7 Ways To Enjoy Your Favorite Carb This Thanksgiving

I must admit. Wendy's Loaded Baked Potatoes (with all the cheese and bacon) used to really tickle my fancy. Times have certainly changed, however my love for a good loaded, roasted, mashed, smashed and crispy potato has not. 

Potatoes sometimes get a bad rep, but that's usually because they're loaded with things like butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon. But without all that stuff weighing them down, potatoes are actually a good carb, high in vitamins and minerals. They're an excellent source of vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C, manganese and fiber. Which is why you should make room for them on your plate this Thanksgiving...just not the loaded down version that'll have you passed out before you even have a chance to enjoy dessert. And who doesn't want dessert?

You don't have to sacrifice flavor in order to enjoy a upgraded, healthier version of your favorite Thanksgiving carb. And since you'll likely have an abundance of extra potatoes hanging around after mashing some, get a little extra creative and explore a few other ways to serve them up for you and your guests. I've rounded up a few golden ones to get your taste buds going. 

Photo courtesy of Green Healthy Cooking

Photo courtesy of Green Healthy Cooking

Use a few of those sweet potatoes to make an appetizer, like this Navy Bean & Sweet Potato Dip. It's essentially a non-chickpea version of hummus jazzed up with some fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes. The best part is that you can quickly put this dip together so that you and your guests have something to snack on while the main dishes are being prepped. This is best served alongside some colorful, crisp veggies and chips.  

Photo courtesy of Further Food

Photo courtesy of Further Food

And speaking of chips...if you're feeling fancy (which you should be), then try your hand at homemade potato chips. These Japanese Sweet Potato Chips are baked with olive oil and sea salt, that's it! Of course, use whatever potatoes you have on hand, and consider baking with fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme for more robust flavor. While store-bought chips are definitely the easy way out, there's nothing quite like that crisp, right-out-of-the-oven flavor that these chips deliver. And, they'll pair pair perfectly with that sweet potato dip. 

But if you do want to go the store-bought route, may I suggest my favorite Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips. These people know how to do tortilla chips. 

Photo courtesy of Simple Veganista

Photo courtesy of Simple Veganista

Hands down, my absolute favorite way to eat this beloved carb is exactly as you see above, Crispy Smashed Potatoes. This particular recipe has an insanely delicious Lemon Tahini Dressing, however extra virgin olive oil would do just the trick. I drown almost everything in olive oil whenever I can, and potatoes are no exception.

When in doubt, slow cook them! These Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes will give you all the good comfort food feels. They are technically mashed potatoes, but without the dairy, plus a little garlic and chive treatment. I also love that the recipe keeps the potato skins in. It's a nice nutritional boost and definitely adds flavor. If you're like me and enjoy mixing mashed potatoes with stuffing, then we've hit the jackpot with this one. Who needs turkey when you can just keep going back for thirds of this delicious mash-up?

Photo courtesy of The Minimalist Baker

Photo courtesy of The Minimalist Baker

Stuff even more sweet potatoes into an entire wrap, because this one is kind of like enjoying Taco Tuesday on Thanksgiving. Kind of. It certainly gives the traditional meal a modernized twist, and you can load in all the veggies and hummus and  something extras that your heart desires. Better yet, this wrap makes for an incredibly genius leftover meal...to be enjoyed for many, many days after. 

Photo courtesy of Food52

Photo courtesy of Food52

And while we're on the subject of leftovers, whip up a leftover breakfast skillet, after you've awoken from your post-Thanksgiving hibernation, of course. This Kale, Potato and Mushroom Skillet is a nice way to sneak in some greens, but still keeps the comfort-dish-like joy of the holiday going strong. Put a sunny side up egg or two on there, and you'll be good to go until Thanksgiving Part 2. 

Photo courtesy of Yuri Elkaim

Photo courtesy of Yuri Elkaim

And for the holy grail of Thanksgiving breakfast leftovers, these Sweet Potato Waffles are a no-brainer. If you don't have a waffle maker, I'll bet you can find a nice one for sale on Black Friday, just so that you can come home and devour this. I honestly want to get a waffle maker for this recipe alone. It's got a sunny side up egg plus a homemade guacamole. YES PLEASE.

And similarly, these Loaded Baked Potato Hash Brown Waffles. Christmas came a little early with these gems.

Here's to eating all the potatoes this Thanksgiving, because in all honesty, the sides are the best part of the meal anyways. 

Happy Thanksgiving, darlings. Eat well. Especially those Sweet Potato Waffles.

xx Allison