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
Test Kitchen Notes
Everyone needs to have a go-to twice-baked potato recipe in their repertoire, for a barbecue, side, entrée, whatever, and this Whole30-friendly one with a wonderfully creamy pesto sauce could be the one for you. The pesto here features arugula, scallions, chives, and cashews, but you can use a traditional parsley-based pesto with pine nuts if you're craving that instead—these potatoes go well with any kind of pesto. Use whatever you've got an abundance of in your garden! As the name implies, the potatoes are baked once whole, then the filling is scooped out, mixed with other ingredients, spooned back into the potatoes, and baked one more time. This way, the other ingredients really cook into the potato flesh for the best flavor and texture. It's a fun twist on traditional baked potatoes and at times can be more fun to make (and eat!) than regular mashed potatoes.
Russet potatoes work best for this recipe because they hold their shape well while roasting in the oven. Try to find potatoes that are a similar size so they cook evenly. The toppings were designed with the Whole30 diet in mind, but you can feel free to substitute with whatever you like or have on hand. You can up the comfort food factor by adding more traditional mix-ins like bacon and cheddar cheese and sour cream, but we think that the creamy pesto in this recipe more than makes up for not including them. Never hurts to try a fun twist on a classic! —The Editors
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
- Makes 4 potato halves
medium russet potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled
olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
garlic cloves, finely chopped
packed arugula, coarsely chopped, divided
finely chopped scallions (green parts only), divided
finely chopped chives, divided
fresh lemon juice, divided, plus more
roasted or raw cashews
- Heat the oven to 425°F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork. Rub the outsides with 1 tablespoon oil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, then arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, turning once halfway through, for 50 to 60 minutes, until the skins are crispy and you can insert a knife into the center with very little resistance beyond the skin. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
- Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out most of the flesh, leaving about ¼ inch around the inner peels, and transfer to a medium bowl. (Leave the potato skins on the baking sheet.) To the bowl, add the garlic, 1 cup arugula, 3 tablespoons scallions, 2 tablespoons chives, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Mix until smooth and combined, like mashed potatoes with a bunch of chopped greens throughout. Taste and adjust the seasoning with 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 the filling is browning on top.
- Meanwhile, make the creamy pesto. In a food processor, combine the cashews and the remaining 1 cup arugula, 2 tablespoons scallions, 2 tablespoons chives, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Pulse, scraping down the sides if needed, until the mixture is homogeneous, the herbs are very finely chopped, and the cashews are finely chopped. With the motor running, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of warm water until smooth and the consistency of a loose sour cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
- When the potatoes are finished, let cool slightly so you don't burn your mouth. Serve with the pesto alongside.