Potato Boats with "Sour Cream" and Herbs

The expression, “it’s complicated” is often enough to make the blood drain from my face and my forehead break out in a cold sweat. 

For example:

Scene One: Ricki and her then-boyfriend, Rocker Guy (he of the black leather pants) at Rocker Guy’s apartment, shortly after Ricki stumbles upon RG sitting a little too close to a buxom woman in a restaurant booth.

Ricki: So, who was that woman you were canoodling with?

Rocker Guy (smooth as rayon-polyethylene-nylon blend faux silk): Um, er, well. . .  it’s complicated.

Scene Two: Ricki snuggles up to the HH, who is reclining on the couch and has been watching a movie for the past fifteen minutes. 

Ricki: So, what did I miss?

HH: I can’t really summarize it for you at this point–you’ve just missed too much.  It’s complicated.

Scene Three: Ricki is on the telephone with the customer service rep at Bosch (the company that made her gas range) asking about why, when she has a five-year warranty and the range is only three months old and has already had four repairs to a convection fan that is still working incorrectly, she can’t get a refund or a new oven.

Ricki:  So, if I have a full warranty with money-back guarantee, and my oven refuses to work no matter how many times you repair it, why can’t I get my money back?

Rep: Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. . .

Clearly, not the most auspicious phrase in my life. (And just in case you’re wondering, Rocker Guy was, indeed, cheating with that woman; the HH never did explain Memento to me; and I am still using the same, convection-less, oven–four years later).

But when it comes to food and cooking, “it’s complicated” doesn’t strike me as the least bit intimidating–in fact, it doesn’t phase me at all. I can summarize the same recipe with both adjectives, “complicated” and “simple” simultaneously.

For example, a crisp, green, veggie-rich salad can be both complicated and easy at the same time.  It may take a lot of space on the counter, a cutting board, sharp knife and some dexterity to create a multi-veggie, multicolored salad, but the actual work involved is fairly simple: peel the carrots, grate the beet, slice the tomato, tear up the greens. Voilà!–delicious, textured, flavorful salad.

Similarly, mixing up something like this Kale and Potato Lasagna may require a complicated symphony of individual components (making the sauce, cooking the filling, etc), but once you’ve got the parts together, it’s a simple matter of layering ingredients and baking the whole shebang while you go ahead and attend to something else.  Easy peasy!

Have you ever seeded a pomegranate?  It’s a little complicated, but not in the least difficult.  All you need is a sharp knife, a big bowl of water, skimming action, and a colander or slotted spoon.  The reward is a bowlful of glistening, plump arils, providing an abundance of ruby, juice-filled pearls, which, when popped in your mouth, squirt their sublime liquid like those childhood wax pop bottles filled with sweet syrup.

I file these Potato Boats (more commonly referred to as “twice baked potatoes”) in that same category of “complicated, yet simple.” Potato Boats (as my mom called them) were an end-of-week tradition in our house.  Every Friday for supper my mother would serve baked potatoes with the flesh scooped out, then mashed with either sour cream and butter or milk and butter, returned to the skins and re-baked.  My mother always topped ours with neon orange shards of grated Kraft Cheese slices, which, when melted, eerily resembled the finish on those plastic Halloween pumpkins that kids tote around for trick or treating.  The meal was always rounded out with salmon patties, served up with a big dollop of ketchup.

My version of the childhood favorite is significantly less processed and a bit more elegant, filled with “sour cream” and herb mashed potatoes and omitting the tacky orange topper.  With a creamy, slightly tangy filling punctuated by flecks of your favorite fresh herbs, these potatoes would be suitable for a holiday meal or a side dish at a dinner party.  The HH and I enjoyed them served with a prototype of my next nut roast (I’ve been experimenting in honor of Johanna’s latest Neb at Nutroast event) and the HH was entirely smitten. Knowing his penchant for all things “cheese,” I inquired if he wanted his topped with some melted cheddar, but he said he thought they didn’t need it.  (Wheeeee!)

The recipe does require a bit of advance preparation, soaking the nuts and starting the “sour cream” in the morning, while the potatoes themselves need enough time to bake until very tender before you scoop out their insides. But once the ingredients are assembled, the final preparation is remarkably simple. 

I was even able to freeze the two leftover halves, which stood up well when reheated.  When I served the remainder of the nutroast to the HH for dinner a few days later, he requested the last of the Potato Boats alongside it.

Ricki: Um, there are no more potato boats.

HH: But didn’t you put two of them in the freezer just a couple of days ago? 

Ricki: Yes.

HH: So, what happened to them?

Ricki : Well, it’s complicated. . .

