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  • The Chopping Blog

Baked Potatoes: A Clean Slate for a Healthy Meal

Posted by Andrea on Mar 29, 2024


Potatoes have gotten less love lately as we have gone crazy swapping carbs for cauliflower. I'm guilty of it too, but have you tasted my Buddha bowl with cauliflower rice? You won't miss the carbs! However, baked potatoes can play a part in a healthy diet. They are the ultimate comfort food, are readily available all year round, are inexpensive, and you can literally top them with whatever you like.

I got the idea for this post from my trainer who one day mentioned in our workout that she was having a "big old baked potato" for dinner. I don't know about you, but the mention of a baked potato conjures images of lots of melted cheddar cheese, butter, bacon, chives and sour cream. How could that possibly be healthy? Well, it's not. But that typical way of serving potatoes loaded isn't the only way potatoes can play. 

Potatoes boast a wealth of vitamin C, essential for bolstering your immune system, and potassium, vital for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. They also provide a significant amount of fiber, particularly when consumed with the skin intact. According to nutrition sources at EatingWell, increasing fiber intake aids in weight loss and maintenance. 

Russet potatoes are very filling, and one potato has just 168 calories. So, if you are careful about the toppings, a baked potato dinner even when served with a salad or vegetable side dish is a very low caloric meal. 

That got my wheels turning on how many different ways I could make healthy baked potatoes. Here are the results of my experiment over the past few months. 

First, we need to talk about how to bake the potato itself. I love a crispy potato skin, so I always lightly coat the outside of my washed russet potato that has also been pricked with a knife a few times with olive oil.

Potato with salt and olive oil Then, I coat the outside with coarse sea salt and bake at 375 degrees F for about an hour or until a knife can easily be inserted through the potato.

Oiled and salted potatoI put the potato directly on the oven rack so the skin is exposed on all sides, but don't forget to put a pan under the potato to catch any oil or salt that drips off. That will save you from having to clean up a mess at the bottom of your oven!

Potato in ovenOnce the potato is done, slice it in half lengthwise and be sure to add salt and pepper to the potato flesh or it will be bland, no matter how flavorful your toppings are. 

Mushroom and Spinach Potato

This was my first one, and it was so good! Top your baked potato with sliced mushrooms and spinach sautéed in olive oil. Top with 2 Tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. 

Mushroom Spinach Potato


Mexican Baked Potato

A Mexican version includes sautéed black beans, canned corn, Rotel tomatoes and topped with avocado. It was like eating a Mexican meal but without the calories of chips and salsa. This one is a keeper!

Mexican Baked Potato


Chili Potato

A baked potato topped with chili isn't really anything new, but my version is way better than Hormel. I used my champion chili recipe but substituted ground turkey for the pork to reduce calories. This chili is so flavorful the protein really doesn't matter. I topped the chili potato with a little queso fresco cheese and sliced scallions. 

Chili Potato


Bolognese Potato

I substituted ground turkey once again when I made a Bolognese sauce to top this potato and then finished with a little grated Parmesan cheese. 

Bolognese Potato


Greek Baked Potato

This one could possibly be my favorite of the bunch, but I really, really, really love Greek food. I made a homemade Tzatziki sauce to pour on the potato and topped with tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, and feta cheese as well as some canned chickpeas I toasted chickpeas in a little olive oil with oregano from Greece.

Greek potato


Broccoli and Lightened Alfredo Potato

Broccoli and cheese is often used as a potato topping, but I wanted something a little more interesting than the typical broccoli and cheddar cheese pairing. I used Chef Sara Salzinski's Almost Fat-Free Alfredo Sauce with steamed broccoli and wow, it did not disappoint. It was like having a big plate of pasta but fewer calories!

Broccoli and Alfredo Sauce Potato


Pulled Chicken Baked Potato

I'm a big fan of making pulled pork in my Instant Pot because it is so quick, it can easily be a weeknight dinner. Lighten it up for your potato by using chicken instead and then top with a little cheddar cheese and red onion. It was fast, easy and delicious barbeque on a potato!  

pulled chicken potato


Pizza Baked Potato

This was another fun one, and one I think the whole family (kids too) will love. Top your baked potato with warm marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and onion, bell pepper and turkey pepperoni. I lightly sautéed the onions and bell peppers to soften them then added the turkey pepperoni to the pan to crisp it up a bit. You could obviously use any pizza toppings that you like for this one!

Pizza PotatoIn all of these cases, I simply thought of the potato as a starch the same way you'd think of bread, rice or pasta. Then, get creative with your toppings and keep them healthy-ish! 

If you want to expand your potato horizons and learn new dishes with spuds, check out these upcoming classes: 

We also spent a good bit of day 4 of our Culinary Boot Camp discussing potatoes, along with grains, eggs and vegetables. This five-day intensive class is the ultimate course for any home cook who wants to get more comfortable in the kitchen! 

Learn More about Culinary Boot Camp 


Topics: potato, healthy, healthy cooking, Chili, healthy eating, barbeque, pizza, Greek, barbecue, alfredo sauce, alfredo, baked potato, russet potato

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