Crispy smashed potatoes with pesto, where have you been all my life? There is a restaurant in Rhode Island that we frequent in the summer and they make an awesome smashed potato served with mustard sauce. I actually crave those potatoes, which is unusual for me since that’s not really in my wheelhouse for cravings…..but an even more unusual thing is that for several years, we’ve been going there and loving on those smashed potatoes and I’ve never tried to recreate them. THAT is totally in my wheelhouse….recipe re-creation. While in line at the grocery recently, flipping through magazines, I saw a photo of crispy smashed potatoes with pesto and had to leave the line to go get supplies to make them. It was that instant. Crispy smashed potatoes with pesto made an appearance on our table THAT NIGHT!
I’m toying with the idea of replacing the mashed potatoes on our Thanksgiving table with these crispy smashed potatoes. Generally, I can’t get away with replacing a traditional family favorite for a holiday meal…but these crispy smashed potatoes will be awesome with gravy…and they just may pass muster. I love how simple these are to make, and how yummy. I love their simple and short ingredient list…..and that EVERY TIME I have made them, they were awesome. Hard to mess these up!!
Who am I kidding though? There would be major upheaval in this house if our Thanksgiving didn’t include mashed potatoes. I guess I’ll save this recipe for a day or two after Thursday when the mashed potatoes are all gone and everyone is wondering what to do with all the leftover gravy!
Either that or I’ll just continue making these crispy smashed potatoes for no other reason than the fact that they are DELICIOUS. Simple as that. Perfect for a breakfast side. WAY better than any hash-brown potatoes. Awesome as a Sunday football game snack. We may have tried one (or both) of those already….and I’m gearing up for the weeknight side dish award with a batch of these. Easy enough to make anytime because most of the time involved is passive.
Not that I really needed any more reasons to make these crispy smashed potatoes but…..nutritionally, potatoes have more value—-especially when you leave the skins on—than people realize. They are an excellent source of potassium (more than a banana) and vitamin C. They are also a good source of B Vitamins, iron and calcium.
The recipe below for pesto is a fairly basic one. I add in some Dijon mustard to pay homage to the original smashed potato I fell in love with that had a creamy mustardy dressing, but otherwise I kept it traditional. If you’re looking for a pesto that’s a bit different (or you can’t find any basil), try this kale and cashew pesto or this arugula and spinach pesto.
Let me know in the comments if you’re able to sneak these onto the Thanksgiving menu this year. I’ll be rooting for you!
Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Pesto
Crispy, creamy, diary-free, and delicious. You'll never eat plain potatoes again! If you haven't tried smashed potatoes prepared this way before, buckle your seat belt!
- 1 ½ lbs. small potatoes (red bliss or Yukon gold, skins on).
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Coarse sea salt
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Fresh thyme sprigs
For the Pesto:
- 3 cups basil (combo with parsley if needed)
- 2 large cloves garlic
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2-4 Tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 450.
- In a large stock pot, bring enough water to totally cover potatoes to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
- Boil potatoes 15 minutes, until fork tender. Drain.
- Place cooked potatoes on rimmed baking sheet and use a towel to sop up any residual water. Press bottom of glass (I used a 1 cup pyrex measuring cup) down to smash, until flattened but still in one piece.
- Drizzle with olive oil and use a brush to baste. Sprinkle with S+P + Thyme leaves and flip. Repeat the drizzle, baste and sprinkle.
- Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes, until crispy.
- Make the pesto:
- Place basil, garlic, pine nuts, mustard, lemon juice and zest, S + P in bowl of food processor and process until everything is finely chopped. Keep it running and slowly pour in the oil. Scrape down the sides and mix again for about 2 minutes until smooth. Taste, adding in more S + P as desired.
- If pesto is too thick for your taste, turn on processor again and drizzle in water 1 Tablespoon at a time. Scraping down sides and testing it after each addition.
- Drizzle pesto on crispy smashed potatoes and serve warm.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 354mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g
The nutrition calculations were done using online tools. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients you used. You are ultimately responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information is accurate, complete and useful.
I am a potato lover. I have not come across a recipe I have not liked yet. These look and sound fantastic. The perfect and easy side to so many meals. A crowd pleaser for sure.
My thoughts exactly!
Smashed potatoes are definitely crave-able! Especially with pesto on top. I can totally see serving these on Thanksgiving…in ADDITION to the mashed potatoes.
I’m hearing that quite a bit….I guess I CAN have my cake and eat it too….why should I decide between the two?
