Thursday, March 30, 2006

Vegan Potato Skins

When I was in university, my honny (now hubby!) and I used to love getting potato skins at restaurants. They were everywhere then, so popular (maybe they still are...?), full of cheese and sour cream and piquant fillings like olives. Well, they were quite heavy back then with all that dairy and, at times, bacon (ewww, cringe)!

But, we still love taters in all kinds of ways in our house. As I mentioned before, I like to call hubby...

(except he doesn't have a moustache...) Sorry again hon! Hee!

Anyhow, I often bake potatoes whole as the quickest kind of a potato side dish. When there are leftovers (not often!), I can scoop out some of the potato flesh and make nummy potato skins! Here are the potato skins before topping them with vegan cheese. I've added in sliced green onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and green olives. Very simple. Then, top with some grated cheese and bake at about 400 until they cheese is melted and the skins are looking a little crispy.

Now, what to do with the potato flesh you've scooped out???

Well, my girls love mashed potatoes (don't most kids?), so I simply give them a quick mash with sea salt, and little non-dairy milk, and either some olive oil or earth balance margarine - and sometimes a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. If you want, you can use this mash to put back in the potato skins and still add the savory toppings. They will be more filling that way, perhaps being more of a 'main course'!

Try it and enjoy!!

25 comments:

Jo said...

Hi there!

Though I'm not a vegan or a vegetarian, I wanted to say how inspiring I find your blog. You really are breaking down the stereotypes regarding vegan/vegetarian diets. I'm hoping that by using resources like your blog and others similar to it I can try once again to go vegetarian and possibly vegan in the future.

Since this is pretty new to me I have 2 quick questions for you, what kind of vegan cheese do you like the best? I bought it once and it smelled and tasted horrible so I turned to rice cheese. Also, how do you use nutritional yeast and is there a particular brand you really like?

Thanks in advance!

Mal said...

Mmmmmmmm! *licks lips* I love potatoes! I'll have to try this sometime.

Dreena said...

Hi Jo! Well, that is just a huge compliment to me - thank you. I do think that vegans have, unfortunately, a very definite stereotype. It can intimidate and alienate people I think that feel more mainstream and so don't think they can 'fit in' with this diet. There are lots of vegans that don't 'appear' vegan. I don't think people ever guess that I'm veggie because I look like most other people out there, you know? So, I appreciate that you find my blog inspiring, not feeding into the stereotype, and that you are considering going veg again - that is most certainly rewarding for me! So, for the cheeses, right now I am able to buy two kinds of block vegan cheese. The first is VeganRella which is rice-based. I like it for that reason, because if I am having other forms of soy during the day I don't feel like I am overdosing on soy if I add some VeganRella! When it melts it is sticky. Very sticky. We like it, but we don't view it as being the cheese we used to eat. We just like it for being a melty, rich kind of topping for nachos or something like these potato skins. We don't eat it cold, but my daughters both like it cold, so it's all what you like. The other block cheese that I can get is the "Follow Your Heart" brand. This is a soy-based cheese, and again, we only eat this melted. It melts better than veganrella in that it isn't 'sticky' - but it takes a little longer to melt imo than expected. This cheese (again, imo) is not very good cold. It has a funny texture because I think it's meant to be melted! For the nutritional yeast, I buy the 'red-star' brand which is the common variety found in health food stores and it contains b12 as well as other b vitamins (I'm pretty sure). Lately I have been sprinkling it on breads that I have put some olive oil or Earth Balance margarine on and then toasted to have with soups - very good! My hubby doesn't like nutritional yeast that much, so I don't use it often in sauces for meals. My daughter likes it sprinkled on pastas and hot popcorn too! A lot of "cheese" sauces on vegan website typically use nutritional yeast. I hope this helps, ask anything else if needed... thanks again and good luck with going veg! :)

Thanks, Mal! You like yams/sweet potatoes a lot too, right? We go through lots of spuds in our house, and I'm thinking of a stuffed yam/sweet potato of some kind - would be yummy!

EatPeacePlease said...

No way! This is amazing Dreena.

Sweet Pea said...

