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!
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?
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.)
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.
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