Cynthia | What A Girl Eats
First of all I could eat all the smashed potatoes by myself…but the pesto is brilliant! Now I want some!
You’re not alone on that eat them all!!!
I absolutely love making smashed potatoes! It’s a really fun recipe and kids love it.
What’s not to like? Seriously though, this recipe is very kid friendly…and does encourage a more sophisticated palette at the same time.
Love the idea of putting pesto on potatoes!! So yummy!
Couldn’t agree more.
I love Pesto Sauce, goes with any snack. Potatoes are tasty and yummy. So this combo sure to go very well.
Yes. Yes….and yes.
Pesto and potatoes go so well together. I would want to eat all of these.
I’ll admit, it is VERY hard not to eat them all straight from the baking tray!
I’m obsessed with smashed potatoes! They’ve got all the best things– crispy edges and fluffy insides. And I bet that an herby pesto makes the flavors just POP. YUM!
I’m obsessed too….for all those same reasons!
LOL – there would be a full on revolt if we subbed out mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, but these crispy, tender potatoes with that silky pesto could make an appearance the other 364 days a year. I love your idea for making this instead of hashed browns too — it makes so much sense — and frnakly, I think it would be easier than standing over a skillet. Genius idea. I think you could also “poutine” these — not exactly healthy, but…
Good to know I’m not alone in the rebels of Thanksgiving!! Those traditions die hard. OH….I could totally see doing the gravy “poutine” thing here….
I can totally relate. Isn’t it funny how emotionally attached people get to food served on Thanksgiving. Even more so than Christmas. My hubby is attached to turkey, stuffing his way and yams his way. There’s almost no room to try anything new. I will definitely make these, they look amazing!
What a gorgeous recipe! I’m already in love with smashed potatoes, and I’m always up for a good pesto, so this is the perfect storm! Oh and of course the Dijon adds that perfect kick that I’m always up for. Thanks for this recipe! Just in time for holiday entertaining 🙂
Lol, I know what you mean about not being able to get away with replacing classic Thanksgiving dishes. I’ve tried a couple of times, but people complain. I love how crispy the smashed potatoes get on the edges, that’s my favorite part. I didn’t know that potatoes had more potassium than a banana!
Yes….potatoes are a wonderful source of potassium….concentrated in the skins, so make sure not to peel them!
I *love* homemade pesto and I absolutely love the idea of slathering it over crispy baked potatoes! Yukon golds are always my favorite to use. They’re so buttery and smooth. This would be such a delicious and fuss-free alternative to mashed potatoes this holiday season.
I’m with you….let me know if you are able to sub this in for the regular mashed. I’m taking a poll!
I love crispy smashed potatoes! Actually, I love all potatoes but crispy potatoes are my favourite! I would be one of those people that will have exclusively potato side dishes if it was up to me. I’ve got to try putting some mustard in my next batch of pesto, that sounds like an interesting flavour profile!
What’s not to like? The crisp, the flavor, the easy prep? It’s all good.
I am not generally a huge potato person, but I will always go for smashed potatoes (especially if they’re extra crispy!), but smashed potatoes with pesto?? Pretty sure I’d be begging for these! I can see why you had to make them immediately; now I think I do, too!
Exactly….and now they are on repeat over here!
We LOVE crispy smashed potatoes, but have actually never served them with a dollop of pesto – that’s brilliant! I can imagine that the buttery, crisp potatoes must mingle so well with the nutty, herby sauce. Love that touch of Dijon as well, so perfect for this dish. These would be fantastic for Thanksgiving, but honestly, I’d be up for eating them any night imaginable! (We’re big potato fans in this house haha)
I’m with you….give ’em to me any night, just give ’em to me!!
Potatoes are my absolute weakness. I make crispy smashed potatoes and somehow poof goes the whole pan in less than 10 minutes out of the oven at our house. I will prep the pesto as quickly as I can – it’s such a flavorful combo and gives a pleasant freshness to the potato.
Love this recipe! Pesto and potatoes sound delicious!
Love this! Not something I would have ever thought to to and you’re absolutely right, it would be better than fries! Awesome pesto recipe too and love how this could be a great starter when we have friends around. Won’t be waiting for Thanksgiving to have these that’s for sure!
YES! I have served these as appetizers before…always a hit!
I’m loving this smashed potato recipe with pesto! What a great idea! These look scrumptious!
Thank you…..scrumptious definitely sums it up well.
I pinned this recipe to try later! We love having potatoes with out dinner and we prefer not to buy packaged french fries.