Dreena, I wish I had read this earlier today. I bought a block of Vegan Gourmet (by Follow Your Heart) mozzarella "cheese". Oh my! I only had a small slice and I nearly hurled. I was planning on makeing a "grilled cheese" for lunch so it not going to be eaten cold but I didn't think it would taste different hot or cold. I should have given it a chance.
I have tried the Rice slices and they're excellent on burgers. I think I'll have those again since the Vegan Gourment left a bad taste in my mouth.
Live and learn...
Quick question...when did you and hubby become vegans and why (in a nutshell)?

Vicki said...

Scooping out the potato & adding ingredients & refilling the skin is what we call "twice-baked" potatoes. From a specTATER's point of view, you'd be right at home in Idaho (the potato capital) Yours look delicious!

Julie said...

Oh my, I also looove potatoes! These look great-they would be great for a party!

krispycheks said...

Ooh, those would make some great appetizers! I'm going to have a dinner party soon, I'll have to remember this!

Danielle said...

I love potatoes too. Wonder if you could pour the Road's End Chreese sauce over them? I should try doing vegan potato skins sometime. Nummy.

Chloe said...

they look lovely Dreena! Easy, healthy, tasty! Those girls of yours are lucky.

sarchan said...

I'll definitely be trying this out some time :)

Dreena said...

Thanks (again) Leslie! :)

Hi sweet pea... oh dear, poor you!! That cheese is kind of nasty when cold... just not a good texture and not *a lot* of flavor - and it's kind of wet - ? Do try it again grated and melted onto a pizza or burrito, or in your grilled cheese. Funny - well, not at the time I'm sure. About your q', hubby and I became veggie kind of gradually. I talk about it some in TEV (as well as why I wrote TEV, after my father-in-law had a heart attack and they became vegan). Anyhow, I gave up red meat in my late teens, then after reading more I gave up chicken and a little later fish. One of the books that had a big impact on me at the time was "Fit for Life", and then later Diet For a New America. We read more about giving up dairy and eggs - and I was very skeptical, because I thought for sure, like most of us, that I 'needed' the milk for the calcium - how else could I get it? Well, both my husband and I experimented and eliminated the dairy for about a month. We never felt better!! In my early 20's I had serious joint stiffness and pain, a couple of episodes of gout in my toe (weird at that age), and my hubby always had throat infections and some asthma trouble. We got rid of the dairy, and got rid of these troubles. Sure we still get a cold here and there - but my husband hasn't had those throat infections since, and really I couldn't believe how much better I felt getting dairy out of my diet (and I was a dairy girl - yogurt, frozen yogurt, cheeses and cream sauces - loved it all and ate it quite a bit - esp frozen yogurt and yogurt). We've been vegan now I think for 12 years!

Dreena said...

ahhh, very funny Vicki! :) I think if hubby ever got to Idaho we woudn't leave! ha!

Thanks Julie and krispycheks... very easy too. Best to completely cool the potatoes before scooping out the flesh though - or ouch! But, yes, a fast (and cheap) party food!

Hi Danielle... I haven't had the Road's End Chreese - I will have to try it myself! But if you do and it's good, let me know - I used to love (sorry everyone) Wendy's baked potato with the cheese sauce - just because I love sauces... period! So, I would always get extra cheese sauce for my potatoes (well, actually I always sent my honny to get it for me, he really enjoyed that - not!)Anyhow, thanks for the tip, I don't know if I can get that sauce here but I'll be on the lookout!

Thanks Chloe - I think my girls are lucky to be eating home-cooked and healthy food too!! So many kids eat out of boxes and bags, so sad really. One day they'll realize it and thank me dearly - *right*???!! :)

Hi Sarchan... thanks! :)

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Oh, I used to love eating potato skins too--thanks for the reminder, I'l have to try them again.

Harmonia said...

These look amazing!!!

I wonder if I could use Coconut Milk inplace of soy milk for the mashed potatoes - what do you think?

