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There’s something undeniably comforting about a velvety baked potato, loaded to the brim with a mix of crunchy, savory, and creamy accoutrements. We entrusted Sasha Pagni, our resident plant homecook and self-described “food alchemist,” to transform this staple into a nutrient-dense showstopper.
She’s slighted the usual sour cream/bacon/butter trifecta and upped the flavor ante with crispy, shiitake bites, a drizzle of nutritional-yeast hemp sauce, and a generous dousing of microgreens, chives, and cashews for phytonutrients and plant protein. Sasha suggests Japanese sweet potatoes for their subtle, earthy flavor (plus, purple foods contain anthocyanins, a family of antioxidants that strengthen memory and cerebral blood flow), but sweet potatoes, Hannah yams, or even butternut squash work well here, too. Each time you make this recipe, switch up the base and reap the benefits of a diverse, plant-rich plate.
Cheezy Hemp Sauce:
Steam: With a fork or knife, pierce the skin of each sweet potato in at least four places. In an instant pot or pressure cooker, place full sweet potatoes into the pot and steam for 10 minutes, using the steam function.
Bake: Preheat the oven to 400F. With a fork or knife, pierce the skin of each sweet potato in four places. Place the potatoes in the oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes.
Once done, you should be able to pierce them with a knife easily. Cut the potato lengthwise, just through the top half of the potato. To prep the potato for ingredients, place hands at opposite ends of the potato and push towards the center, allowing the inside of the potato to fluff up.
Steam: Cut squash in half, in an instant pot or pressure cooker, place squash half into pot and steam for 10 minutes, using the steam function.
Roast: Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut squash in half. Place the squash on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until soft.
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By Recipe by Sasha Pagni • October 12, 2021
Photographer: Erin Cauley