Don’t you hate when you go out to eat at a restaurant and the establishment hasn’t cottoned on to the fact that many people are making an effort to eat more plant-based meals, participating in “meatless Mondays”, and being more eco-conscious – and the only option this restaurant has on its extensive menu that’s suitable for vegans is a jacket potato and beans? No vegan butter and nothing else that would constitute as vegan friendly. How many bowls of chips and dry jacket potatoes have you munched through all in an effort to enjoy time with friends? While we cannot solve that menu problem just yet, we can suggest some super-easy super-tasty vegan jacket potato fillings that will make you feel like those dry restaurant jackets are a thing of distant memories (distant-semi-nightmares).
These not-in-the-least-bit boring jacket potato fillings can be paired with our recent summer salad recipe or enjoyed on their own. So, before you hit the town for cocktails with your friends, make sure to fill up on a tasty and healthy meal so you won’t be disappointed at the brunch or snack options on your venture out your front door!
Why potatoes shouldn’t be vilified
The humble potato has been vilified over time as the less healthy alternative to the sweet potato or other root veg. But is a good old white potato really that bad for you?
Potatoes are part of the nightshade family (think tomatoes, aubergine, peppers, etc and even tobacco). Nightshades contain small amounts of alkaloids, which are nitrogen molecules that impact the human body (other examples of medicinal alkaloids include morphine and quinine) and antioxidants.
The micronutrients and vitamins in a white potato
When eaten with the skin, the common garden potato is vitamin and mineral-rich. Plus, they’re high in water content and the fibre helps with digestion.
Potatoes contain the following nutrients:
- Potassium: The main source of potassium we are all familiar with is the banana but potatoes also contain potassium which regulates the heartbeat, supports normal blood pressure, ensures the proper function of muscles and nerves (contraction and nerve signals), and are used to synthesizing protein and metabolising carbohydrates. Potassium also helps with fluid balance in the cells (whilst sodium, potassium’s counterpart, helps with fluid balance outside the cells). You need about 3,500–4,700 mg of potassium per day. A medium potato (138 g) contains 750 mg of your daily intake and a large potato (299 g) contains 1,626 mg of potassium. For comparison, a medium banana only contains 358 mg of potassium!
- Vitamin C: The main vitamin found in potatoes is vitamin C, which is mostly found in the potato skin so be sure to make your jacket potato skins extra crispy and enjoy them. Again, we often associate oranges with vitamin C but actually, kiwis and cantaloupe melon contain more! A medium-sized cantaloupe contains 202 mg, one medium orange contains 70 mg, and one kiwi contains 92 mg. One medium potato, on the other hand, contains 42 mg and a large potato contains 72 mg (just a little more than an orange). Ever heard of the “pirate” or “sailor” problem called “scurvy”? Well, vitamin C deficiency is just that, causing fatigue, irritability, severe joint and leg pain, swollen and bleeding gums, red or blue spots on the skin, and easy bruising. On the other hand, vitamin C is essential in wound healing and biosynthesis of collagen, immune function, and maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and cartilage. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 75 mg for women (with 120 mg during pregnancy) and 90 mg for men, not to exceed 2,000 mg. One medium-sized potato is almost all of your daily intake for healthy immune function!
- Folate: Another name for folate is vitamin B₉ and folacin (the manufactured form is folic acid which the body converts into folate). Folate is vital for red blood cell formation and healthy cell growth and function. It’s also a critical nutrient during early pregnancy to reduce birth defect risks as well as aid in brain and spine formation. We need about 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate per day for a healthy functioning body and a medium potato contains 38 micrograms (mcg) – and the rest of your intake can be made up by eating dark, leafy greens, asparagus, sprouts, broccoli, etc. Folate deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, memory, comprehension and judgement problems, fatigue, pins and needles (paraesthesia), ulcers, vision problems, and confusion.
- Vitamin B6: Finally, another super vitamin that potatoes contain is vitamin B6, which is found in most foods. Also known as pyridoxine, a vitamin B6 deficiency is very rare. B6 helps maintain normal amino acid amounts in the blood, helps the immune system, and is vital for red blood cell formation and neurotransmitters. On a practical level, B6 helps with mood regulation, brain health, eye health, and more. A medium potato contains 0.6 mg of B6 and a large potato contains 1.1 mg. We only need 1.4 mg per day for men of B6 and 1.2 mg for women with a large potato almost providing all of your daily needs.
