Don’t throw the baked potato out with the butter, sour cream and bacon bits! Hundreds of potato stuffing possibilities exist that are delicious and have no relation to meat and dairy. Read on for ideas and a recipe for easy, creamy Broccoli Sauce.
It’s time to rethink the traditional baked potato and fixin’s. Potatoes are health-promoting and they not only taste great, but they help keep us feeling full. When I’m out at a restaurant and there are no healthy options on the menu, I will often just ask for a baked potato with steamed veggies on top. Cheap, easy and tasty!
The goal is to avoid topping baked potatoes with health-harming foods and ingredients, and top them instead with the whole, plant-based foods that our bodies crave and run best on.
Traditional baked potatoes are typically loaded with ingredients and foods we want to avoid if good health is our goal. They are often overly processed and full of salt, sugar and oil. You know the ones: butter, margarine, olive oil (any oil), sour cream, cheese, bacon bits (real and fake), mayonnaise, and other store-bought sauces such as ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, and store-bought salad dressings.
See below for baking instructions as well as a recipe for Broccoli Sauce. This flavorful sauce can be used in place of cheese, butter and/or sour cream as a creamy topping on your baked potato. This is also great on steamed vegetables such as broccoli, greens and cauliflower. I’ve also include photos of different topping combinations that I like. See the long list of foods below (in yellow) for baked potato topping suggestions. Mix and match and find the combos that you like best and add these meal ideas to your regular dinner rotation. Bake as many potatoes at a time as you like, but my feeling is that if you’re going to turn the oven on for a while, bake up a few extras. If you have a favorite baked potato combo or idea, please share it in the comments below. Thank you!
- 4 medium-large (about ¾ pound each) russet potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Set aside a baking sheet or dish.
- You can poke the potatoes with a knife a couple of times if you wish, but I have not found it to make a difference. Do not wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil; simply place them onto the baking sheet or dish and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife is easily inserted into the center.
- After baking, make a lengthwise slit in the top of each potato, going about halfway down. Squeeze each potato at the ends toward the center to open it up. You can use a knife or fork to loosen the potato flesh inside. Finish the potato by topping it with any combination of vegetables or other toppings listed on the following page.
Other white potatoes: If you want to use another variety of white potato besides russet, try Yukon Golds. They have thin skins and are less starchy and are creamier in texture, with a naturally buttery flavor. They are generally smaller than russets, so they may not need to cook as long.
By many names: Did you know that Russet potatoes are also known as "Idaho" potatoes, "baking" potatoes, "starchy" potatoes and "chef's" potatoes?
Above: Broccoli Sauce
- 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
- 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, halved
- Place the broccoli, potatoes, and garlic into a medium saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a knife.
- Use as slotted spoon to transfer the cooked vegetables and ½ cup of the cooking water to a food processor then pulse 4 to 5 times, adding more cooking water as needed. The sauce should have a somewhat coarse texture, with tiny bits of broccoli still visible (overblending can dull the flavors).
BAKED POTATO STUFFING IDEAS
Boiled or steamed veggies
greens (kale, collards, chard)
thinly sliced cabbage
white or red onion
Pre-made sauces, soups, etc.
crumbled veggie burgers
any leftover soup or stew
|hot sauce of your choice
can of diced tomatoes
sauteed mushrooms and onions
broccoli sauce (see above)
any SOS-free salad dressing
prepared (wet) mustard
Also try. . .
Grated nuts: Use a rotary cheese grater to grate a dusting of nuts on top of food; this is a good way to avoid going overboard on high-fat nuts.
Dried herb blends: Such as an Italian or Mexican blend. (Read the labels to be sure they are salt- and sugar-free.)
Canned or home-cooked beans or lentils: Lentils with a bit of seasoning during cooking are easy and yummy.
Sauces: Any other savory sauces, spreads, soups, salads or leftovers that are SOS (salt, oil, sugar)-free.