Instead of your classic butter, sour cream, and chives to accompany a baked potato, why not try flavoring your potato with Italian-influenced ingredients—mushrooms, onions, tomato paste, and basil—and serve it with optional toppings to make your baked potato into a complete meal?
- large potatoes, scrubbed
- extra-virgin olive oil
- onion, cut into half-moons
- mushrooms, sliced
- tomato paste
- spinach, cut into strips
- fresh basil, cut into thin strips, or dried basil
- optional toppings for serving: thinly sliced green onions, white beans, steamed or microwaved mashed cauliflower, steamed or microwaved sliced zucchini, crumbled tofu, chopped fresh herbs, capers or chopped olives, walnut pieces, toasted sunflower seeds
- Preheat the toaster oven or standard oven to 375ºF. Pierce the potatoes and bake until completely soft. Keep warm.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, then add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms have released their juices, stir in the tomato paste, spinach, and basil. Remove from heat but cover and keep warm.
- Put toppings in small serving dishes. To serve, slice open and mash the potato inside its skin, add mushroom-onion mixture, and add desired toppings to the potato or on the side.