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With the accent on herbs in these babies, I thought this would be a great submission to Weekend Herb Blogging, the weekly event founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen and now being run by Haalo of Cook Anything.  I haven’t participated in a long time, so I’m glad to be submitting this recipe this time round! This week the event is hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.   I’m also submitting this to Amy’s weekly Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (event though these do taste *very* indulgent!).

Last Year at this Time: Eating My Words: Sandwich with Raw “Egg” Salad

Two Years Ago: Maple Mania II: Maple Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream (not ACD friendly; frosting is gluten free)

Three Years Ago: The Best Laid Plans [including cute dog pics!]

© Ricki Heller

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. My husband would die and go to heaven if I made these. He loves potatoes. I didn’t fully understand Memento even though i watched it twice. It’s one of those we aren’t meant to get.

    • Thanks, Bitt. I think my hubby liked them because they tasted like they had actual sour cream in them. 😉 And I did end up watching Memento again, from the beginning–loved every minute, even if I didn’t understand each one 100%!

  2. Beautiful dairy-free (wheeee, indeed!) potato boats or twice-bakeds as we do prefer calling them at our house. (Hubby loves twice-bakeds, he’s not big on potato boats. Sometimes it’s all in how you sell something!) Another delightful post, Ricki. Loved the ending! I don’t know why husband’s expect food to hang around like that. 😉 Sometimes the freezer can be a very temporary holding spot. LOL


    • I have no idea how those last two twice-bakeds (won’t call them boats in case your hubby is around) disappeared (wink, wink)! 😉

  3. oh wow. suddenly i absolutely need some potato. 😀 those must taste fabulous.!

    • They were a fantastic treat for me–especially now that white potatoes are making a regular rotation back in my diet. 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Those sound great, Ricki. I definitely need to try these seeing as I have an obsession with potatoes lately. I don’t think they’d even make it to my freezer.

    • I think it’s easy to get a little obsessed with potatoes–they are so delish, after all. And these, well, I think I’d better not make them again for a while. 😉

  5. Oh yum!! I’ve never been a fan of twice baked potatoes (I think it was the bacon and overly heavy consistency) but THESE look fantastic! Filed away! =)

  6. I once heard a comedian joke about randomly throwing a potato into the oven when he wasn’t even in the mood for a baked potato, because by the time it would be ready he might have changed his mind. So true! I almost never bake potatoes because of their lengthy baking time. That said, these boats would certainly be worth the wait! The fiance is going to freak out about this one, mark my words 😉

    • Ha, ha! Okay, I can’t wait to hear what the fiance thinks! Interesting how several female readers have already commented that the men in their lives would like these. . . is this a particularly “manly” recipe, I wonder? 😉

  7. Rocker Guy sounds like a trickster. But these potatoes look like the real deal! I want to try with sweet potatoes. Yum!!!!

    • Ah, yes, that ole Rocker Guy! Haven’t mentioned him in a while, but when it comes to prevarication, he always comes to mind. Wonder why? Glad you like the look of the taters! 🙂

  8. Yum, yum, yum! Amazing recipe Ricki!!!

    And you sure know how to spin some interesting stories into food posts. Always fun to read.

    • I actually thought of you since it would otherwise rely so heavily on dairy, and this way it’s just, well, YUM. 😉 Glad you enjoyed the stories–hee hee!!

  9. A longtime lurker here. I love reading your blog even though I don’t have a special diet (outside of less sodium). I had to chuckle when pomegranate was mentioned. Everyone does the underwater method, but I’ve been eating them since I was a child and we just broke them open and ate the arils. Must be practice, I guess, but we really didn’t end up wearing much of the juice. “Memento”? Still puzzled.

    • Hi Tony,
      Thanks so much for the comment and for de-lurking! I love when that happens. 😀

      Re: pomegranate, to tell you the truth, about 99% of the time I just crack it open and pull off chunks of arils, chew them up in my mouth and spit out the pith. It takes about 30 minutes to eat a pomegranate this way (and I am happy to eat the whole thing by myself–my hubby hates them), and I do tend to slobber and drool, but hey, it’s just the two of us here and The Girls don’t seem to mind! If I need perfectly separated arils for a recipe, I use the underwater method. Sounds like you have much more practice than I do. 😉 And with all this reaction to Memento, I think I need to rent it and watch it again!

  10. Ha! I love how you finally got your “it’s complicated” revenge! 😛

    Yes! Potatoes! My dear delicious spuds! I am SO making these next time we go home. Mr. Wing-It can’t have potatoes very often because of his high triglycerides, so whenever I make something with potatoes it has to be extra tasty. He will love these!

