The Underrated Veggie That Gives Mashed Potatoes A Flavorful Bite

Mashed potatoes are a classic side for holiday meals and casual weeknight dinners alike. Whether you prefer them perfectly creamy or with a bit of chew, this dish is a favorite for many, partially due to how customizable they are. When plain potatoes lose their appeal, it's easy to incorporate different ingredients into a mash to imbue it with new flavors and textures. One oft-overlooked vegetable that can enhance a plate of mashed potatoes is watercress. These greens are small, but they are packed with flavor and health benefits that will take a side of mashed potatoes to the next level.


Watercress has a unique peppery taste that can skew bitter depending on the age of the plant. Its flavor is comparable to that of mustard greens and can impart refreshing and distinctive notes to the otherwise familiar taste of mashed potatoes. This is perfect if you're cooking for a crowd and want your mashed potatoes to be memorable. Watercress creates a subtle contrast that complements the creamy, neutral flavor of potatoes, and the resulting fusion of flavors adds depth and complexity to the overall dish.

Adding watercress to mashed potatoes has multiple benefits

Along with upgrading the taste of mashed potatoes, watercress can also create a more interesting texture. Watercress has a delicate, slightly crunchy texture that creates a pleasant contrast to the smooth mashed potatoes. Additionally, the vibrant green stems and leaves can add visual interest to beige potatoes, making the dish look more appetizing. This is why incorporating watercress into your mashed potatoes recipe is great for special occasions.


On top of all the ways watercress can improve the taste of mashed potatoes, it also has a long list of nutritional benefits. Watercress has exceptional nutritional content and is a rich source of antioxidants, which have been suggested to lower one's risk for developing chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular issues. In fact, watercress even contains several compounds that may even prevent cancer. The vegetable also contains high levels of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as essential minerals like calcium and manganese. Incorporating watercress into mashed potatoes enriches the dish with these vital nutrients, contributing to a more wholesome and well-rounded meal.

How to add watercress to mashed potatoes

There are a couple of ways to add watercress into your mashed potatoes recipe. There's no need to alter the way you make mashed potatoes — just go with your usual method before incorporating the watercress. You can do this by simply rinsing off the greens before folding them into the potatoes along with some salt and pepper, or you can go for a more involved technique. Start by blanching the watercress: boil the greens, and then quickly move them to cold water after one minute. Then, put the watercress and a bit of butter into a food processor, blend until you have a purée, and mix into the mashed potatoes. Using this technique will lose the crunchy texture of the watercress, but you'll still retain its taste and nutritional value.


Adding watercress to mashed potatoes can create a flavorful, visually appealing, and nutritionally rich dish that is sure to please any hungry guests. The blend of ingredients is one-of-a-kind and is a great way to start experimenting with new flavor combinations. If you're an amateur chef or an old hand in the kitchen, it's worth mixing these flavors together for a tasty, healthy, unforgettable side dish.