Baked Potato alla California

About 20 years ago we moved to Los Alamitos, CA just down the street from a deli where my family quickly became regulars. Katella Deli had an amazing baked potato, that in my mind revolutionized the meaning of baked potato. It was topped with tons of steamed veggies, along with sour cream, monterey jack and cheddar cheese. This “California Potato” began my long love affair with baked potatoes, and is the inspiration for this recipe. I recently developed a “Cheese-less Cheese Sauce” recipe that has brought baked potatoes up to a whole new level. It is a flavor-filled sauce made with roasted red peppers, lemon juice, almonds and nutritional yeast that only takes about a minute to make. You can of course use regular cheese if you prefer but if you do you are missing out (and the tags dairy-free, vegan and Engine 2 no longer apply). See the link below for the sauce.

Makes: 2 servings

Preparation time: 20m
Cooking time: 20m
Total time: 1h20m


Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup Cheese-less Cheese Sauce
  • 1 large russet potato (1/2 - 2/3 pound)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (e.g. kosher salt)

Equipment: Large saucepan, blender (for the cheese sauce)


Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC.
  2. Rub the potato with olive oil and salt and place into the preheated oven for 60 minutes. (Everyone says to poke a potato with a fork a few times before you put it in the oven so that it doesn’t explode. Feel free to do this, I always forget and I have never had one explode). The potato is done when you can easily poke a fork into the center. Depending on the potatoes thickness this will take 45-60 min.
  3. While the potato is cooking, chop the zucchini, carrot, parsnip, cauliflower and broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Prepare theINLINE-LINK-START title="Cheese-less Cheese Sauce" href="http://www.wafflehearts.com/recipes/cheese-less-cheese-sauce" target="_blank"> Cheese-less Cheese Sauce INLINE-LINK-END if you have not already done so.
  5. When the potato is about 10 minutes from being done parboil the veggies by placing them into a saucepan and covering them with cold water. Put on the stovetop and turn the burner to high. From the time you turn on the burner set a timer for 10 minutes. When it goes off the veggies should be done. You want them a little softened but not mushy. Strain the water off and set aside.
  6. Remove the potato from the oven and cut it in half. Put one half onto each plate.
  7. Top the potato halves with the veggies and drizzle with as much "cheese" sauce as you want.