Potatoes have a bad rap as an "unhealthy" food -- probably because they're often fried or saturated with butter and oil. But the truth is potatoes absolutely can be part of your healthy plant-based diet. They're nutrient-dense and even promote weight loss! Plus, potatoes are a great plant-based pantry staple to have on hand right now because they last a long time when store correctly and they are extremely versatile -- here are 12 of our favorite ways to use the humble spud.
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Potatoes didn't always have a bad rap. First cultivated by the Inca Indians in Peru around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C., the potato is the original "superfood." For decades this nutritional powerhouse (100 calories, very little fat, and an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C) was one of the most reliable sources of caloric energy.
Potatoes contain more starch than most vegetables. Starch consists of molecules of a simple sugar, glucose, which our cells use as fuel with very little processing from our bodies. In a sense, it goes right to the bloodstream, and the blood sugar spike prompts the pancreas to release insulin, which enables our body to either use or store that sugar.
The "Potatoes are Bad" theory is that the quick spike in blood sugar and the insulin reaction leaves people hungry faster which could then lead to overeating.
An Australian study put this theory to a test and fed people potatoes then asked them how full they were a couple hours later, and tracked what they ate at the next meal. The outcome: potatoes seem to be satisfying and do not create a hunger spike. Although not without flaws, this study did have a controlled monitored environment.
When not served fried oil and butter or servedw ith lots of salt, potatoes can help you lose weight. This study found that if people ate potatoes (5-7 servings a week) in healthy recipes, they actually lost weight.
It's not the potatoes that are unhealthy, it's how we're preparing them! The nutritional profile of potatoes speaks for itself...
Potatoes are high in immunity-boosting Vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant
Potatoes contain most B vitamins
Potatoes are high in potassium
Potatoes have a considerable amount of fiber, 2.5 g per serving
My favorite thing about potatoes? You can do almost anything with them! Here are 12 healthy and easy plant-based ways to use your average russet potato.
1. Oil-free french fries
Slice a russet potato into french fry sized slices and roast on a baking sheet with parchment paper on 400 until crispy, about 35-40 minutes. Flip halfway. Toss in sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
Spice up this recipe and make vegan nacho fries instead!
2. Healthy vegan baked potato
Microwave a russet potato on the “potato setting” or bake in the oven.
Oven: Preheat oven to 425, place potato on tin foil or parchment paper and bake for 40-50 minutes, flipped about halfway through.
How to top your plant-based baked potato:
Skip the sour cream and butter and go for a healthier dairy-free topping instead. Load up with Mac Sauce or top with MamaSezz Vegan Sour Cream and top with scallions. Here are 8 more of our favorite ways to top your vegan baked potato.
3. Garlic vegan mashed potatoes
Boil potatoes and mash with unsweetened non-dairy milk, sea salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.
Pro tip: Mix in MamaSezz Mac Sauce to make it extra creamy
4. Oil-free home fries
A classic breakfast dish for the whole family. Grab the recipe for oil-free home fries here.
5. Potato-thickened vegan gravy
Use blended potatoes to thicken your vegan gravy! Peel potatoes, boil them, and then blend with unsweetened non-dairy milk until smooth. Add a cup or two of your potato/milk mixture to your vegan gravy. Try this technique on the vegan gravy recipes below.
6. Potato-thickened soups
Use blended potatoes to thicken your soups too! Peel potatoes, boil them and then blend with unsweetened non-dairy milk until smooth. Add a few cups to your soup, or use it as the main flavor. Try it with the immunity-boosting Healing Winter Soup recipe or make this creamy delicious vegan Potato Leek Soup.
6. Layer potatoes in your vegan lasagna
Peel and slice potatoes into thin disks. Roast on parchment paper in the oven on 400 for 10-20 minutes, or until potatoes become soft. Layer them into your favorite vegan lasagna recipe. We love these this vegan mushroom tetrazzini and this oil-free vegan lasagna.
7. Potato Salad
8. Potato pizza
Try this gluten-free pizza crust recipe topped with MamaSezz Mac Sauce, thinly sliced roasted potatoes, peas, and MamaSezz Walnut Taco Meat. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, then sprinkle with freshly chopped scallions.
9. Baked Potato Slices in a Sandwich
Between two slices of whole grain bread, spread Mama’s Mac Sauce, place a slice of tomato, and then layer with roasted potato slices. Bake or panini press the sandwich and enjoy.
10. Boil, Smash, and Bake
Boil or microwave potatoes until soft. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and smash down with a spatula. Broil on high until the potato begins to crisp. Remove from the oven and top with garlic powder.
11. Vegan potato skins
Boil or microwave russet potatoes until soft. Scoop out insides of the potato, and roast or broil the skins until crispy. Fill with MamaSezz Sour Cream and scallions or try Mac Sauce, Mama’s Millie Chili, and Walnut Taco Meat.
12. Air fryer tater tots
Boil, strain, and mash potatoes. Pack into a baking dish and refrigerate overnight. Slice into cubes in the morning, spice and place in your air fryer until crispy. You can also do this with MamaSezz Cajun Mashed Potatoes.
BONUS: Use potatoes to remove dark under eye circles
Place half-moon slices of raw potatoes underneath your eyes for 10-15 minutes daily to brigthen those dark circles.
- Potatoes aren't unhealthy! The add-ins can be: if we eat potatoes with lots of butter, salt, oil, and cheese then we can negate their health benefits
- Potatoes are loaded with Vitamin C, most B vitamins, potassium, fiber, and more.
- Potatoes absolutely can be part of a healthy plant-based diet!
- We love to enjoy potatoes in plenty of plant-based recipes from pizza to lasagna to soups, and more!
- You can even use potatoes to reduce dark under eye circles!
By Caroline DiNicola Fawley
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.