Get your kids to eat two — or even three — vegetables at once with these easy and fun vegan potato volcanoes.
When my kids were young, they never wanted mashed potatoes until we read The Trouble With Grownups, an entry in the Berenstain Bears children’s book series. In one scene, the cubs are bored with the same old dinner. The Mama and Papa bears scold the cubs for building volcanoes with their mashed potatoes.
Immediately charmed, my kids wanted mashed potatoes so they could rebel against the grumpy fictional bear parents. We even concocted a “hot lava” sauce for the mashed potato volcanoes.
I see nothing wrong with making food more amusing, especially if doing so inspires kids to eat it. Potato volcanoes became a fixture on their repertoire, and it accomplished the feat of getting my kids to eat two — or three —vegetables in one dish. Hopefully you’ll be lucky as well.
And little did I know at the time that “potato volcanoes” are really a thing, and are made in a number of different ways. This one just happens to be just about the most kid-friendly you’ll find.
This recipe makes 4 kid-size servings. Adults will enjoy this too, when you need a serving of some comfort food!
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1/2 cup plain unsweetened plant-based milk
- Pinch of salt, or to taste
- 1 cup plain unsweetened plant-based milk
- 2 tablespoons unbleached flour
- 1/2 cup cheddar-style vegan cheese shreds
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 to 2 ½ cups frozen peas and/or small broccoli florets, steamed
- Put the diced potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with
water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes.
- When the potatoes are done, drain them and transfer to a mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes well with a potato masher. Add the vegan butter and plant-based milk and stir in. Add a little salt if desired.
- To make the "hot lava,” heat the plant-based milk in a small saucepan. Dissolve the flour in just enough water to make it smooth and flowing.
- When the plant-based milk comes to a simmer, lower the heat
and stir the dissolved flour slowly into the saucepan.
- Sprinkle in the cheese and stir until it melts. Simmer the
mixture gently until smooth and thick, continuing to stir. Stir the ketchup into the sauce, but leave plenty of red streaks showing, so that it looks “fiery.”
- Divide the mashed potatoes among 4 serving plates.
- Have everyone shape them into volcanoes, then press the tops down lightly to flatten, and make a small indentation at the very top with their thumb. Then, have the kids arrange some of the peas and/or broccoli florets around the volcano.
- Let each child pour some of the “lava” into the indentation at the top of each volcano with a small ladle. It should flow down the sides. It’s fine if it drips over the greenery too. Eat at once, before the lava solidifies into magma!
If you like this simple potato dish, you might also enjoy …
Here are lots more easy vegan salads & sides.