When I hear the words "Loaded Baked Potato,” my knee-jerk reaction is to think of a steaming hot potato, just out of the oven, oozing with slowly melting cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, topped with spoonfuls of sour cream and Bac'n Pieces. Of course, there are vegan versions of such a gluttonously unhealthy baked potato. Cow’s milk cheese can be replaced with a vegan cheese substitute. Sour cream can be replaced with a vegan sour cream or cashew cream alternative. And of course, Bac'n Pieces can simply remain—because, of course, they’re vegan. No, really, they are. And trust me, I was just as shocked as you might be right now when I found out that Bac'n Pieces were actually vegan. Yea, I’m not too sure I want to know what they’re actually made of anyhow.
But, if you're feeling like going down the healthier, but equally as scrumptious, road, you can make these loaded baked potatoes. They are not only vegan, but they are very clean as well. They aren’t loaded with the “traditional” cheeses, bacon and sour cream (or their vegan substitutes). Instead, they are loaded with healthy fillings made from beans and avocados. Both the bean puree and mashed avocado add such a richness and creaminess to the potatoes and both are so full of fresh flavors that there is no satisfaction lost in their healthiness—in fact, both fillings are so delicious that they can be eaten on their own.
- 2 large Russet potatoes
- 1 15 ounce can of cannellini beans
- Juice of ¾ of a lemon
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 avocado
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (reserve some for garnish)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, wash and dry potatoes. Poke potatoes with a fork all around to allow moisture to escape while baking. Once oven has reached its temperature, place potatoes on the center oven rack with a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack beneath it to catch any drippings. Bake potatoes for about 50 to 60 minutes, until they are soft—squeeze the potatoes with tongs to see if they are soft.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare cannellini puree and guacamole.
- For the cannellini puree: Drain, rinse and dry cannellini beans. Place the cannellini beans in a blender or food processor. Add to the beans the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of olive oil, ½ a teaspoon of cumin and a couple dashes of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
- For the guacamole: Mash an avocado with a fork. Add to the avocado the scallions, garlic, juice of ¼ a lemon, ½ a teaspoon of cumin and a couple dashes of salt and pepper, to taste.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, allow them to rest and cool for a few minutes before handling. When cool enough to handle, slice the potatoes down the middle lengthwise and stuff them with as much of each filling as you can. Garnish with scallions slices.* Enjoy!
*Time for tots: Allow your toddler to get involved by spooning the fillings into the potatoes and garnishing with scallion slices.