    Now, do you need me to kick Rocker Guy’s butt? Cause I’ll do it. Let me go! Don’t hold me back! Let me at’him! Let me at’him!

  11. Potatoes! And the ‘sour cream’! I can see that for lunch or dinner with a big side of fresh green beans sautéed with garlic.

    So great to have you back – I was really missing your posts.

  12. Yummy! I will be making these little boat-like gems! And Ricki, if we had to vote for an all-time favourite post, this would be it. You made me laugh out-loud A LOT. Especially when you wrapped it all up with your use of the phrase. So well done! Heehee.

  13. I had hoped that I saw nut roast there! Love how you paired it with those baked potatoes – sound excellent – esp the sour cream

    I know exactly what you mean about complicated – E likes to say, it is too complicated so I will tell you later – which bugs me – but complicated cooking is interesting and yummy. For example a roast dinner is complicated but my mum can do it with one hand tied behind her back because she does it so often – I am not quite in her league but it isn’t that hard for me (Usually – last weekend excepted)

  14. hilarious post, ricki! my grandma millie used to make us these, we called them “twice baked potatoes.” she would top them with lots of paprika and that’s how i make them. so good! thanks for reminding me about proper baked potatoes–the thin skinned variety i usually buy just don’t cut it for something like this.


  15. Those sound delicious! I wouldn’t even miss the dairy, can tell by the ingredients how rich and yummy they are.

  16. Yum. My mom did the twice-baked potatoes thing, too and I never really understood them. I wasn’t much of a potato kid. I like them a lot more now. I bet a twice-baked sweet potato would be yummy, too.

  17. SO making these! They sound delicious.

  18. WOW – these look scrumptious! I love baked potatoes but never eat them because I feel guilty using margarine and Tofutti sour cream. This is an AWEOME alternative. Bookmarked and will make for sure!! 🙂

  19. Oh gosh, I tried to make stuffed baked potatoes once as a teenager and failed horribly. The potatoes were crunchy, and the mince filling went all weird and gelatinous. If that’s not enough to turn a girl off meat… 😛

    Thank you for restoring my faith in the possibility for baked potatoes to be truly delicious!

  20. Bookmarked. The boyfriend’s gonna go nuts over this.

  21. Distributor says

    This looks terrific. I’m going to have to try this! After switching to a healthier diet i never thought i’d taste ‘sour cream’ again but thank you for this!

  22. “Memento” – now that brings back some good times early when Scott and I were dating. It was one of the first flicks we watched on video together, and you *do* have to see it fr/ beginning (and even then).

    Thanks for revealing your woes with your range. We’re redoing the kitchen late spring, but selecting appliances is the worst headache.

    Love these potato boats. Cashews and tahini sound just terrific. Thanks for sharing your recipe for WHB!

  23. oh wow, i love the looks of this!! and memento is one of my all time favorite movies 🙂

  24. Oh man. I just started a three day juice detox…I’m thinking this potato boat will be my motivation for a successful completion! Looks wonderful 🙂

  25. Took a while for me to get it together but it’s worth it. Started soaking the cashews two days ago. Realized I didn’t have any soy milk so made some yesterday. Actually remembered to put the potatoes in the oven this afternoon. And now they’re browning in the oven! I can’t believe how much the sauce really tastes like sour cream – It’s amazing! Granted it’s been a few years since I tasted sour cream but still. Even my omnivore husband was licking his fingers. Yum! Thanks Ricki!

  26. Eric always wants to put cheese on everything too so I wonder if I made these what he would think! They look really amazing.

  27. I stumbled across your site and am enjoying perusing your recipes. I was super-excited to see this particular recipe because I love potatoes and kale! I clicked on the link for the enchiladas and unfortunately there was no kale potato enchilada to be found on their site. Any idea where to find the recipe?

    • Hi Vanessa,
      Thanks so much for your comment, and welcome to the blog! 🙂
      Unfortunately, it looks like the authors took down the recipe once it was published in their cookbook, Veganomicon. If you Google the recipe, though, it’s all over the place! Here’s one version. Hope that helps! 🙂

  28. Made these last night and they were fabulous! My husband kept saying that I have to make them for Christmas. . . we’ll see!
    Thanks for such a great recipe and I just wanted to let you know that enjoy your blog and all the wonderful recipes you share!
    Take care and happy holidays

    • Thanks so much, Andrea! I’m so glad you BOTH liked the potatoes! They’re a fave with my hubby, too. 🙂 And thanks for stopping back to let me know! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season as well. 😀

  29. I adore your writing, and your recipes, so much. My husband is going to love these potatoes. Thank you for this blog!


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