While the festivities continue to roll out, people everywhere are busy decorating homes and offices with hues of green, red, and white as they embark on the final countdown toward New Year's. 

Family and work parties are being planned and everyone starts to think about scrumptious holiday food and what they can bring to the table. 

If you – like me – feel you need a little more inspiration, I got the perfect thing for you. Let’s get nutrition back on the holiday menu and have what I call a "purple holiday" celebration.

Last week, when I was asked to bring food to a holiday party, I thought about the different colors and ideas that I could play with and then it hit me, purple potato causitas! 

The bright purple color caught everyone’s attention at the party, but it was the flavor of that kept people coming back for more. They were a huge success and everyone raved about them. This is why I decided to write about this tasty treat and share my recipe with you so that you may impress your guests during the upcoming holiday get-togethers.

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Causitas are small, cold, whipped potatoes that are seasoned with lime juice, aji paste, salt and oil, and usually served with different stuffing or toppings. This is a classic Peruvian appetizer that I grew up with in my home. You will not only see in many restaurants in Peru, but also in every family household. Traditionally, they are made with potatoes that have a white or yellow flesh. Here, I decided to use purple potatoes for its many nutritional health benefits.

Purple potatoes have more than three times the amount of antioxidants than red or white potatoes. These spuds are not just a colorful novelty. What gives them their crimson purple color is a phytonutrient called anthocyanin. 

Research has shown that anthocyanins can help control blood sugar levels by breaking up glucose and preventing insulin spikes, making it a weight loss and diabetes friendly food. Anthocyanin also acts as an anti-oxidant absorbed directly into your bloodstream after eating. There it helps lower your blood pressure and slow down signs of aging.

 

PURPLE POTATO CAUSITA

When cooking the potatoes, make sure you keep them whole — this keeps the loss of the purple color to a minimum. It will dull, but adding the lime juice will brighten the color and bring it back to life.

Ingredients:
2 pounds purple potatoes, whole
¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon aji chili paste (or other chili paste)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Boil the purple potatoes, with the skin still on, for about 20 minutes. Drain and peel the potatoes while they are still hot under cool running water. Place in a bowl.
2. Mash the potatoes with a masher. Then add the lime juice, aji chili paste, canola oil and salt. Mix well.
3. With your hands, grab about 2 ounces of potatoes and form into small balls. Make an indent with your thumb on one side to make space for your filling.

Serves 8-9   Serving Size: 2 2-oz causitas
 

CHOOSE YOUR TOPPING

Salmon Salad

Ingredients:
1 6-oz canned salmon
½ red onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice

Directions:
1. Open and drain the salmon. Put in a medium sized bowl.
2. Add red onion, celery and lime juice. Mix well and serve on top of the causa.
Note: Extra salad can be used for sandwiches. Store excess salad for up to 2 days

Egg Salad with huancaina sauce

Ingredients:
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
3 tablespoons huancaina sauce

Directions:
1. Peel the hard-boiled eggs. Chop and add to a bowl.
2. Add huancaina sauce and mix. Serve one tablespoon on top of causa.
Note: Extra salad can be used for sandwiches. Store excess salad for up to 2 days.  

Huancaina sauce

Ingredients:
4 oz. queso fresco
1 tablespoon aji chili paste (or other chili paste)
1 tablespoon turmeric
½ ounce or 4 soda crackers
½ - ¾ cup milk

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until it reaches a medium consistency, adding more milk as needed.