maybe not, but I've loved kale since I read about it in a garden book which mentioned it was called "the green doctor". I know this must be a tasty dish. One thing I do when making mashed potatoes is to use the cooking water instead of adding milk. I scoop the potatoes out of the pot with a slotted spoon, pour an amount of the water off into a measuring cup and add powdered milk, or powdered soy milk if I'm cooking for someone who is avoiding dairy... or sometimes a combination of both, into the water and then add that a bit at a time to the potatoes. Any leftover water I keep for soup making.

mother nana

it sounds + looks delish!!


. . . metwurst. This reminds me of a Dutch dish my husband likes to make. Mashed potatoes, kale, gouda and metwurst.


In India , we add minced onions, little green chillies and coriander leaves to the oil till the onions are goldben brown and chillies and coriander well blended. It gives a different taste and is called "Podimass"

L v Subramanian

Heidi-- you mention using this as an empanada filling... do you happen to have a good (tried and true) empanada recipe? I found some by searching online but they seem to be high on the fat/lard content (yuck!!). Thanks! Love the site!


I used to eat this all the time as a kid! The only green my mom would ever cook was boiled frozen spinach (yucky and boring), and she usually served it at the same meal as mashed potatoes (the lumpier the better, IMO). I really hated spinach, but I had to eat it, so I would mix the spinach into the potatoes. I can't say I loved it, but I got used to it. I wish I had known to add garlic and pepper to it back then, as it actually sounds quite yummy.


I just made the mashed potatoes tonight after coming across this recipe this morning. =) Absolutely delicious, and even a great group project!


Any suggestions about a substitution for the garlic cloves? I, for one, am allergic to garlic. The fresher the worse off I am after eating it. But this dish sounds delicious and I want to be able to get the best flavor possible while skipping the garlic.


We have been using this recipe traditional to Holland for my whole life. Its called boerenkool met wurst. Traditionally we make it with sausage in a pan, cook the kale with the sausage drippings and then extract the kale, chop it and add it to mashed potatoes. This is a delicious addition to add some olive oil. Not to mention healthier!


I would have never thought of using kale this way. I might try this over the weekend but omit the cream. Thanks!


Use stock to cook the potatoes, then mash them all together. No need to use butter or milk (I'm lactose-intolerant).

Anitra F

Dear Heidi, The image of the mashed potato in the dish looks most inviting. Thanks a lot for this recipe. It would also be a wholesome dish since it combines the goodness of milk, greens and potatoes.


I've been making something like this for a couple years, but instead of olive oil I use toasted sesame oil and sometimes also toasted sesame seeds...sprinkle with tamari - YUM!!


What a great twist on a favourite. My wife and I are slowly pulling out of winter and have had our fill of winter vegetable (like potato) recipes...until this one! Looks and sounds great!


Oh yum, I'm certainly going to try this--thanks for sharing it. That cookbook sounds fantastic, too.

the veggie paparazzo

Oh my... looks absolutly delicious! I love mash potatoes and I would of never thought to add greens with them. I am the weirdo who loves to eat mash potaotes with green peas and garlic. I will have to try this next time I am cooking for family or guests. The presentation looks fantastic. I really liked the white beans substitution also. Good brainstorming Heidi.


I am a Pakistani and normally we love to eat spicy cooked food. But this mashed potato recipe is really a good/healthy one and I have added this to my regular meals chart


Yum -- this looks great! I like to mix in a small portion of sweet potato to my mashed potatos, adds a gentle sweetness as a background note.


this looks absolutely scrumptious! thanks for sharing the recipe. i adore your photo, as i do all of yours! i haven't had mashed potatoes in a lifetime it seems.


Being Irish i love mashed potatoes! It's pretty much what we are brought up on in Ireland and indeed this dish has a special name, champ! What a cool name for a side dish eh, champ! Really starting to appreciate your site for it's excellent recipes and have been using them quite a few times for cooking on the yacht! kepp it up!

