I have this thing for baked potatoes. I think they get a bad rep when it comes to health foods because they’re normally piled with butter, sour cream, and many other equally heavy toppings. The truth is that the potato itself is pretty darn good for you: A typical raw potato has approximately 130-170 calories, less than 1 g. of fat, and about 4 g. of protein. It packs a pretty respectable dose of dietary fiber too, which will help keep you full. Not too shabby.
However, the chances of me making a baked potato in the oven are pretty slim — I’m a busy girl, and I do not have that kind of time. Luckily, I discovered that microwaving potatoes is pretty darn easy (and delicious if you add the right stuff!). I love how simple, nutritious, and filling this dinner is!
So, after enjoying way too much sugar last night making gingerbread houses with friends and enjoying a Chipotle Salad with Chicken for lunch (so good!), I needed something filling, but healthy, with as little sugar as possible. Baked potato bowl for the win!
Quick-as-can-be veggie baked potato bowl
- 1 medium to large Russet potato
- 2 cups of mixed vegetables (My preference: Broccoli, asparagus, chopped spinach, onion, and edamame)
- 2 Tbsp. part-skim shredded cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cooking spray
- First, wash your potato thoroughly. Pierce with a fork multiple times around the potato. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for four minutes. When finished, flip over potato and microwave for another three to four minutes. (Note: Depending on the size and your microwave, the potato may take anywhere from five to ten minutes total to cook. Check it periodically to be sure it doesn’t overcook and get hard.)
- While your potato is cooking, saute your vegetables in a pan coated with cooking spray until they reach desired tenderness. (I actually like mine a little burnt — I love the added crunch!)
- Remove potato from microwave WITH hot pads or towel. (It will be hot!) Cut down middle and add some salt and pepper.
- Top your potato with cooked vegetables and cheese. Enjoy!
How to “level up” this recipe:
- Depending on the season, you can experiment with different vegetables until you find the combination you like best. In the summer, sugar snap peas and squash are a great addition to the veggie medley. In the winter, I love sticking with a red onion, spinach, and mushroom combo.
How to “level down” this recipe:
- Add a pat of butter before topping the potato with vegetables and cheese. You could also use a drizzle of olive oil instead of butter.
- Cook and crumble some turkey bacon (or a leaner, center-cut bacon) over top for some added protein.
- Keep it simple (and cheap!): This isn’t necessarily a “level down,” but if you live on your own or are on a tight budget, consider switching out fresh vegetables for frozen. You could easily microwave a cup of frozen broccoli and top your potato with that instead! I always keep frozen edamame and broccoli on hand just for that reason.