Potatoes on potatoes! You know when we spell cheese with a “z” we’re NOT talking about a heavy, dairy-laden sauce. No, these batch cooking friendly and vegan BBQ baked potato bowls are drizzled with a creamy, rich, but entirely whole food plant-based/vegan cheese sauce…that includes more potatoes. So don’t let that “z” mean “a poor substitute for cheese sauce”: this stuff is the real deal, and it just might leave you questioning the dairy version (or missing it even less if you’re already plant-based).
As with other vegan bowl meals, this one has you prepping a carb, a protein, and a veg, then serving them all up together topped with not one but TWO yummy sauces, plus some fun toppings–the scallions are on the baked potato theme, and the pickles stay with the BBQ theme, adding a nice bright crunch amidst a rich and comforting bowl.
Bowls don’t always strike me as worthy of a “real recipe” blog post, since they can include endless ingredient combinations and be easily adapted to your specific household size, diet preferences, and tastes. I mean, we could record ENDLESS bowl “recipes” before we got through them all, and I’m pretty sure the internet is trying to do just that.
But sometimes “non-recipes” make the best recipes. And because this one likely includes foods that you’re intimately familiar with–simple baked potatoes, a green vegetable that even kids might ingest, and the ubiquitous garbanzo bean–I’m hoping that makes it even easier to know how you want to adjust the quantities and ingredients to suit your exact needs or tastes.
Batch Cooking Tips
If you haven’t read it already, my Batch Cooking Basics post is THE place to start if you’re new to batch cooking. Here are a few more tips specific to these baked potato bowls:
- Even if you usually like your baked potatoes skin on, batch cooking them as described below makes dinnertime and packing leftovers for lunch so quick. With a one and four year old at my table, I risk a mutiny if I’m standing around trying to separate potatoes from their skins at 5:26 PM, instead of getting dinner on the table NOW.
- If you’re in a big rush, you can serve the garbanzo beans as is, without roasting them. The recipe officially calls for roasting because it offers a flavor and texture pop against the simply prepared potatoes and broccoli.
- And if you have EXTRA time (I envy you), you could roast the broccoli for an even more decadent, comforting bowl.
- The cheese sauce makes about 2 quarts. If you have extra, freeze it for future bowls, or do like I did and pour it over some pasta for a quick and easy (dare I say, instant) vegan mac and cheese for weekend lunches.
- Don’t be shy on quantities when you’re batch cooking. If you have extra potatoes, broccoli, or chickpeas on hand, go ahead and prep even more. You can make extra baked potato bowls later, add the potatoes to a tofu breakfast scramble, throw the chickpeas on a salad, and serve the broccoli as another dinner side…or add it to that tofu scramble!
- You’ll likely need to thin the cheese sauce out a little after refrigerating. I’ve used both vegetable stock or almond milk, and both worked well (I recommend thinning before reheating).
- For reheating this recipe, I like to assemble individual bowls with everything but the BBQ sauce, scallions, and pickles, and microwave each one.
This batch cooking comfort food bowl will feed about 4 people two times. If you just want to eat it once, halve the recipe.
- 12 medium to large russet potatoes (adjust quantity for appetites)
- 2 cans garbanzo beans (15 oz. each), drained and rinsed
- Olive oil
- 2 lbs. broccoli florets (frozen steam-in-bag for fastest prep)
- Vegan BBQ sauce (I like Stubb’s)
- Scallions (sliced) or pickled onions
- 4 to 6 pickles (or more for pickle lovers), chopped
- 4 C large chopped yellow or russet potatoes
- 2 C peeled, roughly chopped carrots
- 1 3/4 C unsweetened, unflavored plant milk (I use almond or soy)
- 1 C nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- Bake the potatoes: use your preferred method, OR preheat oven to 425 F. Wash potatoes and puncture each in a few places with a fork. Place directly on rack of preheated oven. Bake 60 to 75 minutes, or until skin is crisp and potatoes yield to a gentle squeeze. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and open to cool slightly. Squeeze flesh out into a large container. If desired, use a fork to toss with some vegan butter and/or salt and pepper. Cool to room temp before refrigerating.
- Make the cheese sauce: You can easily make the cheese sauce while the potatoes bake. In a large pot, cover potatoes and carrots with water by a couple inches. Bring to a boil, then boil gently for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are easily pierced with a fork. Transfer vegetables to a blender pitcher (the full recipe just fit in my 8 cup Vitamix pitcher, so do this in two batches for a smaller blender) and add remaining sauce ingredients. Blend on high until smooth. If serving immediately, the sauce can sit in the blender pitcher until serving time.
- Once baked potatoes are done, reduce oven temp to 400 F. Spread garbanzos on a kitchen towel, and lay another towel over the top to dry completely. Place on a sheet pan and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, shaking the pan or stirring the beans halfway through cooking time. Serve warm or room temp, and refrigerate to store.
- Steam the broccoli according to directions on steam-in-bag package, or steam fresh broccoli florets for 6 to 7 minutes.
- To assemble bowls, load each with baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, and roasted chickpeas. Drizzle (or douse) with cheese and BBQ sauce, and top with scallions and pickles!
Cheese sauce is an oil-free and batch cooking adaptation of the one from Simple Vegan Blog’s mac and cheese recipe.
- Cuisine: Vegan