Friday, August 9, 2013

Crispy Creamy Twice Baked Broccoli and Cheeze Potatoes. Plant-strong. Vegan. Double Stuffed.


Crispy. Creamy. Healthy. Bet you never thought those three words could be said about the same food.

It all started when I set out to find a plant-based, oil-free Vegan Mac-n-cheese recipe that my kids would love. I made attempt after attempt. My friends on Healthy Girl's Kitchen's Facebook page cheered me on. Gave me suggestions and recipe ideas. One went in the garbage. One was only tolerable to my husband. The last was acceptable to me as a one time deal, but would never pass for Mac-n-cheese with the kids.

But there was something about that last try that made me wonder. Maybe the sauce didn't quite make it as a Mac-n-cheese, but it was pretty yummy and it really did taste cheesy. Could it be used for something else?

Sometimes the best things come out of complete failures.

Today I present to you my recipe for Crispy Creamy Twice Baked Broccoli and Cheeze Potatoes. Please, make the effort to make these. If you split up the prep into a few different short sessions, the whole thing really will seem like a breeze.

Crispy Creamy Twice Baked Broccoli and Cheeze Potatoes
serves 6-6

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There are five steps to this process. The first two steps can be done well in advance. I baked the potatoes in the morning before I left for work and then refrigerated the baked potatoes until I got home. I prepared the cheezy sauce days in advance.

Bake the Potatoes

6 medium russet potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position rack in middle. Wash potatoes thoroughly with cold running water. Dry, then using a standard fork poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud so that moisture can escape during cooking. Place potatoes directly on rack in middle of oven. (Optional: place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.)

Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft. Carefully remove from oven and set aside to cool.

NOTE: If you're cooking less than 6 potatoes, you might need to decrease the cooking time by up to 15 minutes.

Prepare the Cheezy Sauce

1 15 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained (1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
2  Tbsp + 1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp light miso paste
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt (or not)
1/2 cup alternative milk, I used unsweetened almond milk

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the "s" blade. Process until mixture is smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.

Steam the Broccoli

Enough to end up with 3 packed cups of steamed and chopped broccoli.


Assemble the Potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment paper.

When the potatoes are cool, slice each one in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh of each half and place it into a large bowl. Reserve the potato skins.

When all of the flesh is in the bowl, place the cheezy sauce into the bowl and mash with a potato masher until well incorporated. 

Place 2 cups of the steamed and chopped broccoli into the bowl and stir well.

Using a soup spoon, scoop the potato/broccoli mixture back into the potato skins. Tamp mixture down into the skin (you can use your fingers during the process) and fill until the mixture is piled high into the potato skin. Place on prepared baking tray and repeat until all skins are stuffed. Top off each potato half with some of the remaining cup of chopped broccoli. Smush the broccoli into the potato mixture.

Bake the Stuffed Potatoes

Bake for 20 minutes. 

Turn heat on oven to broil. Let potatoes and broccoli crisp for a few minutes under the broiler, watching that the potatoes do not get too burned. Serve immediately.


Notes:

Refrigerates well, so makes excellent leftovers. These would be great to prepare in advance and reheat any time you are having company or bringing food over to someone else's home.

I imagine that you could use a bag of frozen broccoli that has been defrosted and that it would work quite well. I also think that you could add more vegetables to these--a little bit of whatever is in your refrigerator that you want to use up. 
 
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