It’s Time to Put an End to an Undeserved Reputation!

I feel sorry for potatoes. Usually associated with frying or loading (loaded, meaning adorned with heaps of sour cream, butter, bacon bits, etc.), they’ve gotten a really bad rap. When people hear “potatoes,” they think of starch, high carb, and weight gain.

Too bad they can’t speak up for themselves, because if they could, potatoes would tell you all about how, with their skin on, they’re an excellent source of vitamin C, a solid source of vitamin B6, and a great source of potassium (more than a banana!). They’d also add that they’re fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free! In one medium potato there’s only 110 calories per serving, for crying out loud!

And you athletes out there, if you’re looking to power up your performance, look no further than the potato. They provide the carbohydrate, potassium and energy you need to perform at your best. Potatoes are more energy-packed than any other popular vegetable.

These tasty guys would also tell you that they’re naturally gluten-free and one of the world’s most versatile vegetables. Foundational in a wide range of international and all-American cuisine, potatoes are the perfect blank canvas for a variety of flavor-based dishes.

This is welcome news when your good health depends on eating a gluten-free diet. They are superb as the ideal substitution for favorite bread, grain and pasta-based dishes. Heck of a deal, right?

Take pizza, for instance. Potatoes make a surprising and tasty substitution for pizza crust. Just top grilled or roasted potato planks with your favorite pizza toppings. Even die-hard crust-lovers are happy with this substitution.

And nachos. Potato wedges as a base for nachos instead of tortilla chips are a healthy and tasty replacement, whether you’re choosing to eat gluten-free or not. You can also save time by using frozen potato wedges.

Then there are croutons. Dice a potato into 1/2 inch squares, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Let cool and toss in your salad. No time to dice? Try frozen potatoes instead.

Or bruschetta. Instead of the traditional crostini or sliced sourdough bread, slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick, toss in olive oil and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. When the slices are finished cooking, top with your favorite tomato bruschetta and enjoy not just the taste, but the health factor as well!

Don’t forget gravies, soups and stews. There’s no need to thicken with that proverbial flour. Instead, call on the natural thickening of potato starch. Try using instant mashed potatoes or even pureed leftover mashed potatoes for hearty gravies, soups and stews (mix in the potatoes a little at a time so as not to over-thicken).

And pasta! Try using naturally gluten-free potatoes instead of pasta. Thin “noodles” of potatoes can be used to recreate your favorite pasta dish or thin slices of potatoes can be used to in place of noodles in your family-favorite lasagna recipe.

Finally, aside from being a truly healthy food and an outstanding substitution for gluten packed grains, they’re easy to grow. You can grow potatoes in your yard, a pot, or raised garden bed. (Food Storage Mom, Linda Loosli, recommends purchasing USDA organic seed potatoes because then you can keep on growing potatoes. You plant, cultivate, harvest, and replant a section of the seed potatoes you just grew.)

It’s high time we embraced the potato once again and put an end to their undeserved reputation as an unhealthy food. In fact, let’s start a spud-lovers movement! Meanwhile, please pass the potatoes.


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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