Niall Harbison

Hello, Mashed potatoes work best with floury potato types ( especially this late in the potato year). King Edward are best, red skinned newer varieties like rooster are really good too. Two things that make a difference- 1. cut them into rough but fairly even cubes, about an inch by inch by inch. Don't boil the water, let it come to temperature with the potatoes in, and a rolling simmer is hot enough. Otherwise they are soup on the outside, rocks on the inside. (Think long grain not risotto). Check after 10 minutes. 2. Drain them and let them sit somehere warm, where steam can escape for two to three minutes. The dry mass is then higher and the starches are lovely and floury. 2a If you add stuff like milk or butter, warm them first, so you don't cool the starch down. This endeth the potato lesson. (Sorry about the length of this post, I live in the cold and wet - root veg gooood.)


Great recipe- I never thought of kale, although I "invented" a similar dish a few summers ago and ate it nearly every week. I used spinach in place of kale and Yukon gold, or "golden potatoes" instead of normal baking spuds (no cream or Parm for me, as I'm allergic to all milk products, but the golden potatoes are naturally buttery...plus the olive oil).


Love this recipe! Looked and tasted great along side a grilled grouper we caught this morning. As far as the kids go, I've had great luck with actually making a puree of the greens and making GREEN mashers. We have even snuck broccoli, peas, and asparagus into those 'taters just to make them green for my nieces and nephews. Our gang loves them!


I have a child who is allergic to milk, so my favorite way to make mashed potatoes these days is to chop some bacon, fry it until crisp, saute in some leeks, and then mix with the cooked, diced potatoes and some good chicken stock to moisten it all up. I'm going to try it like that but with kale added in next time I have some kale. I think my kids may actually eat it - they like it cooked with potatoes and smoked sausage already!


I'm so enjoying your blog! I made something a little similar tonight...something about St. Patrick's day had me dying for a colcannon. My fridge is overflowing with veggies, a result of a very impulsive market trip. So I did mashed cauliflower, turnip, and parsnip instead of the potatoes, and stirred in a sauteed savoy cabbage with onions. I added a soy milk sauce to the cauliflower-root veggie mixture, with just a touch of thyme and nutmeg. Really good. It tasted of early spring -- green and warming.


i would not have thought to jazz up mashed potatos like this! wow, you can make it healthy!


I'm new to your blog and am enjoying making my way through your archives and this recipe is as tempting as all the others. It seems to be dredging up memories for your readers and I' m afraid I'm going to stick my oar in too! It does remind me of the traditional Irish colcannon, basically mashed potatoes and greens but with about half a pound of butter! Going to give this a try but my little one is a bit odd and is more likely to eat the kale and leave the mash!


Sorry about double posting, I just actually read through your recipe now, and it's interesting how differently this can be done. What we do is boil the potatoes and the stalks of the chard together. When they're almost tender, add the leaves in. Strain the whole thing, add chopped garlic, and smash with a fork, not quite down to mashed potato consistency. I like some nice lumps in mine. Just thought I'd share an alternate twist on this simple and yummy dish.


Heh, funny. I just finished eating mashed potatoes and chard. It's one of my boyfriend's specialties, apparently it's very popular in Croatia (where he's from). Super delicious. I'll have to try kale sometime too.


I will certainly be trying this recipe and it looks like it will work perfect with my Umbrian olive oil. I have also included a link on my blog. Many thanks from Rachel at Amelia Oil.


In terms of kids and a recipe like this - where you can't taste the green that much - you have to make up a good story about what it is. Mashed potatoes from special rainforest potatoes.


I don't know what planet Ash's kids come from, but mine are from the planet "eewww, there are green things in my potatoes, c'est quoi, ça?" Never-the-less I personally adore potatos, kale, and olive oil, and add "fried" shallots and parmesan... oh-la-la... how could you go wrong. Now I just have to try and find kale in the markets in the southern France.


I've made a similar recipe before, and I love the contrast of the smooth, creamy potatoes with the slightly crunchy, bitter kale. Beautiful photo!

Susan from Food Blogga

The olive oil puts you hot on the trail of the Dalmatia's blitva here. I've been meaning to post a blitva recipe for a while since it's an essential element of that cuisine, and here's another impetus. I'm definitely a staunch proponent of potatoes mashed with greens, but I have such a taste for the dark leafies now that the affair often ends up consisting of just as much green as spud - and it's no less comforting that way. Check me in a couple of days for blitva...

