Two things: First, thank you for the sweet emails and comments on my last post about the baby– I didn’t think it was possible but it made me even more excited! And secondly, I feel like I hyped my love of potatoes and my pregnancy cravings, so I felt like the first post-pregnancy announcement recipe needed to step up to the plate in terms of both. My three potato staples have been: mashed potatoes, french fries, and baked potatoes. The french fries dipped in a fair amount of ketchup while the mashed potatoes and baked potatoes had slabs of melted butter, salt, and pepper (so, so good.)
But, I’ve been thinking up this recipe for a few weeks now. It started with talking with another pregnant friend about cheese sauce and thus I started dreaming of potatoes smothered in cheese sauce. But then, a voice in my head said “add BBQ!” I can only blame this on the fact we had just traveled to Austin for a wedding that had BBQ catered as the dinner (so I had BBQ on the brain.)
The result was this mess of a vegetarian loaded potato. I don’t think I can tell you how much I love the crumbles that make up this BBQ (which you may recognize from this Buffalo Crumble Salad from over a year ago.) It dirties a couple of pans to make these potatoes but personally I think it’s well worth it. Of course, if you’re not feeling the crumbles, I’ve also been known to roast a bit of broccoli and use that on the potato along with the cheese (note the cheese and potato are really integral.)
- 2 large or 4 small russet potatoes
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinse if using canned
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4-6 tablespoons bbq sauce
- 2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Chives, to top
- Preheat oven to 400˚. Scrub potatoes, poke a few holes in each, and bake until tender, 40 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In a food processor, combine chickpeas, cooked brown rice, pecans, pepper, and salt. Pulse a few times until mixture comes together and resembles a coarsely ground meal.
- Heat a skillet over medium low heat and add mixture to pan (if using a pan that sticks, add a little olive oil). Stirring occasionally, heat mixture until fragrant, 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the BBQ, starting with 4 tablespoons and adding more as you like.
- In a small sauce pan, add shredded cheese and cornstarch. Turn on heat to medium low and heat until cheese starts to melt. Add milk, garlic powder, and salt. Whisk until the cheese is smooth and sauce like. Continue to heat and add milk to reach a cheese dip consistency (cheese shouldn’t congeal together- continue to whisk and if that doesn’t work, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time).
- Slice baked potatoes in half, stuff with bbq mixture, and drizzle with cheese sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh chives.