In my opinion, Appetizer-Size Loaded Potato Skins are among the easiest and most satisfying party foods you could make. And there’s no reason you need to wait for a party to make them either….
I initially made the Loaded Potato Skins recipe below for a Go Red for Women BetterU Challenge party I hosted at my house but because my husband and son loved them so much I’ve found myself making them for dinner now too. Because they are so filling, you can make an entire meal serving several loaded potato skins per person along with a large side salad and maybe a vegetable soup too (tomato soup seems to be a perfect match.) In addition to being super satisfying, they are incredibly easy to make too. And they are most definitely healthy. If you are worried about potatoes being a “fattening” or pro-inflammatory white food, be sure to read about the incredible health benefits of potatoes and the resistant starch they contain HERE.
Of course there are plenty of recipes for loaded potato skins that are not healthful and call for the usual suspects (cheese, bacon, sour cream, etc.) but this clean dairy-free version is still a party (and family!) pleaser.
The Best Loaded Potato Skins Call for Top Notch Ingredients
Just a few words about the ingredients in the recipe before you get cooking…
- Definitely use organic potatoes. Although potatoes did not land on the Environmental Working Group’s notorious Dirty Dozen List this year, in the past conventionally-grown potatoes have been known to have one of the highest pesticide contents among fruits and vegetables. In 2006 the USDA discovered a whopping 81 percent of potatoes tested contained pesticides even after being washed and peeled. The fact potatoes didn’t land on the Dirty Dozen List this year doesn’t do much to convince me conventional potatoes are any cleaner than they have ever been—it just makes me think other fruits and vegetables are even more contaminated than ever (sigh).
- Buy Top Quality Premium Blue Crab Meat. One thing is for sure, if you don’t buy top-notch crab meat, your loaded potato skins won’t be all that good. There is actually a BIG difference in canned cooked crab meat quality. Hands down, my favorite canned crab meat is the sweet Pontchartrain Blue Crab brand. Recipe ready with no added salt or liquid, Pontchartrain Blue Crab is the leading supplier of Louisiana premium blue crab meat (Callinectes Sapidus). This brand also meets our criteria for “clean seafood” and is certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.
- Make Your Own Pesto—And Skip the Parmesan. Although it is a staple ingredient in just about every conventional pesto recipe, believe it or not, you really do not need Parmesan cheese (or any dairy, for that matter) to make a killer pesto. In fact, you’ll get a much brighter flavor going dairy free. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a clean dairy-free pesto brand that also uses healthful unrefined oils, so if you really want your loaded potato skins to be clean, you’ll need to make your own pesto. But that takes like 5 minutes, max. I have an Avocado Pesto recipe in my superfood digital cookbook and an Indian Pesto (made with ginger, basil, mint, Garam Marsala, etc.) in my Clean Cuisine book, which are both dairy-free and would both work well in the loaded potato skins recipe. But if you don’t have either book, check out this delicious dairy-free pesto recipe from The Holistic Ingredient blog.
- 14 small organic white potatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing potato skins
- Unrefined sea salt, to taste
- 5 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 can (8 ounces) wild-caught cooked premium blue crab claw meat (I suggest Pontchartrain Blue Crab brand)
- 1/2 cup dairy-free homemade or store-bought pesto (**see pesto notes above)
- Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and scrub each potato and then lightly oil and salt each one. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the potatoes and then transfer them to a large baking sheet. Bake the potatoes for 40 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and set aside for about 15 minutes to cool. Turn the oven heat up to 450 degrees.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat; add the shallots and saute for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until shallots are soft. Season shallots lightly with salt to taste.
- Transfer the shallots to a large mixing bowl and add in the crab and pesto; mix ingredients well. Set pesto-crab mixture aside.
- Cut each cooled, cooked potato in half lengthwise and use a teaspoon to gently scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/8-inch potato on the skin walls. Transfer half of the baked potato insides to the bowl with the crab and pesto mixture and mix well and transfer the other half to a bowl for later use (I like to make mashed potatoes with the remaining other half.) Brush the potatoes all over with olive oil, inside and out, and season the insides with salt.
- Place the potato skins face down on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the potatoes over on the skin side and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Load the inside of the potatoes with the crab-pesto-potato mixture. Return the potatoes to the oven and bake for 5 more minutes. Transfer the potato skins to a serving platter and garnish with parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.
P.S. Looking for More Clean Recipes?
If you liked the recipe for the loaded potato skins, be sure to check out a full month’s menu of delicious healthy dinner recipes (including weekly shopping lists!) in our Clean Cuisine Dinners digital cookbook.