Who doesn’t love a baked potato? This delicious, filling vegetable is an amazing vessel for all kinds of unique toppings that add flavor and nutritional complexity. However, classic baked potato toppings like butter, cheese, sour cream, or bacon typically turn this humble veggie into a calorie and cholesterol bomb. But no need to worry! By using incredible vegan toppings on your baked potato, you’ll get a scrumptious and satisfying meal! This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know to make the best vegan baked potato of your life, including:
- How to bake a potato perfectly
- Just how healthy baked potatoes are
- All the amazing vegan baked potato toppings you can try
Let’s get into it and find you the perfect spud!
Table of Contents
- How to Bake the Perfect Potato
- Baking Methods
- The Health Benefits of Baked Potatoes
- Mouth-Watering Vegan Toppings for Baked Potatoes
- Classic toppings with a vegan twist
- International flavors
- Creative combinations
- The Recap
How to Bake the Perfect Potato
Choosing the right potato variety
The first step in baking the perfect potato? Pick the right kind! Russet potatoes (or Idaho potatoes) are the go-to for those looking to make a classic baked potato.
Firstly, they’re large: you want as much surface area as possible to stuff full of toppings. Secondly, their neutral flavor is super versatile – allowing you to experiment with your topping choice. Finally, russet potatoes have a high starch content (and a low moisture content), making them perfect for baking as they stay fluffy inside.
Other potatoes work great as well, though! If you’re going for a more pared-down topping combo, try using a Yukon Gold as your base. Their naturally buttery and slightly sweet flavor makes for an excellent base even on its own, so it’s sure to amplify your dish.
The sweet potato is a perfect choice if you want something even sweeter! It pairs well with a surprising range of flavors and is also healthier than other potato options due to its high fiber and vitamin content.
Preparing the Potato
- Cleaning – Once you’ve picked your spud, it’s time to get cooking! The first step is to give your potato a thorough wash under running water. For russet potatoes, make sure to give them a good scrub to remove dirt and eyes – especially if you plan on eating the skin. Eating the potato skin is good for you too! For potatoes like Yukon gold with thinner skins, go a little gentler to avoid scrubbing it off.
- Poking – Make sure to poke some holes in your potato before cooking it! If you forget this step, you could end up with an exploded spud to clean up! Aside from this, allowing the steam to escape leads to a fluffy potato instead of a gummy one and helps them to cook faster.
There are a few different ways to cook your potato!
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C)
2. Rub the potato with a bit of oil and sprinkle with salt (or other spice mixes!)
3. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
1. Wrap the potato in a damp paper towel
2. Microwave on high for 5-10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
1. Wrap the potato in aluminum foil
2. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
Testing for Doneness
How do you know when it’s ready? The potato should be soft when squeezed gently, and a fork should easily pierce the skin. Steam escaping the potato will be extremely hot, so proceed with caution!
The Health Benefits of Baked Potatoes
Potatoes are super high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, as well as containing lots of magnesium and vitamin B6 – making them a great everyday option!
Low in Calories
A medium-sized baked potato only contains around 160 calories!
This is crazy considering how satisfying they are, but make sure you get some good topping or sides in if you have them as a complete meal.
The carbohydrates in potatoes take longer for your body to break down, providing long-lasting energy! Pair your spud with some protein and healthy fats for even more nourishment.
Potatoes are naturally gluten-free, making them an excellent carb-base option for those with gluten sensitivities or intolerances.
Mouth-Watering Vegan Toppings for Baked Potatoes
Now you know how and why you should make a baked potato, but what should you put on it? First, let’s get into some of the best vegan baked potato toppings!
Classic toppings with a vegan twist
Really craving a classic baked potato? You can still have one: just use vegan ingredients!
- Vegan butter, sour cream, and chives – Perhaps the most popular topping combo for baked potatoes, this tangy, creamy indulgence will get your mouth watering. Making it vegan will make your heart and tummy happy! You can also substitute the vegan sour cream for unsweetened coconut yogurt with lemon juice added if you’re in a pinch: this also goes great with sweet potatoes!
