Poor potatoes. Thanks to carb-phobia fueled diet misinformation, they’ve gotten quite the bad rep. While Americans do eat more potatoes than any other vegetable, leaving less room for other nutritious produce, like green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, there’s no reason to take potatoes off the plate.
Health Benefits of Potatoes
- I’m not big on counting calories, but it’s worth noting that a medium baked potato only has 160 calories, along with 4 grams of filling fiber.
- Potatoes are a surprising source of the antioxidant vitamin C, with 25% your daily needs in one medium potato.
- White potatoes contain more potassium than sweet potatoes. Potassium is a mineral that’s important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
- Potatoes contain resistant starch, a type of starch that does not break down into glucose in digestion, but instead passes to the gut undigested, where it’s fermented by bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These SCFAs decrease inflammation, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and increase nutrient absorption.
- Because potatoes are a fiber rich source of carbohydrate, they provide your body with a steady source of energy, perfect for keeping you energized until your next meal.
Did you know there are over 4,000 types of potatoes? In South America, where potatoes were first cultivated, hundreds of varieties are often found at local markets. But at most grocery stores, we’re lucky if we have a few varieties to choose from. Here are the most common types:
This classic potato is the most common type of potato. It’s starchy, dry, and floury texture makes it perfect for mashing or frying, where it gets a crisp crust and fluffy interior. Try it in: Healthy Scalloped Potatoes, Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower
Miniature fingerling potatoes are typically 2-3 inches long with an oblong, finger-like appearance. They have rich, nutty flavor and firm, waxy texture, making them perfect for roasting or pan-frying. Try it in: Smashed Fingerlings with Chimichurri Sauce
These all-purpose potatoes are a good middle ground between waxy and starchy varieties. They work well in many different cooking methods – grilling, boiling, frying, baking, roasting, and pan-frying. Try it in: Cheesy Greek Yogurt Potato Casserole, Roasted Nicoise Potato Salad
A new potato is any type of potato that’s harvested young. The skin is very thin and delicate. The flesh has a creamy texture, making new potatoes a good choice for steaming or boiling in a soup, but not good for baking. Look for bags of new potatoes sold with a variety of colors, which makes for a pretty presentation. Try it in: Irish Vegetarian Lentil Guinness Stew, Deviled Potatoes
These red skinned potatoes have a creamy, waxy white flesh and slightly bitter red skin. They are best in boiled in soups and stews or roasted, and worst for mashing or baking. Try it in: Tricolored Pepper Potato Salad, Spicy Smashed Potatoes
Rich in anthocyanins, purple potatoes are an antioxidant powerhouse. There are many types of purple potatoes, some with a waxy texture and others with a starchy, floury texture. Purple potatoes are delicious roasted, or use them in salads to show off the pretty color. Avoid using purple potatoes in soups or stews, where the purple color will bleed out. Try it in: Baked Purple Potato Chips
Roasted Potatoes with Spicy Pea Mash
Ingredients (Serves 6)
- 3 lbs assorted potatoes (we used russet, nugget, and white)
For the pea mash
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Salt and pepper to season
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Cut the potatoes in wedges and the smaller ones in half. Toss the potatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the seasoned potatoes on a baking dish and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until they are golden and fully cooked (poke with a fork to test). Remove from the oven set aside.
- Place all of the pea mash ingredients in a blender, season with salt and pepper and blend. If it’s too thick, add a tiny splash of water, but not too much (you want it to be thick). Taste and adjust season if necessary.
- Pour the pea mash over the potatoes, toss, and taste for seasoning. Serve warm.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy potatoes? Let us know in the comments section. Be sure to also download Luvo’s 7-day meal and fitness plan for more nutrition tips and recipes.