Stuffed Baked Potatoes

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. 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. If you have a favorite baked potato combo or idea, please share it in the comments below. Thank you!

Baked Potatoes

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.

1-4 large Russet potatoes

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash potatoes. You can poke them with a knife a couple times or not; I don’t find it makes much of a difference. Do not wrap in foil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife is easily inserted to the center.

2. After removing from the oven, cut a lengthwise slit in the top of each potato (about half deep into the potato) and push from the ends toward the center to open. You can use a knife or fork to loosen and fluff the potato flesh in the center.


Yams too? You can also bake yams or sweet potatoes. They come in all sizes, however, so check them at 45 minutes, and then at 5 or 10-minute intervals.

Other white potatoes: If you want to use another white potato, besides Russet, try Yukon golds. They have thin skins and are a little less starchy and fluffy (more creamy), but they will work, and they have a nice buttery flavor.

By many names: Did you know that Russet potatoes are also known as “Idaho” potatoes, “baking” potatoes, “starchy” potatoes and “chef’s” potatoes?

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.

1 large Yukon gold potato (10-12 oz.), peeled and diced
1 small head broccoli (6-8 oz.), cut into florets
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1. Place all ingredients into a pot with just enough water to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil and turn down heat to medium. Cook until potatoes and carrots are soft (about 10-15 minutes).

2. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the food processor (or blender if you don’t have a food processor) and blend until smooth, adding cooking water as needed to thin to your desired consistency. (Makes about 2 cups.)

Above: Broccoli Sauce


Boiled or steamed veggies

greens (kale, collards, chard)
Brussels sprouts
green beans

Raw veggies

grated carrots
thinly sliced cabbage
bell peppers
white or red onion
green onions

Fresh herbs


Pre-made sauces, soups, etc.

curry sauce
veggie chili
marinara sauce
crumbled veggie burgers
any leftover soup or stew
hot sauce of your choice
can of diced tomatoes
pesto sauce
roasted garlic
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.

Above: Baked potato with steamed broccoli, collard greens and Broccoli Sauce.

Above: Baked Russet potato with veggie chili and cilantro.

Above: Mushrooms and onions sauted in a little water, topped with chives.

Above: Sweet potato topped with chickpeas (garbanzo beans), avocado and fresh basil.

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    • says

      Hi, mainly because it’s not necessary (skins may be a little dryer but it’s not a big deal) and it’s wasteful; and it’s aluminum, which is not a good combo with food and health, even in the smallest amounts. If you want to use aluminum, you can first wrap your potato with parchment paper followed by aluminum or bake in a covered glass dish. :)

  1. Joshua Sloan says

    nice! any thoughts on twice-baked potato stuffing?

    (vegangirl44 – i’ve heard people say that aluminum foil can cause aluminum to leach into the food and that you should wrap in parchment paper or the like before wrapping in aluminum.)

    • says

      Hi Joshua, no thoughts on twice baked potato stuffing, but maybe Google it. Sounds good! I’ve never even heard of potato stuffing! I need to get out more. 😉

  2. says

    I always ask for a baked potato and a side of steamed veggies in restaurants like “Swiss Chalet” and they are always puzzled when I order JUST THAT! No sour cream, no butter…

  3. says

    Brilliant ideas! I usually buy a big sack of potatoes because they’re so much cheaper than individual Russets, then wonder what to do with all of them. I eat virtually everything else with hummus; I don’t know why potatoes never occurred to me. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Emily says

    The chickpeas, avocado and basil look divine! I’m definitely going to try that combo.
    Thanks for the great ideas.

  5. says

    Since I live in Southern California, most restaurants have a simple in-house salsa, so I’ll order that atop a baked potato, alongside a salad with a simple drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette or a squeeze of lemon juice. Yum!

  6. says

    Favorite topping- cooked yams,black beans, sauteed muchrooms, guacamole,salsa, cilantro(fresh), raw red onions diced, small amount of shredded cabbage, lime juice. And my homemade salsa is hot.

  7. Andrea R says

    I made the sauce last night and really loved it. I added a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast for a cheezy broccoli sauce. Question though… made A LOT. More than I will be able to use by myself on potatoes. Does it freeze well? Have you used it for anything else? I was thinking scalloped potatoes…not like I have ever made anything like that before, but I just don’t want it to go to waste! Also, for additional toppings I water sautéed cherry tomatoes, frozen Kale and chickpeas with some lemon. The whole thing together was really really yummy!! And some broccoli on the side (A pregnant girl has got to eat! 😉 )

    • says

      Hi Andrea, I don’t think this would freeze very well. I would just cut the recipe in half if you are just making enough for 1 or 2 meals. The 2 cups this makes is more geared toward 4 potatoes or servings. Sounds great with your additions! :)

  8. Maggie K says

    Great ideas for baked potato toppers. One of my favorite veggies. However in the directions you downplay the importance of piercing the skin prior to baking. Apparently you have not experienced cleaning the oven after a potato explosion.

