Potatoes! One of nature's most perfect foods, and one of the best of the starch staples. Potatoes are tasty, cheap, very nutritious, easy to store, and endlessly versatile.
It saddens me that good old Russet potatoes have gotten such a bad rap of late. People who think eating potatoes makes them fat usually don't take into account the way most Americans eat potatoes: Deep-fried or covered with fat-laden toppings like butter and sour cream. And those concerned about the glycemic index might be interested to know that chocolate cake has a lower GI than a baked potato.
So what healthier choices can be put on a baked potato? Possibilities abound. One of my favorites, as mentioned near the bottom of my entry on greens, is spinach with garlic powder and parmazano. Fat-free veggie chili is an even heartier choice. Salsa, fat-free salad dressing, balsamic vinegar, and even just salt and pepper all taste great too.
I bake my Russet potatoes in a toaster oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. I always bake more than one and leave extras in the frig. I rarely make them in the microwave anymore because the taste really isn't the same; it's worth the wait.
Red potatoes go great in salads, as in my Iron Chef challenge entry. The McDougall newsletter has a recipe for tofu mayonnaise with no oil, which goes great with potato salad. I also love Dr. Weil's recipe for potatoes with kale, though as noted in my greens recipe I usually use chard, and sauté in veggie broth instead of oil.
Sweet potatoes are close enough to potatoes for the purpose of this entry. I really love the ones sold as yams (though they are not actually the same as true yams), with the dark skin and bright orange flesh. I can make a meal out of a single large baked sweet potato with absolutely nothing on it, and some spinach. They are that good.
Sweet potatoes and greens go great together in savory dishes. The above photo is of Sweet Potato Dal from Everyday Happy Herbivore, which is one of the best meals I've made in recent memory. (I made mine with kale instead of spinach since we nearly always have kale on hand lately, and I find working with fresh spinach to be somewhat of a pain.) The flavors are just perfect and it is packed with nutrition. Seriously, if you like sweet potatoes, greens, and lentils, you must try this recipe.
Mashed sweet potatoes work well as an oil replacement for baked goods like muffins. Like potatoes, I always bake extra (they take a bit longer, about an hour at 400 degrees depending on size) to keep on hand in the frig for such uses.
All hail the mighty potato! Bountiful goodness in a small portable package.