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Twice-Baked Potatoes With Creamy Chive Pesto

December 17, 2018
14 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

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

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Makes 4 potato halves
  • 2 medium-sized Russet potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled
  • 5 tablespoons 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon, plus a pinch for potato skins, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups packed arugula, roughly chopped, divided
  • 5 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (green parts only), divided into 3 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup cashews, roasted or raw
In This Recipe
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Spoon the mashed potato mixture back into the potato skins, and bake for about 20 minutes, until filling is browning on top.
  4. 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.
  5. When the potatoes are finished, let cool slightly so you don't burn your mouth. Serve with the pesto.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Leigh
  • Kirsten Bakis
    Kirsten Bakis
  • Valine Gaudet
    Valine Gaudet
Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist 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.

3 Reviews

Leigh December 25, 2020
Does anyone know a good substitute for the cashews? (no nuts)
Kirsten B. December 3, 2020
It's true, there is WAY! too much salt in both the potato mixture and pesto! How is this recipe still on the site uncorrected a year after the last review? It is, unfortunately, literally not edible as written. Very disappointed because it seemed like a potentially great recipe.
Valine G. November 9, 2019
WAY TOO MUCH SALT! I mixed everything and after tasting just the pesto I had to add another cup of cashews some garlic just to have it taste not terrible. The potatoe mixture was the same. Luckily I had a couple spare potatoes already baked or used half of the mixture and had to add two more potatoes just to make it palatable. Thermal recipe for me