- Vegan cheese and steamed broccoli – This cafeteria-reminiscent delicacy goes perfectly with your fluffy baked potato! For gooey melty cheese, try making (or buying) a vegan cheese sauce and mixing in your steamed broccoli just before topping your potato! Using fortified nutritional yeast (a vegan pantry staple) will enhance your dish’s cheesiness while adding some B12!
- Vegan chili and dairy-free cheese – Who could turn down a chili cheese potato? But, of course, adding beans or meat substitutes ensures your potato packs a protein punch! Swap the cheese for sour cream or avocado if you want to mix it up. Crunched-up corn tortilla chips on top add an amazing salty crunch to this dish.
- Vegan “bacon” bits and dairy-free cheddar cheese – If you’re really craving something meaty and smoky, vegan bacon bits add that extra umami to the fluffy potato and gooey cheese. Did you know that many store-bought bacon bits are “accidentally” vegan anyway? Just make sure to double-check the ingredient list before you buy.
Ready to spice things up? These vegan toppings for baked potatoes will take you around the world!
- Mediterranean – Add hummus, olives, and roasted red peppers to give your spud a Mediterranean vibe! Many of the dishes and ingredients found in this region’s cuisine are vegan to begin with, so you won’t have to worry about finding suitable substitutions.
- Indian-inspired – Try topping your potato with curried chickpeas and coconut yogurt! Of course, spiced lentils or your favorite curry would also be amazing.
- Mexican-style – Swap your taco shell for a baked potato with black beans, avocado, salsa, and pico de gallo! Add some hot sauce for an extra kick if you’re feeling adventurous.
- Thai-Style – Perhaps the most out-there option yet, but don’t knock it till you try it! Top your vegan baked potato with spicy peanut sauce, tofu, and green onions. This Thai-inspired combo has so much protein from the peanuts and tofu you’re sure to leave the table with your taste buds tingling and your body satisfied.
- Italian fusion – Throw on some toppings like vegan cheese, black olives, plant-based pepperoni, and marinara sauce – and you’ve got yourself a pizza potato! That’s two of the best foods, in one easy combination.
There’s still so much more you can do with your vegan baked potato toppings! Here are some other creative combos:
- Roasted veggies and tahini drizzle – Add your favorite roasted veggies to pack your meal full of even more nutrients, and top it with some tahini for creamy, healthy fats.
- Barbecue jackfruit and coleslaw – Barbecue jackfruit is a common meat substitute, similar in texture to pulled pork. This smoky and nutritious vegetable paired with vegan coleslaw is sure to hit the spot! Serve with corn on the cob and ketchup to complete the summer BBQ vibes.
- Pesto and sun-dried tomatoes – This option emphasizes the potato’s unique natural texture while adding serious flavor. Keep it light, or add some vegan cheese or chicken substitute to round out the meal.
- Garlic spread, caramelized onions, and roasted broccoli – This ultimate, savory combo is sure to be a popular choice, combining two amazing flavors with buttery soft potato. Not necessarily recommending this one before a date, but you can always pop in a mint after you eat 😆!
- Smoky Tempeh, Roasted Red Peppers, and Vegan Aioli – For the ultimate satisfying potato, combine savory and flavorful tempeh and red peppers with creamy vegan aioli. The tempeh also adds a heap of protein and a “meaty” and satisfying bite.
Now you’ve learned which potato types to go for, why they’re so good for you, how to prepare them, and what to top them with – what are you waiting for? Go and make the vegan baked potato of your dreams, and satisfy a craving while getting a seriously nutritious meal in the process. Try out some of the ideas in this list, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Potatoes are such a versatile base for a dish. You can definitely add all your favorite ingredients and make your own incredible creation!
Long time vegan living in upstate NY. Web developer and founder of Vegan ShowOff. She's addicted to ice cream and loves hiking, snowboarding, gardening, and travel. Read more from Nicole!