As our fall days gradually get shorter, and football teams become the talk of the water cooler every Monday morning, it’s the perfect time of year to spend more time inside baking delicious snacks for lazy Sunday afternoons spent in front of the television. This year, forgo the traditional football snack of potato chips for something a little healthier. These Cheesy Twice-Baked Potatoes are made with a cashew-based “cheese” sauce and “sour cream” made from cashews, miso and white wine vinegar. This was my first time making twice-baked potatoes, but the experience reminded me of harvesting potatoes every autumn when I was younger and being around family and friends, sharing a meal and perhaps a few stories.
For the Cheddar Cheese Sauce:
1/3 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/8 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the Cashew Sour Cream:
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
2 tablespoons miso
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
For the Mashed Potato Filling:
1/4 cup vegan margarine
3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
6 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a sheet pan, place potatoes and rub with 1 tablespoon oil and salt. Pierce each potato several times with a fork. Bake for 70 minutes until soft.
2. For the cheddar cheese sauce, in a sauté pan over medium heat, add margarine and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, garlic, paprika, and salt and sauce for 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover pan and simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft. In a dry blender, process cashews into a fine powder. (When I first read this recipe I thought a “dry blender” was a special machine, but then I realized that it’s just a regular blender, dry ) Add mustard, lemon juice and potato mixture. Process until cheese sauce is smooth and set aside.
3. For the cashew sour cream, in a blender or food processor, blend cashews, water, miso and vinegar until completely smooth.
4. Remove baked potatoes from oven and cut in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out potatoes from skins, leaving 1/4-inch layer of potato. Brush potato shells with remaining olive oil and return to preheated oven for 15 minutes.
5. For the mashed potato filling, in a medium bowl, mash potato filling with margarine, non-dairy milk, salt and pepper. Fold in half the cheese sauce, half the sour cream, and half the scallions. Fill each baked potato skin with mashed potato mixture. Top with a dollop of cheese sauce and a drizzle of sour cream. Garnish with remaining scallions and pepper as desired.
6. Bake loaded potato skins for 15 minutes, until thoroughly heated and tops are browned. Serve warm and enjoy!