Crispy Baked Herb Smashed Potatoes Gluten-free & Vegan


Fall greetings one & all,

I is talkin' taters today!
It's almost turkey day time here in Canada and I wanted to share this easy peasy but ever so delectable side dish, that I guarantee will become a celebration staple in your home; whatever the occasion.
I discovered this recipe via Chef Michael Smith, on, I believe, the food network. We're talking 10+ years ago now, so forgive the lapse in memory.
They were freaking deeelish!
However, they were very high fat and seriously artery clogging, thanks to the butter and frying method used to create the crispy yumminess. Which, I will admit were fun to eat while younger but one must let go of fried foods at some point, and find alternatives to satisfy. So I set off to find a way to crispify to my hearts and tastebuds content.
I had to do it, I mean, who doesn't like crispy bits when eating potatoes?
Who doesn't like potatoes? 

The solution was quite simple, I used good quality olive oil, mixed in some melted vegan margarine, and threw in a mini ton of garlic along with mixed herbs, to take the flavour up a notch. Then I made sure the oven was cranked up and baked them to golden bums of crunchy delight!

Making potato lovers rejoice, all over the land! Okay, maybe only at the dining room table, but as close to making potato history as I am going to get.

Seriously though, these are easy to begin prepping in advance and are really gobbled up quickly when they meet eager munchers, waiting at the table.
If you don't have issues with dairy and prefer a genuine buttery flavor, you can absolutely sub the margarine for real butter. I have made this recipe both ways over the years to great success, so do what works for you.

Serves 4

16 small (the mini's) red potatoes. I like to make sure I count 4 potatoes per person, at least, because people really go to town on them and will ask for seconds.

1/2 Cup Cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive oil
3 Tbsp Melted Earth Balance Soy-free Buttery Spread Margarine (in the red tub) or butter
8-10 Cloves garlic chopped fine or pressed in a garlic press
2 Sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed, chopped, discard stems.
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed, chopped, discard stems.
5 Leaves fresh sage, chopped, discard stems.
1/2- 1 tsp Fresh ground black pepper, I prefer long black pepper and use a full tsp but I like a good kick
1/2 tsp Sea salt
1 tsp Dried oregano
1/4 tsp Ground bay leaf
Small pinch cumin

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

-Place cleaned and gently scrubbed baby red tomatoes in a large enough pot to hold them all. Fill 3/4 of the way with cold water and a pincch of sea salt. Make sure potatoes are covered with water.

-Place pot on stove, on high heat, bring to boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium low temperature and cook until just fork tender. Do not cook until falling apart! These need to hold their shape so you can smash them down when ready to bake. This usually takes 10-15 minutes depending on how small the potatoes you used are:
Smaller=less cooking time
Larger=longer cooking time

-Strain off hot water and rinse a few times in cold water to stop cooking. Allow to sit in cold water to cool a bit. I leave them for about 5-10 mins.
At this point your potatoes can be drained and placed in a Ziploc bag , to be chilled until ready to use the following day. Alternatively, if your guests are coming later in the day, prep them as above, and drain them, then keep on the counter in a Ziploc bag until ready to bake. I also make the herb slather in advamce the same day and leave it in a pot on the stove, at the ready.

-In a dry, smaller pot, add olive oil and margarine or butter, depending on what you're using. Heat on a  medium low temperature, just enough for the margarine to melt. Once butter of choice is melted, add garlic and all other herbs with spices. Stir continually for 2 minutes, you do not want the garlic to burn. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

-Grab a large parchmemt lined cookie tray and place on a wide flat surface.

-Remove the potatoes from the bag, making sure to gently pat dry with paper towels, before placing on the tray. When placing on the tray, leave space for the potatoes to spread when you smash them down. I usually do 5-6 across and 3-4 down, depending on potato sizes. See pics below.

-Once potatoes are spaced out on the tray, using the heel of your palm, gently but firmly begin to smash the potatoes so they are flat but not looking like mashed potatoes. Repeat until all are done.
See pics below.

-Get the pot with the herb slather, using a Tablespoon, begin to pour a Tablespoon of the mixture on each potato, making sure all get the mixture on them. Now go back and do again on each potato, trying to get it to cover the edges too, until there is nothing of the mixture left. Don't panic if some potatoes have more than others, it will be fine.

-Place the tray in a pre-heated oven 25 minutes, then turn the tray half way around and put back in oven for another 20-30 minutes, until really golden brown.
Turning the tray assures even baking. If your potatoes are a bit small and you see they are turning too brown, cook them for less time. And if your potatoes were larger, they may need an additional 10-15 minutes, to get that wonderful crispy bottom.
If you prefer them less crispy, then by all means, remove them earlier. Just make sure they have a nice golden colour and are hot straight through. Nobody wants to eat a cold smashed potato with a hot meal.

-Serve hot out the oven for best flavour and texture.
You will have to take the eye's out of any potatoes that have sprouts. They can be toxic, so don't be lazy about it. Also, remove anything yuckie or damaged. You want your side dish to look good, along with tasting good!

That crispiness is no joke!
Mixed with the buttery herbaceousness, you have  winner, winner, chicken dinner!!!
We make this as an accompaniment to turkey, chicken, fish, vegetarian stews, with eggs, and even on their own with gravy, as a lovely comfort food dish. I hope you and yours enjoy this as much as my loved one's do, let me know how this recipe turns out for you.
If you have any questions, leave them down below in the comments, I love to hear from you.

Take care, be well, love freely...

Chef Kiki

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