If you were to ask my friends what my favorite food is, they would tell you potatoes. I’ve earned a bit of a reputation as a potato fiend, not least of all because of my impressive ability to eat mountains of tater tots. I make homemade French fries once a week at the moment. I’ve been known to microwave a potato, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and call that dinner. But I’ve also spent two hours making a beautiful shepherd’s pie with all of the bells and whistles. Basically, I love potatoes for any occasion and I never get tired of cooking or eating them*. Case in point: I just recently discovered a brand new potato technique, which I used to make these loaded smashed potatoes.
*This lack of potato fatigue comes in handy when French fries are the only vegan option at restaurants.
To make ‘smashed’ potatoes, smallish potatoes are boiled until tender, smashed to flatten, and then baked at a high heat until crispy on the outside and fluffy in the center. And like most things potato (not that I’m biased) it’s incredibly delicious.
If you’re looking for something more than just delicious, turn them into loaded smashed potatoes! These are basically a twist on loaded baked potatoes with the fixin’s. I topped each smashed potato with tangy cashew cream instead of the typical dairy sour cream, liberal amounts of chopped green onion (chives are also great), and (I saved the best for last here) crumbled rice paper bacon. If you haven’t tried the rice paper bacon yet, I’ll wait here for 30 minutes while you go make it. You won’t regret it!
If for some reason the RPB isn’t to your preferences then substitute something else salty with a little crunch, or just omit it. For the batch of loaded smashed potatoes pictured here, I ate all of the extra rice paper bacon before I got to the leftover potatoes, so I ate them with cashew cream and ketchup… that’s my potato game. Customize these and make them your own! They’re great with whatever you’d normally put on a baked potato, but wrapped into cute little handheld morsels.
I hope you give these vegan loaded smashed potatoes a try! And by the way, I love recipe requests. Is there a favorite potato dish that you’d like to see shared on my blog? Let me know! I’m willing to make the sacrifice of being a potato recipe tester 😀
- 24 oz. yellow baby potatoes or other small, thin-skinned potatoes
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- cashew cream (recipe below)
- a few strips of rice paper bacon, crumbled into small pieces
- 2 to 3 green onions or scallions, both green and white parts, thinly sliced (or use 1 bunch of chopped chives)
- 1 and ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 8 hours, drained
- ¾ cup water
- 2 and ½ tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- scant ½ teaspoon salt
- (optional) 1 to 2 tablespoons plain, unsweetened nondairy yogurt
- Add the potatoes whole to a saucepan, and fill with enough water to cover by an inch or two. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15-20 minutes, until completely tender. Rinse and drain the potatoes, and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a metal baking sheet.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, place them on the baking sheet. Use a large fork, a heavy glass, or another object of choice to carefully but firmly "smash" each potato to flatten it. Brush each smashed potato generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until crispy and browned. Rotate the pan halfway through if your oven tends to cook things unevenly (mine does!).
- Top each smashed potato with a big dollop of cashew cream, then sprinkle with sliced green onions and crumbled rice paper bacon. (Or other loaded baked potato toppings of your choice!). Serve hot.
- In a blender, combine all ingredients until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if needed. If you don't have a high speed blender, it can take a few minutes for the cashews to break down and release their natural oils, resulting in a smooth texture (kind of like making peanut butter), so be patient. Because the cashews have been soaked, if you can't get the cashew cream perfectly smooth, it will still be pleasant to eat.
- Adjust seasoning as needed and set aside. Extra cashew cream can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
More potato love from my blog: