This recipe is one of the best things I got out of trying Whole30—second only to the realization that it's physically possible for me to go without cheese for a month. The potatoes are seasoned at every level, from the crispy skins, to the greens-studded interior, to the wonderfully bright pesto you eat with each bite. I often make these for dinner as the entree, with a salad on the side. (And since I've finished Whole30, a glass of white wine, too.) —Ella Quittner
1 hour 10 minutes
4 potato halves
medium-sized Russet potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled
olive oil, divided into 1 tablespoon, 2 tablespoons, and 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons
kosher salt, plus 1/2 heaping teaspoon, plus a pinch for potato skins, plus more to taste
freshly cracked pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon, plus a pinch for potato skins, plus more to taste
packed arugula, roughly chopped, divided
finely chopped scallions (green parts only), divided into 3 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons
finely chopped chives, divided
garlic cloves, minced
freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided, plus more as needed
cashews, roasted or raw
In This Recipe
Heat oven to 425°F. Take potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Rub the outsides in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper, then set on a rimmed cooking sheet. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, flipping them over once midway through, until skins are crispy and you can insert a knife into the center with very little resistance beyond the skin. Remove from oven, and let cool until you can handle. Meanwhile, turn the oven temperature up to 450°F.
Once the potatoes are cool enough, cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out most of the softened flesh, leaving about 1/4-inch around the inner peels, and transfer to a medium bowl. (Leave the potato skins on the cooking sheet.) Mix the potato flesh with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup chopped arugula, 3 tablespoons scallions, 2 tablespoons chives, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, until everything is smooth and combined, liked mashed potatoes with a bunch of chopped greens throughout. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice—make sure you add enough salt so that all of the other flavors pop.
Spoon the mashed potato mixture back into the potato skins, and bake for about 20 minutes, until filling is browning on top.
While those are baking, make the creamy pesto. In a food processor, combine the remaining 1 cup arugula, 2 tablespoons scallions, 2 tablespoons chives, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, cashews, 1/2 heaping teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse to combine until mixture is homogeneous—herbs very finely chopped, cashews minced—stopping to scrape down sides as needed. With motor running, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of warm water until it’s smooth and the consistency of a loose sour cream. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
When the potatoes are finished, let cool slightly so you don't burn your mouth. Serve with the pesto.
Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.