Baking or boiling potatoes with the skin on can reduce any vitamin and mineral loss impacted during the cooking process.
The calories and macronutrients in a white potato versus a sweet potato
In addition to all of the nutrients mentioned above, one medium-sized jacket potato contains about
- 161 calories
- under 1 gram of fat
- around 17 milligrams of sodium
- 37 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of dietary fibre
- 4 grams of protein
If you want to swap your white potato for a sweet potato, you’ll add a few more calories but all of your Vitamin A needs for the day.
- 180 calories
- under 1 gram of fat
- 41.4 grams of carbohydrates
- 6.6 grams of dietary fibre
- 4 grams of protein
- 50% of the daily value (DV) of Manganese
- 65% of the DV of Vitamin C
- 769% of the DV of Vitamin A
As you can see, sweet potatoes aren’t much healthier than white potatoes containing both more calories and carbohydrates; however, they do contain more vitamin A and manganese.
Easy vegan jacket potato fillings
Without further ado, now that you know that white potatoes are both healthy and amazing for your body, here are our top choices for jacket potato fillings.
- Stuffed baked potatoes with herb dip: These yummy stuffed potatoes are filled with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, vegan cheese, and topped with a herb dip made from soy quark. Check out the recipe here from Bianca Zapatka.
- Tex Mex two-bite loaded potatoes: These delicious fingerling potatoes are stuffed with vegan shredded cheese, sprinkled with chipotle powder, and topped with your choice of guacamole, chives, sriracha, vegan sour cream, and herbs. Find the recipe at I Love Vegan.
- Spicy kidney bean baked potato: For another Tex-Mex-inspired recipe, look no further than this take on a chilli-loaded potato. The recipe calls for oyster mushrooms which adds a little extra va va voom to all the veggies. Check out the recipe here at Oh My Veggies.
- Vegan twice-baked potatoes: For an easy classic, try out this twice-baked potato recipe that’s loaded with vegan cheesy goodness at School Night Vegan. They contain nutritional yeast and other spices for added flavour.
- The classic loaded vegan jacket potato: If you want to try out the alternative to the “classic” loaded potato (i.e. sour cream, cheese, spring onion, and bacon) this recipe is for you which uses vegan bacon bits, vegan sour cream, and vegan shredded cheese. Discover the recipe here from Zardy Plants.
- Shepherd’s pie jacket potato: For a new take on a comforting home meal, you can try this recipe mash-up (no pun intended) that contains delicious and nutritious puy lentils. Find the recipe here at Bosh.
- Baked potatoes with spicy chickpea stew: This recipe contains turmeric and cocoa powder, which are both superfoods to punch up this tasty topping. Read the recipe here from Easy Peasy Foodie.
- Vegan tomato and mushroom jacket sweet potato: The recipe calls for a sweet potato but you can use either in this very simple five-ingredient recipe (potato, tinned tomato, mushrooms, red pepper, and onion). You can jazz it up in any way you’d like with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, extra spices and herbs, spring onion, and so forth. Find the recipe here at Student Eats.
- Baked potatoes with spicy dahl: Instead of a chilli jacket potato with beans, try chickpeas with an Indian flavour. Have a look at the recipe here on BBC Good Food.
- Creamy chickpea (tuna substitute) jacket potato: If you want a lighter lunch option to create the classic “tuna mayo” topping, look no further than this lovely creamy chickpea potato topping. The recipe can be found at Yum Vegan Lunch Ideas.
Of course, with jacket potatoes, you can go as simple or as easy as you like. You can top it simply with vegan butter and cheese, hummus, garlic mushrooms, vegan curry, vegan chilli, pasta sauce with tofu, and even the “usual” baked beans.
How do you like your jacket potato cooked? Soft, crispy, or another way? What are your favourite vegan fillings? Let us know on Tria Beauty UK’s social media if you’ll be trying out any of these yummy jacket potato recipes or share your favourite fillings and recipes.