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

This post delights me! I was talking to my boyfriend about how I wanted to make vegan potato skins and rock the vegan community, but you beat me to it! haha, no hard feeling of course. ; )
I saw it mentioned on the ppk boards a day or two ago as well, apparently spring is potato skins time. I'm definitely going to be using these ideas for a party soon, thank you! I love that you didn't just make 'traditional' ones but took it a step further.

Starla said...

Follow Your Heart Cheese is my all time favorite for using in casseroles and pizza. I love both the cheddar and mozzarella styles. Of course, I've been a vegan for 10 years so I'm only used to non-dairy cheeses.

Dreena said...

Hi Amy... I know, it is a very fond memory for hubby and I from our university days!

Harmonia, absolutely! Use what you like... you wouldn't even need *that* much coconut milk, just enough to moisten them. You could use water too, but the milk makes them creamier, mmmm!

Well, thanks Jess! So, am I rockin' the vegan blogdom with this potato post...?...hmmm, I dunno, but I'll live vicariously through the notion for a little while! :)

Hi Starla, yeah, for melting I think Follow Your Heart is the best, because Veganrella can get very sticky and runny at times. If veganrella is melted *just right*, and not too long, I like it, but sometimes it will take on the moisture of the other ingredients on a pizza or otherwise and just get runny - yuck! Bob and Jenna were talking about a vegan cheese from the UK on the vegan freak podcast this week (don't remember the brand). That would be interesting to try!

Anonymous said...

So funny that today's topic is cheese because I just bought my first vegan cheese today... Dreena, I was also a total dairy girl before giving up wheat and dairy two years ago and sometimes I do miss cheese! Especially since being pregnant. But my favorite vegan restaurant made these awesome burritos this week -corn tortillas with refried beans and "cheese" melted. So i bought all the ingredients at whole foods and they turned out well. I used the Vegan Gourmet Cheddar. Sweet Pea, it definitely doesn't look appetizing cold!

-Michelle

Harmonia said...

Awesomeness! Thanks Dreena!

Dreena said...

Hi Michelle... interesting story, thanks for contributing! Are you still off wheat as well? An allergy for you I guess...? I don't miss cheese but my family (and I) do enjoy the occasional casserole with some melted cheese. At times, though, I have done a casserole and left half without the cheese, and hubby and I agree that we prefer it on its own - that the cheese takes away from the flavors in the dish. I guess that's just how your tastebuds develop after some time though, not 'wanting' the cheese and other dairy foods as much!

Anonymous said...

Dreena, I definitely agree with you. I no longer miss bread or cheese, and I better appreciate the flavours of fruits, vegetables and gluten free grains. But in the first trimester of my pregnancy I was nauseous and it was so hard to eat veggies and my usual foods! I wanted toast or some of my old comfort foods. I definitely don't feel like I need cheese, but having some melted into a burrito was so fun, and I think it could add to some dishes (like your potato skins).

I love all your ideas, and the comments from other posters here.

-michelle

Dreena said...

Thanks, Harmonia!

Ohhh, Michelle... how I relate to you! I had terrible nausea with my pregnancies. Second time around it was almost debilitating, I was constantly bringing up food and sick ALL day - not just morning. I walked around with salt and vinegar chips and kept them in my car, and for a while it was ketchup chips - something I hadn't had since I was about 16, and didn't care to have - until, I was prego! Oh yes, there is something to needing the comforting foods of our youth. And I could not STAND raw veggies, or salads or many cooked veg when I was nauseous. It was white carbs all the way (and I rarely eat that stuff). White pasta, white bread, "add boling water to noodles and mix". That kind of stuff - I couldn't believe what I was eating. That and fruit (only certain fruit) was all I ate for weeks and weeks - oh, and salt and vinegar chips!! I was so happy to get past that and ENJOY food again!

Jane M said...

Oh the potatoe skins look so yummy! I love potatoes...so many great ways to fix them.

Shane said...

They do look fantastic.
I have done this sort of thing with potatoes many times over the years. Mostly I scoop out the potato, add lots of assorted chopped veggies and some nutritional yeast and pile back in the shell and reheat.
Works well with sweet potatoes too.
I have never tried just using the skins but I sure will now
Thanks