I was recently invited by Guilt Taste to participate in reviewing some of their beautiful gourmet products. The first shipment was their Chef’s Garden box from Farmer Jones Farm. It arrived on my doorstep late last week and after bringing it inside I headed straight to the kitchen to open what was inside. Carefully wrapped in insulated bubble wrap with a cold pack was a beautiful assortment of seasonal vegetables and herbs. I just about squealed with delight when I discovered the colorful little edible flowers (I guess the sight of flowers this time of year is exciting, considering most of what’s outside right now around here is brown and dying). After carefully taking stock of what all was in there I had my mind set on making a healthy seasonal appetizer.
Everyone loves a two-bite sized appetizer, but most of the time they’re a little on the unhealthy side, especially when it comes to twice baked potatoes. I decided to resolve that by adding a little protein (in the form of white beans) and spinach to the potato filling and seasoning it all with spices and fresh herbs. The result is so good you won’t even miss the cream, butter, or cheese.
Mini Twice Baked Potatoes with Spinach & White Bean Filling / makes 24 small potatoes
These are simple to make and don’t really take much time to make aside from filling them, but they can be assembled a day ahead and quickly re-heated the next day to save yourself some time. It will seem like a lot of spinach when your done chopping, but once it cooks down it all fits in nicely. I had a little leftover, but I just nibbled that up myself. In fact, I could have eaten just the filling by itself, and decided you could make a lazy version of this as a meal and instead of filling the potatoes, just mash everything up together, maybe add more beans and seasoning and call it dinner.
24 small potatoes, scrubbed and washed well
2 tablespoons olive oil divided
4 ounces spinach, washed and dried
1/2 cup cooked white beans
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Toss the potatoes in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place on a baking sheet, pierce each with a fork, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when pierced. Let cool for about 10 minutes or until you can handle them without burning yourself.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, use a small spoon to hallow out the middle. Make sure to leave enough of the side so the potatoes maintain their structure. Transfer insides to a bowl and set aside.
Thinly slice the spinach into strips. The easiest way to do this is to stack each leaf on top of one another and slice with a sharp knife. In a large skillet, heat up the last of the olive oil. Gently cook the garlic for a minute, then add the beans, cooked potato flesh, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne, if using. Cook while mashing everything together with the back of a fork or a potato masher. Once everything is well mashed and incorporated stir in the spinach. Cook until spinach just begins to wilt. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh oregano.
At this point you can either pop them right back into the oven for about 8 minutes to warm up again or you can place them in the refrigerator until your ready to heat and serve. If cooking later, turn your oven back up to 425?F and heat for 8-10 minutes.
Some tasty topping ideas would be sliced green onion, Greek yogurt, sour cream, caramelized shallots, chives, or more fresh herbs, and cheese.