I don’t think I have ever met anyone who didn’t love potatoes. They are one of my favorite comfort foods and they are healthier than many people realize. A medium-sized white potato has only 110 calories and is loaded with Vitamin C and potassium. Sweet potatoes are also healthy, providing Vitamins A and C as well as beta-carotene. Potatoes are also one of the most versatile foods with endless ways of preparing them. They can be boiled, baked, roasted, grilled, fried, mashed, smashed, cubed, sliced, layered and even turned into pasta. Potatoes may be mostly associated with Ireland, but they are enjoyed by every culture world-wide. Let’s take a trip around the world and see the global appeal (no pun intended) of potatoes in amazingly delicious dishes.
Poutine is a traditional Canadian dish. It’s the ultimate comfort food – French fries smothered in gravy and topped with cheese curds. It’s common to find many poutine shops in Canada, but now this decadent dish is becoming very popular in the U.S. It’s no surprise that poutine is all the rage – who doesn’t love French fries? And who doesn’t love French fries smothered in cheese? I make my own vegan poutine with my Perfect Baked Oven Fries which are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Then I top the fries with vegan mozzarella cheese and melt it until it is gooey. Lastly, I smother the whole thing with my delicious brown “beefy” gravy. It’s hot, crispy, gooey, cheesy and indulgent. Thank you, Quebec, for giving us this amazing comfort food.
To make the French fries: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Peel 4 large russet potatoes and cut them into fries. Divide the potato slices onto the 2 baking sheets. Toss them with 2 Tbs. arrowroot powder, 1 Tbs. paprika, 2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. black pepper and 2 Tbs. vegetable oil. Make sure the fries are all well coated and that the spices are evenly distributed. Separate the fries so that they are in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake the fries for 20 minutes. Flip the fries on each baking sheet. Turn the baking sheets around and put the one that was on the lower rack onto the upper rack and vice versa. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the fries are very crisp but not burnt. While the fries are baking, make my brown gravy. Sprinkle 1 ½ cups vegan mozzarella shreds over the fries and put them back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. Assemble the dish by transferring the fries to a platter with a wide spatula and topping them with the hot gravy.
Pommes Persillade is a classic French potato dish. The term “persillade” comes from the French word for parsley, persil, and refers to a seasoning blend of parsley and garlic. It can also have other ingredients such as other herbs, vinegar and oil. Rather than the usual method of adding garlic early in the cooking process, it is added at the end as a garnish so the flavor is more intense. This incredible potato dish is a standard on bistro menus and in my kitchen.
To make Pommes Persillade, cook 2 lbs. of red and purple potatoes in a pot of salted, boiling water for 10-12 minutes or until they are just fork-tender but still firm. Drain the water and let the potatoes cool so you can handle them. Heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat. Cut the potatoes into cubes and saute them for 8 minutes, tossing them frequently, until they are browned and crisp on all sides. Season the potatoes with kosher salt and black pepper to taste. While the potatoes are cooking, chop 1 cup of fresh parsley and mince 4 cloves of garlic. Add this persillade to the potatoes in the skillet along with 1 Tbs. of fresh lemon zest and saute for another minute. You just want the flavors to develop; you don’t want the garlic to brown. Serve hot so the potatoes stay crisp. For another French potato dish, try this Cheesy Leek and Potato Gratin.
Most people think of potato salad as a cold, mayo-based dish, but in Southern Germany, potato salad, or Kartoffelsalar, does not contain dairy. Rather it is made with a vinegar-base and is served warm or at room temperature. While this dish is known as German potato salad, it is also popular in Austria and much of southern Europe. I prefer the warm, zesty salad over the cold, creamy kind and my go-to recipe is an amazing version of German potato salad.