John J. Goddard

I've done something very similar with mashed white beans and kale--with garlic, olive oil, rosemary and a squeeze of lemon. It was good on toast. I hadn't thought of doing it with potatoes though...


Love this recipe. Maybe you can't pass this onto the kids. However, it's a sure fire way to get us "grown-ups" to incorporate those dark leafy greens in our diets. You know, the ones we buy at the market that somehow become a science experiment in the bottom of the refrigerator.


In Holland you boil the potatoes with the minimum of water, and place the kale on top to steam while the potatoes cook. Then when it's time to serve you mash it all together. No olive oil, but reserve some of the liquid from cooking and add a little bit of milk, or butter or sometimes vinegar to give it a little bit of a bite. This is a fantastic way to get kids to eat leafy greens, because they don't really notice the strong flavour when it's combined with the potatoes.


A great way to sneak some veggies into mashed potatoes is to mash in some cauliflower. They'll never know what hit 'em.


The Dutch would call this stamppot. It's common there (although not so much with olive oil). They also use a different word for pea soup after the first day - when freshly made, it's erwtensoep, the next day it's snert.


Im so happy to see a mashed potatoes recipe without calling for a half-stick of butter!!! Adding greens to mashed potatoes sounds so brilliantly intuitive. I may do a variation with Bok Choy... -Jared


I love following the seasons... and recipes that dance together and pass in the night! From my market here in Tuscany, I bought turnips and their greens. I roasted the turnips, but would have loved to try them as the puree, with the greens blended in. We twice cook the green's and flavor with garlic. What's not to love! Italians often add polenta to soups or stir in sauteed greens, More comfort food. Right now we are getting tiny kale to eat raw in salads! M


Looks gorgeous. Funny, when I was a YO, I insisted on lumps in my mashed potatoes... I wanted to make sure they were "real" and not from a box :-) But, I also would have picked out the greens ;-) -L


I think kale makes anything better. My current favorite is finely chopped kale with quinoa, a little lemon juice, and a dash of Alepo pepper. Thanks for a great site.


This is how we always make mashed potatoes. Also good with spinach and caramelized onions. Or horseradish!


Being from the south you can imagine the kind of mashed potatoes I was raised on [plenty of cream and butter]. This recipe sounds absolutely wonderful and I will try it. We do love greens in the south too so it isn't a stretch to combine the two. I have not seen one of your recipes that I did not want to try. Thank you for sharing this wonderful site...[sight :)] and recipes.


Thanks for the heads up on the book. Can't wait to get it. Love smashed potatoes with additions - do it all the time but have to admit, never with a leafy green. Next on the list!


Sounds really good. I think I could get this past my husband. I think the 2 yo might pick out the greens. She does when I add them to soups. Does the book say who contributed which recipes? I have lidia's family table & love it. I think I would add white beans to the potatoes and then fry like pancakes. maybe with a tomato or pesto sauce as a spread.


Thanks, Heidi! Another great recipe with a beautiful photo. :D I especially like the idea of using a white bean instead of the potato. Think I might try it that way soon.


Mmmmm. I'm all about comfort food made healthy! This looks wonderful!


Sounds great! I love new twists on old favorites! And since I have just begun to cook with Bulgur Wheat, I can't wait to hear about the Bulgur Pilaf with Toasted Noodles.


oh lovely recipe!! a few ideas...you can use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes for an interesting flavour. also, my favourite substitute for potatoes is raw plantains....i hope its the right name..maybe its called green bananas or green plantains..it can be found in indian grocery stores. it is great mashed, but because its iron rich, it tends to darken...best to soak it in water or add a little lemon juice to keep the colour from becoming too dark. It is also great with grated/toasted coconuts and tempered with mustard seeds. it is quite a favourite in our house, actually. do try it if you happen to pass by an indian grocery store's vegetable section. oh..and sesame seed oil(not the chinese kind..the middle eastern kind. its called gingelly oil in south indian cookery parlace) is really awesome with this...


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