These are the ultimate, low-fat comfort potatoes: hot, fluffy, and fun to eat. While these take a little patience while baking, they require few ingredients and make fabulous leftovers.
4 large russet potatoes, washed, skins-on
15 fresh basil leaves
4 large chard leaves, end stems trimmed, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup non-dairy milk or water
Pine nuts or scallions to garnish (optional)
1. Cook potatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke your washed potatoes with a knife a few times each. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 60 minutes, until easily pierced to the center with a knife (you do not need to wrap them in foil).
2. Prepare potatoes: Remove the potatoes and let cool on a counter or cutting board for at least 10 minutes; then cut in half lengthwise (using a napkin to hold them if still too hot) and with a soup spoon, gently scoop out the potato flesh into a large bowl, leaving a thin layer of potato intact closest to the skin (to help the potato shell maintain its shape).
3. Make pesto: Place the basil leaves, chard, minced garlic and non-dairy milk or water into your processor and blend until smooth. Add this to the bowl of potatoes, and mix with a fork, whisk or electric blender until fluffy and mixed through (do not use your food processor, as it over-mixes it and creates a creamy texture instead of a fluffy one). Add water or milk as needed.
4. Fill and cook potatoes: Spoon the potato mixture into the potato skins, making sure that they are evenly filled among the 8 halves. If you wish, you can glide a fork over the top to give a textured leaf effect. Place potatoes back on your baking sheet and cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned on the tips. Serve with a sprinkling of pine nuts, and/or chopped scallions or tomatoes.
Cathy Fisher has become a featured recipe expert for the NHA and is the creator of StraightUpFood.com, a blog that offers recipes and information on how to eat a health promoting, plant-based (vegan) diet. Cathy’s education and experience are grounded in her work with the McDougall Program (2006-present) and True North Health Center (2010-present), where she regularly teaches cooking classes to in-patient clients. Cathy graduated with her BA in Psychology, going on the earn a credential in Early Childhood Education and a certification in Nutrition Education. Cathy enjoys presenting to groups and giving people the practical skills they need to successfully shift to a healthier diet.