    • says

      Hi Maggie, I always put them on a baking tray or glass dish first. I tried poking vs. not poking and didn’t notice a big difference in what oozed out or it puffing up. Never had one explode; that would be interesting! 😉

  9. says

    Hi Cathy,

    I finally made baked potatoes last night and it was great! It really never occurred to me that there is a healthy variant that would taste great without butter or cheese… I made it with chili and my non-veg partner went back into the kitchen for a second serving :) Thank you for broadening my horizon!

  10. jesness says

    wow! me and my mom who is diabetic, want to try eating healthier. this looks amazing! thanks!

  11. says

    Wow!! The broccoli sauce is unbelievably creamy!! I used chives as I had no onion powder, and had mine with sweet potato and spinach :). If I make it for my partner, he’ll no doubt add 2 T of nutritional yeast – he’s not vegan ((yet..)) and loves cheese!!

  12. Simonne says

    My husband and I are so happy we don’t gave to stop eating baked potatoes; they are so easy and delicious. He had a heart attack a couple months ago (he’s only 34), so obviously bacon bits, sour cream, and butter are out. I can’t believe I never thought of salsa on baked potatoes! Yum!

  13. Debbie says

    I love mustard and love it on my baked potatoes! So yummy, has no fat and really gives it a nice kick. My fav is Dijon. Most restaurants have mustard, but not all have salsa which I also love. Thanks Cathy for all you do! I just finished dr. Campbell’s certification course through eCornel on plant based nutrition.

  14. Diane says

    I like to make a vegan cheezy sauce and top baked potato with steamed broccoli florets and drizzle some cheezy jalapeno sauce over the broccoli and potato. I could eat this several times a week. It is delicious.

  15. Vicky says

    Hi. Looks fantastic, I’m going to make some salsa right now to have on hand for my next baked potato.

    On the parchment paper: I always thought it would be a good substitute, especially the non-bleached variety, but recently found out that it’s coated with either silicone (not silicon) or quilon. I don’t want either of those in my food. It’s probably no better than the foil against the food. Without wrap in a glass baking dish is my choice.

    • SUZANNE says

      There is really no need of using anything to wrap your tater in. Just use a fork to stick a few holes in the top, stick it in the oven and roast it.

  16. Jill says

    These are great ideas for when you have to go out to eat at a steakhouse, and you ask for plant-based, no dairy items and get a blank stare. I’ve suggested baked potatoes with your toppings above and have been pleasantly surprised by the chefs!

  17. says

    A Southern Italian tradition in our family was to eat Fava beans and mashed potatoes every Friday, but the beans were actually mashed WITH the potatoes – not served on the side. (Which resulted in the mashed potatoes having a yellowish tint.) We topped the ‘combined mash’ w/steamed greens (usually chicory) and then topped the greens with red onions mixed in a balsamic vinaigrette. . The original recipe (here is a similar one I found: includes olive oil, but as a McDougaller who uses no oil, I omit this. I have found when I omit it, it tastes exactly the same. If I need it a little smoother, I will add unsweetened non-dairy milk or vegetable broth. Works like a charm. 😉

  18. Jenn says

    Baked potatoes are a “go-to” favorite of mine. Thank You for the inspired toppings. I’m making the broccoli sauce right now! Another easy way to *bake* potatoes, is to put them into a dry crock pot on low all day. Great for Mom’s on the run!!

  19. Ralph Bach says

    Made the broccoli sauce for baked potatoes, and addition to the onion and garlic, I included Italian Seasoning, Rosemary, Cayenne Pepper, and a bit of Sourthwest Chipotle blend. When my sodium-free salt arrives, that bring all the flavors together more.

  20. Sarah deGrood says

    I sauté a chopped onion and a box of mushrooms in a bit of broth. Then add a dash of balsamic and some thyme. It is heavenly on baked potatoes. It is also good as a pizza topping.

    A simple potato topping is lemon juice.

  21. celia says

    If you ever publish a book with photos accompanying EVERY recipes (like non-vegan/vegetarian cook books do), let me know! I’ll buy it! And I am sure many meat-eaters would too when they see how good vegan meals look and taste good as well!

    At our daughter’s wedding we had mainly vegan dishes and even the meat-eaters got stuck into the vegan dishes first and commented how nice they LOOKED and tasted. Most people eat with their eyes first and I believe the reason non-vegan cookbooks sell so well is because there are many good looking photos to go with the recipes. The photos on this website really look yummy enough for publishing in a book. Thanks for sharing! :)

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