Start with 1 ½ lbs. of red and Yukon potatoes and cut them in halves. Cut any larger ones so that all the potatoes are the same size. In a medium-sized saucepan, parboil the potatoes until they are just fork-tender but firm. Allow them to cool to the touch. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by combining 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard, 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbs. agave nectar or sugar, 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. dried dill, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in 1 Tbs. of capers and set the dressing aside. Grill the potato halves on a grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook about 4 minutes or until they are browned, turn them over and cook the other side. Try to get nice grill marks on them. Toss the potatoes in the dressing so they are well-coated. Add ¼ of a small red onion, thinly sliced, and 2 chopped ribs of celery and toss everything together. I like to serve this potato salad over a bed of arugula which will wilt a bit from the warm potatoes.
Patates sto Fourno is a Greek dish of oven-roasted potatoes with a garlic-lemon vinaigrette. To make them, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, combine ½ cup olive oil, the juice of two fresh lemons, a chopped shallot, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley, and kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Peel 4 large russet potatoes and cut them into wedges. Toss the potato wedges with half the vinaigrette. Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast the potatoes for 45 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and top with the remaining vinaigrette.
For another Greek potato dish, try my Moussaka Burgers with Béchamel Cream Sauce. It’s my version of the classic layered dish made with eggplant and potatoes and topped with béchamel sauce but turned into a flavorful and decadent burger.
One of my favorite Indian dishes combines two vegetables I love: potatoes and cauliflower. Here in this Northern Indian dish called Aloo Gobi, they are cooked in fragrant, aromatic spices to make an amazing and delicious dish.
Saute 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tsp. grated ginger, 1-2 chopped green chiles (depending how hot you like it), and 1 small, diced onion in 1 tbs. coconut oil in a deep saute pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 large peeled and cubed potatoes and toss to coat in the aromatics. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 head of cauliflower that has been stemmed, cored and broken into florets. Mix in 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. ground coriander, 1 tsp. curry powder, ½ tsp. chile powder, and ½ tsp. turmeric. Cover the pan and cook for ten minutes. Mix in ½ tsp. kosher salt and ½ cup frozen green peas. Add ¼ cup water, cover the pan and allow the vegetables to steam until tender. They should still have some bite and not be falling apart. Taste for spice adjustments. Garnish with 2 tbs. fresh chopped cilantro or parsley. Serve warm.
We certainly can’t talk about potatoes and not visit Ireland. Shepherd’s Pie, which is traditionally made with lamb, is a classic Irish dish. I make a Peaceful Shepherd’s Pie using crumbled tempeh and cremini mushrooms cooked with vegan Worcestershire sauce and vegan “beef” broth as the “meat.” Portobello mushrooms add a meaty texture to this beautiful Vegan Shepherd’s Pie while lentils are added to this satisfying Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie. For a colorful spin, sweet potatoes are used to top this incredible Vegetable Lentil Shepherd’s Pie. Since I prefer the inside of pot pies but the outside of Shepherd’s pies, I made a mash-up with my Shepherd’s Pot Pie with Tofu. Chunks of tofu and veggies in a light gravy are topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked until browned and crisp on top.
For other Irish potato dishes, try this hearty Creamy Potato and Cauliflower Soup that’s perfect for a cold day. Ireland meets Mexico in these Colcannon Quesadillas that are filled with potatoes and greens and served with mint chutney. Potatoes also find their way into dessert with this Irish Chocolate Potato Cake that also has a rich chocolate ganache.
Sartu di Patate is an Italian potato cake made usually made with eggs, sausage and lots of cheese. My vegan version uses my Spicy Italian Sausage, vegan cheeses and non-dairy creamer. This dish is creamy and decadent and has some spinach in it to up the nutrition factor. You are definitely going to want to make this dish.
