Potatoes are filling, delicious, and an incredibly diverse ingredient, which has made them a staple in plant-based diets. This is mainly due to the symbiotic and highly nutritious relationship between the potato meat, or ‘flesh’, and the potato skin. Potatoes are filling and versatile and the flesh offers a wide range of vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy carbs. Yet, potato skins are completely underrated. These rough and unattractive protective wraps offer about half of the nutritional value of the whole potato, so think twice before tossing those potato skins in the trash! 

Nutrition of Potato Skins

Couleur/Pixabay

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When it comes to the nutrition facts, what the meat lacks the skin provides and vice versa, including essential nutrients such as fiber, iron, and vitamin C and B-6. Yet, the skin outranks the meat in some important categories.

With that said, let’s break it down to numbers.

For a whole baked potato, the skin has 115 calories, 27 grams of total carbohydrates, three grams of protein (equal for both meat and skin), five grams of fiber (meat only has two grams). When it comes to vitamins, potato skin and meat work together. Together, one whole baked potato offers “66 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B-6, 31 percent of vitamin C and 19 percent of thiamin,” as well as 23 percent of the recommended daily intake of niacin, also called Vitamin B3.

Minerals are the bulk of the skins potency. Potatoes are incredibly rich in iron, an essential mineral that transports oxygen through the body. The skin of a whole baked potato provides 88 percent of the total amount of iron. Along with iron, the meat and skin of a potato provide 60 percent of both potassium (20 percent) and magnesium (15 percent), key minerals that lend to the overall health of muscle contraction and nerve transmission.

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How to Cook a Potato SkinChickpea-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes 2

High Protein Chickpea-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Tahini Sauce/One Green Planet

There are various ways to successfully cook potato skins. When baking a potato, the skin cooks naturally. The meat, or flesh, of the potato, will steam and soften the rough texture, while also infusing flavors from herbs, spices, and oils. Therefore, when it comes to baking potato skins, don’t skimp on the seasoning, such as this wonderfully flavorful recipe High Protein Chickpea-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Tahini Sauce.

For a crispy, French-fry product, try roasting! When roasting potato skins, it’s recommended to use russet potatoes, yet feel free to get creative and try your hand at any of the other varieties. Directly after peeling, toss them in your choice of oil and seasonings, spread them on a baking sheet, and pop them in a 400-degree pre-heated oven. Check them after 15 minutes and try not leave them longer than 20.

There are countless ways to enjoy potato skins! Besides the traditional baking and roasting, potato skins can be chopped and boiled in stews and soups, fried on the oven range, or even crisped over the flames of a barbeque!

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Creative Ways to Enjoy Potato Skins

Getting to the meat of the potato is easy, but integrating the skin takes a bit of creativity. The husky, rough, and seemingly uninviting texture of potato skin lands this nutritious treat in the trash. Yet, there are great ways to make this unruly ingredient incredibly savory and delightful to eat. Here are a few ideas to get you started with our Food Monster App!

Make a BowlBurrito Bowl Potato Skins

Burrito Bowl Potato Skins/One Green Planet

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By leaving a small rind of potato meat inside the potato skin, you can make a perfect, edible, and highly nutritious bowl! That’s what this Burrito Bowl Potato Skins recipe aims to do with some delightful russet potatoes. Along with potato meat, the skins are stuffed with a host of vegan-friendly foods including quinoa, black beans, and vegetables.

Potato skin bowls are also a great opportunity to use the leftovers in your kitchen. Try it out in this Loaded Mexican Sweet Potato Skins recipe or this Cheesy Potato Skins With Coconut Bacon.

Bake It TwiceSmoky Apple and 'Cheddar' Stuffed Baked Potato [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Smoky Apple and ‘Cheddar’ Stuffed Baked Potato/One Green Planet

Traditional and simple, the baked potato is a great way to enjoy that nutritious potato skin! Baked potatoes provide soft, creamy meat while also allowing the skin to become moist and absorb flavors. While there is only one true way to actually bake a potato, there are countless recipes that help add the accouterments. Try a few of these baked and spice heavy potato recipes: Spicy Turmeric Twice-Baked Potatoes, Smoky Apple and ‘Cheddar’ Stuffed Baked Potato, Hungarian Twice-Baked Potatoes, or this traditional Baked Potato With Parsley ‘Sour Cream’.

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Do It Up SweetVegan Golden Milk Pie with sweet potatoes with colorful toppings

Golden Milk Pie With Sweet Potatoes/One Green Planet

While it may seem that the potato is strictly the main meal ingredient, the sweet potato is ideal for a savory dessert. True to its name the meat of the sweet potato is, in fact, sweet and becomes wonderfully creamy once baked. From cakes to brownies to smoothies, the sweet potato reigns supreme when it comes to potato desserts. Take a try at including potato skins in these delicious dessert recipes: Sweet Potato and Passion Fruit Smoothie, Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies, Golden Milk Pie With Sweet Potatoes, or these Red Velvet Brownies With Three-Ingredient Frosting.

For more flavorful, sweet, and nutritious potato skin recipes, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!


Lead image source: Shutterstock