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Mostly Make-Ahead Roast Potatoes

mostly make-ahead roast potatoes

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Everyone feels like they don’t have enough time, and when people don’t have enough time they have to cut activities from their schedules. Unfortunately, for many people one of the first things to go is preparing wholesome meals from “whole food” ingredients. That is, of course, if preparing food from scratch was ever on the schedule! By planning ahead and devoting a chunk of time each week to meal prep, it is possible to eat well throughout the week. Usually you’ll save both time and money in the process! That’s why today I’m sharing my mostly make-ahead roast potatoes. They’re a great step for anyone who wants to get started with some basic meal prep but who finds actually making days’ worth of food ahead of time a bit daunting!

mostly make-ahead roast potatoesThese roast potatoes are not a 100% make-ahead dish, but they take about half the time of usual smashed potatoes to get on the table because you steam the potatoes ahead of time and then use them throughout the week. Use a steamer basket in a pot or a rice cooker to steam up several servings of potatoes then smash and roast them when they’re needed! Fries and potato chips must give potatoes a bad reputation because potatoes are actually a pretty sensible food choice. In fact, they’re nutritionally very similar to the more popular-seeming sweet potato! They have a similar amount of fiber as a sweet potato and even more potassium, which is an important nutrient. (Here’s a link if you want to know more about potatoes’ nutritional value.)

I usually buy the bags of mini potatoes (my favorite is a ‘medley’ assortment with white, red, and purple potatoes), but you can also hunt through the red or white potato bin for the smallest ones you can find. This recipe works best with potatoes that  are 2″ or less at the broadest point, preferably even smaller.

mini potato medley

These small potatoes only need to steam for about 20 minutes. At this point, you can either smash and roast them right away or pop the steamed potatoes in the fridge to roast later. If you’re planning to roast them a different day, don’t smash them hot out of the steam basket – wait and smash them right before you’re ready to put them in the oven. After smashing with a glass, measuring cup, or large spoon, sprinkle with olive oil and your favorite seasonings (sea salt, freshly ground pepper, rosemary, and thyme are our usual choices!), and roast for about 20 minutes until the edges are golden brown and crunchy. So tasty!

make ahead smashed roasted potatoes

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Mostly Make-Ahead Roast Potatoes
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • Mini potatoes - as many servings as you'd like to prep ahead!
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil per 5.3 oz serving of potatoes (using more oil will make for crispier potatoes so feel free to adjust this based on your dietary needs! Using less than 1 teaspoon/serving will be inadequate to crisp the potatoes)
  • Seasonings, to taste (salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, etc)
To prep the potatoes
  1. Steam your potatoes either in a pot fitted with a steamer basket, a microwave steamer, or rice cooker with a steamer basket. The exact amount of time needed will depend on the size of your potatoes, but the mini medley potatoes are generally fully cooked in 20 minutes. The potatoes should be very soft but not splitting.
  2. Use potatoes immediately or store some/all of them for later use. I like to simply put the steamer basket in the fridge then transfer the potatoes to a container with a lid once they're cool. This prevents condensation in the potatoes' container.
To roast the potatoes
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the fridge (or steamer!) and portion out however many you'd like to cook.
  3. Place the potatoes on a heavy rimmed baking tray (a good baking sheet makes all the difference! I use and love this one) and flatten each one with a measuring cup, glass, large spoon, etc. Each potato should be flattened until it is ½" or less in thickness.
  4. Drizzle half the olive oil over the potatoes, flip them, and then pour on the other half. Use your fingers, a brush, or the back of a spoon to spread it across the surface of each smashed potato.
  5. Sprinkle seasonings across the potatoes. Just season to taste and you can add whatever you like! As mentioned above, freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, rosemary, and thyme are favorites here. Chives, red pepper, and oregano work well, too, just to name a few!
  6. Place the tray on the middle rack of the preheated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes. Carefully flip the potatoes and roast 7-10 minutes more, until the potatoes have become golden brown and crispy on the edges.
  7. Remove from the oven, serve, and enjoy. =)

mostly make-ahead roast potatoes

If you want a really tasty treat, sprinkle feta on the potatoes once they’re out of the oven. Then they’re even more delicious!

Even though low-carb diets seem quite popular, I’m not a fan. I believe it’s all about timing – eating the right carbs at the right time. Carbs are fuel, and if you’re active your body needs fuel! Yes, there are plenty of junky carbs with little nutritional value available, but if you choose your carbs wisely and select whole, real foods, you’ll end up with nutrient-dense items that are the perfect addition to a healthy diet.

Do you use any make ahead tricks to put dinner on the table more quickly on busy days?


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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • BeadedTail January 12, 2016, 13:33

    I love potatoes so am pretty sure I could never banish them from our meals. This is a great idea to speed up the cooking process and have a yummy side too!

    • Natashalh January 13, 2016, 07:20

      We’ve actually started steaming potatoes for mashed potatoes, too. It’s so much less hassle and you don’t have to babysit as aggressively when you use a rice cooker as a steamer! We’ve had lots of potatoes lately. =)

  • Edi January 12, 2016, 14:07

    These are a great substitute to a boring baked potato. And I like their small size. I especially love that part of the process can be done ahead of time…bonus!

    • Natashalh January 13, 2016, 07:23

      The bags of small potatoes cost slightly more, but I think it’s totally worth it because they’re so much quicker to cook!

  • Paige January 13, 2016, 02:58

    I make roasted “fries” in the oven, but I was wasting time slicing my potatoes. I’ll smash them with a glass next time!

    And YES to the carb footnote at the end. You can’t cut out carbs and be healthy. I think I left a comment once telling you about the woman who blows up my Facebook feed with a bunch of diet nonsense, and how she literally thinks eating as much bacon and cheese as she wants is healthy because they’re both low-carb. There’s just so much misinformation out there.

    • Natashalh January 13, 2016, 07:22

      I know someone who doesn’t really eat carbs. At least two sometimes, actually. I feel sad for them because they’re missing out on so many tasty thing! I mean, most vegetables are carbs and I’ve heard people talking about how they couldn’t have these carrots as a snack because they had too many carbs.
      I’ve made oven fries before, too, and this totally takes way less time!

  • Duni January 13, 2016, 23:50

    Yum! These potatoes look so delicious and with Feta cheese 🙂
    I burn off calories simply by sneezing haha. I eat copious amounts of carbs too!

    • Natashalh January 14, 2016, 07:18

      Potatoes have an incredible amount of potassium. On days when we don’t have them, it’s difficult for me to get enough of the mineral!
      For me the energy level once I started eating ‘more’ was incredible! I didn’t realize that I’d been under-eating for a long time. Glad I’m not the only one who enjoys some tasty carbs. =)

  • Julie January 14, 2016, 20:33

    Now if I only had an oven…! These look delicious. I’m definitely limiting my carb intake at the moment to shed some weight, but I try to eat healthy carbs. And on workout days, I definitely need carbs or I end up getting so incredibly tired!

    • Natashalh January 15, 2016, 07:18

      Yes, trying to workout without carbs doesn’t really work! And, as you know, there is a huge difference between a handful of pretzels and, say, brown rice. We definitely eat a lot of “complex” carbs around here!

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