Hi, I’m Beth, and I’m a carbivore.
You read that right. Show me a carb, and I will want it. Need it. CRAVE it. Especially if that carb is a potato. It’s a bit of a problem. But if a potato could be the star of the show, the main event, the center of my plate, and still meet all my nutritional needs? Problem solved, my friends. I present to you, Protein-Packed Twice-Baked Potatoes. Say that five times fast.
Beth, just how much protein can you pack in a potato?
I’m so glad you asked. How does 20 grams sound? 20 GRAMS. No, I’m not joking. Heads up though – this is definitely a “treat within your means” situation, because along with 20 grams of protein comes the calories to go with it, but they are all whole food calories, and very little oil (if any). So I’m cool with it, and you guys, these are so good they are worth the splurge. Trust.
Potatoes do have a bit of protein already, and are really a wonderful form of nutrition all on their own, but most people don’t think of potatoes as a main dish. Although, this guy ate only potatoes for a whole year! That’s a whole lotta spuds. More power to him, but I need to mix things up. So let’s do this thing.
Here’s what you’ll need:
– Baking potatoes (you can use any kind of potato, but I really love the fluffy factor of russets)
– Red lentils (my secret weapon for covertly packing in the protein)
– Cauliflower (one head has 16 grams of protein!)
– Tofu Bacon Bits (optional, but HIGHLY recommended)
– Onion, garlic, salt, pepper (the usual suspects)
Since these are twice-baked potatoes, I guess we’d better get bakin’. The cauliflower needs to get roasted too, so the potatoes and cauliflower go into the oven at 400F for 30 minutes. If your potatoes are HUGE like mine, you might need to pull the cauliflower out and let the taters toast up a bit longer. Just check em’, but at 35-40 minutes, they should be done.
I LOVE roasted cauliflower. It’s so pretty too! Now, the sneaky part. While the potatoes and cauliflower are roasting, you’ll cook up some onions, garlic, red lentils and water (or vegetable broth) in a saucepan until they get super soft and absorb most of the liquid. If you are making the tofu bacon bits, you could have those simmering in the marinade in a separate saucepan before cooking them up. If you are super prepared, those could be made in advance, thereby making your life easier and leaving you with yummy tofu bacon bits to have on hand. Same goes for the savory cashew cream. Yes, there are a few components to these potatoes, and every one is worth making. But if you did choose to keep thing simpler, you could easily substitute the tofu bacon bits and savory cashew cream with your favorite vegan bacon and vegan sour cream. I’m making this sound more complicated than it is – basically, you have options here, ok?
After the potatoes have cooked, you can scoop out the flesh to be mixed in with the lentils, cauliflower, cashew cream and tofu bacon bits. Try to leave at least 1/4″ of potato connected to the skin, to provide some structure and keep the potatoes from breaking open when you stuff them with that glorious protein-packed conglomeration of goodness.
Here comes the twice-baked part! Back into the hot oven they go, for 10-15 minutes until they look all roasty toasty on top. If they’re not nice and brown, a quick trip under the broiler should do the trick (watch them carefully so they don’t burn!).
And now, we garnish! A bit more cashew cream, some extra tofu bacon bits, and either chives or green onions for a fresh finish. I just finished eating, and I’m still hungry just looking at these.
A quick note about the nutrition facts in this recipe (see below). I calculated the nutritional info assuming the recipe would be made with the savory cashew cream and the tofu bacon bits, using HUGE baked potatoes, with one half of a huge potato as a serving. I say all that as a disclaimer that depending on the size of the potatoes you use and which of the components you include, the nutrition facts could vary substantially. All in, if you made these as written, and had both halves of a potato, it would run you about 800 calories. That’s a lot, I know, so just keep that in mind as you assemble and devour these beauties. Treat Within Your Means. 😉
If you give these a go, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment here (my fav!), or take a photo of your creation and tag @eatwithinyourmeans on Instagram!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I seem to be drooling. (looks for a napkin)
Protein-Packed Stuffed Baked Potatoes (V/GF)
- 4 large baking potatoes (300g each) (halved lengthwise)
- .75 cup red lentils (picked over and rinsed)
- 1.5 cups savory cashew cream, recipe below (divided* (make 1 batch))
- 1 head of cauliflower (broken into florets)
- 1/2 large yellow or white onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup chives or green onions (minced, to garnish)
- 1 batch of tofu bacon, recipe below (chopped into “bacon bits”, optional (but highly recommended))
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place potatoes cut side down on a greased baking sheet (or line with parchment paper).
- Place cauliflower florets on another baking sheet. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over florets if desired.
- Roasted potatoes and cauliflower for 30 minutes. The cauliflower should be done at 30 minutes, but the potatoes may need a bit more time if they are really large.
- In the meantime, saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir in red lentils and salt, and add water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until lentils are tender and water is absorbed. The lentils will break down as they cook, which is to be expected. Remove to a large mixing bowl and let cool.
- When the cauliflower is finished cooking, add it to the mixing bowl with the lentil mixture and 1 cup of savory cashew cream.
- When the potatoes are cooked, let them cool briefly and then scoop out the flesh into the mixing bowl, being careful to leave at least 1/4” thickness of potato connected to the skins.
- Roughly mash the lentil mixture, cauliflower, cashew cream, and potato until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If making the tofu bacon bits, mix in half at this point, and reserve the other half for topping.
- Stuff the potato halves with the mixture, and roast at 400F for 10 minutes. Broil the tops for 1-2 minutes if not sufficiently browned during the roasting time.
- Garnish each half with reserved cashew cream, tofu bacon bits (if using), and chopped chives or green onions. Serve one half per person for a complete meal (two halves if your potatoes are on the small side).
Easy Tofu Bacon
- 1 block extra firm tofu (drained and patted dry)
For the Marinade
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 2 Tablespoons Liquid Smoke
- 2 cups water
- Slice the tofu as thinly as possible.
- Mix marinade ingredients together in a tall resealable container.
- Add sliced tofu to the marinade and set aside for 4 hours or overnight. (see note for a quick marinade option)
- Strain tofu slices out of the marinade (reserve marinade for another use if desired).
- Cook tofu bacon slices in a skillet or griddle over medium heat until browned and crispy.
- Serve as desired, but I must recommend a TBLAT (Tofu Bacon Lettuce Avocado Tomato sandwich, of course!)
Savory Cashew Cream
- 2 cups raw cashews (see note about soaking methods if not using a high-speed blender)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon heaping nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon chickpea miso (optional, any light miso will work)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar, or coconut vinegar)
- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until creamy and smooth.