Peel and cube 8 large russet potatoes and cook them in a large pot of salted, boiling water for 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and let them cool. Transfer them to a large bowl and mash the potatoes until smooth. Mix in ¼ cup of non-dairy milk or cream. In a skillet, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Crumble up 2 or 3 vegan Italian sausages into the skillet. Add 1 tsp. fennel seeds, 1 tsp. dried oregano and a pinch of red chile flakes. Mix in 1 Tbs. vegan Worcestershire sauce and cook until the sausage crumbles are browned and crispy. Transfer the sausage to a bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To the bowl of potatoes, add ½ cup vegan pepper Jack cheese shreds, ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the sausage crumbles and mix well until everything is well-combined. Transfer half of the potatoes to an oiled baking dish and spread it in an even layer. Then add 2 packages of frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained and spread it over the potatoes. Add a pinch of nutmeg to the spinach. On top of the spinach, add a layer of vegan mozzarella shreds. Finish by adding the remaining potatoes as the last layer and spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs mixed with a bit of oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown. For another Italian potato recipe, try this Wild Garlic Gnocchi in Almond Cream Sauce.
Jewish cuisine spans multiple countries and flavor profiles. Potatoes are a common ingredient in Jewish dishes, the most well-known being latkes or potato pancakes. Traditional vegan latkes are made with potatoes, onions, flour, baking powder, egg replacer, and spices and are cooked in oil until browned and crispy. Latkes are served with condiments such as apple sauce and sour cream.
While potato latkes are delicious, it’s also fun to get creative and make new and different types. In these Harvest Latkes, rutabaga, caraway seeds and cilantro make for crisp and spicy potato pancakes. Sweet potato and Indian spices come together in these Sweet Potato Latkes with Chutney Sour Cream and Curried Onion Apple White Bean Topping. I took a trip around the world and created my Global Latkes which included Italian Mozzarella Latkes with Marinara Sauce, Spanish Potato Latkes with Chipotle Sour Cream, Indian Curry Potato Latkes with Cucumber Raita, Chinese 5-Spice Potato Latkes with Plum-Hoisin Dipping Sauce and Greek Spinach, Potato, and Feta Latkes with Tzatziki Sauce.
Patatas Bravas is a Spanish dish often served in tapas bars. The potatoes are cut into cubes, fried and served in a spicy tomato sauce. It is considered one of the spiciest dishes in Spain which explains the name; bravas means” fierce” in Spanish.
Peel 4 large russet potatoes and cut them into bite-sized chunks. Heat an inch or two of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the potatoes and fry them until they are crisp on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the potatoes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle them with kosher salt. In a small saucepan, heat another spoon of olive oil and add 1 ½ – 2 cups of tomato sauce. Let the sauce cook for 5 minutes and then stir in 1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. paprika and 1 tsp. hot sauce. Taste for any seasoning adjustments and add salt if needed. Place the potatoes in a bowl and pour the sauce over them. Serve warm. For a Mexican potato dish, try these Crispy Potato Soft Tacos.
You may not immediately think about potatoes as part of Thai food but think again. My Tofu and Sweet Potato Curry is spicy and delicious. Cut a block of well-pressed, extra-firm tofu into cubes and toss them with 1 Tbs. chickpea flour, 2 tsp. curry powder and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet and cook the tofu in batches for 8 to 10 minutes or until browned and crisp on all sides. Transfer the tofu to a plate and try not to eat too many cubes. In the same skillet, heat more oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 large, chopped onion, 4 cloves minced garlic and a 1-inch piece of ginger, grated. Cook for 4 minutes until the onion has softened. Add 1 large sweet potato that has been peeled and cut into cubes and ½ lb. green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces. Toss to coat the veggies in the aromatics. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. chickpea flour and 1 ½ Tbs. curry powder over the veggies and toss to coat. Pour in 1 ½ cups coconut milk and 1 cup vegetable broth. Mix in 2 tsp. brown sugar and stir so everything is well-combined. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Let everything simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Taste for any seasoning adjustments. Return the tofu to the pan and toss to coat in the curry. Serve over rice.
I hope you enjoyed this potato-themed trip around the world. After you try any of these recipes, you will never think of potatoes as ordinary again.
Lead image source: Cheesy Leek and Potato Gratin