Tender boiled potatoes, smooshed flat and then roasted in the oven until their edges are just perfect, these crispy smashed potatoes are an irresistible side — or snack or appetizer! — topped with creamy, herbaceous vegan tzatziki sauce, just like a mini two-bite, sour cream loaded baked potato (only better because, crispy edges!).
Meet one of my go-to side dishes for summer veggie burgers, in place of goopy potato salads: crispy smashed potatoes! Think of them like mini loaded baked potatoes, only 10X better, because they’re portable, and portion control is ever so much better easier you can eat your fill, without feeling like you still have a chunk of baked potato to work through on your plate, lol. And, yo, they’re crispy!
What makes these crispy smashed potatoes unique, though, is the homemade vegan tzatziki topping. Tzatziki is not necessarily traditional on potatoes, but, if you or the fam were/are sour-cream-on-potatoes fans, you’ll want to try this dairy-free substitute instead. Herby and creamy, the flavors of vegan tzatziki pair perfectly with potatoes.
Another advantage of crispy mashed potatoes over baked potatoes is that, since the small potatoes are smashed flat, the oven roasting almost guarantees even cooking and doneness — no surprises when you test the potatoes, only to discover some are cooked through, while others aren’t (womp-womp).
Tips for How to make Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- 1. Boil the potatoes until tender. I love the little new red potatoes — they’re a great size for smooshing and two-bite noshing. Small Yukon golds are great, too! Boiling softens the potatoes so you can smash them flat.
- 2. Load up the boiled potatoes on a baking sheet and, using a potato masher or a large, sturdy fork, press on the potatoes straight down, taking care not break the potato apart. Lift gently and slowly, so that you can easily piece the potato together, should it come apart. Then rotate the masher 90° and press again to complete the flattening.
- 3. Brush the smashed potatoes with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the flesh is golden with crispy — but not burnt — edges.
- 4. Let cool slightly, then top with the herbaceous and creamy vegan tzatziki sauce. Use a thin spatula to transfer to a platter, and serve immediately.
Although traditionally a Greek condiment served on gyros, lamb or souvlaki, tzatziki sauce is really just a vegetable dip, and can be used as a substitute for sour cream.
It’s so easy to make homemade vegan tzatziki sauce that you’ll regret never having done it before, even if you’ve never even thought about doing it before. At least, that’s how strong *my* regret was.
How to make Vegan Tzatziki Sauce
- First, peel, grate and set the cucumbers to strain. Cucumbers are quite watery, and you’ll want to get out the excess liquid, leaving behind only the true cucumber essence in the cucumbers. Which is a fancy way of saying, don’t let the liquid water down your tzatziki! Cucumbers are easy to grate on a box grater, or run them through your food processor with the grating disk. Gather up the grates in a paper towel or tea towel, and squeeze gently. Transfer the grates to a sieve set over a bowl, and let finishing draining for about an hour. You’ll be surprised how much liquid comes out!
- While the cucumbers drain, blend up the cashew cream. If you’re not using a high-powered blender, make sure you soak the cashews for at least 2 hours. Depending on the cashews, your sauce will indeed be white, just like a dairy-based sauce. Don’t use roasted cashews: while it seems like a good idea (roasted = yummy snacking), you really want the neutral flavor of raw cashews.
- Side note about raw cashews, for people considering a raw diet: most raw cashews are not completely “raw.” The wonderful, edible nut grows encased in a shell that has a toxic resin lining. Care must be taken during processing in order to prevent exposure of the nut to that resin. Usually, the shelled nuts are steamed, boiled, or roasted prior to shell removal. While the nut inside the shell is not cooked, per se, it has been processed to safely remove that shell.
- Chop the fresh mint and dill. I do recommend using fresh herbs, if possible. It’s not that dried herbs aren’t quality options, but herbs like dill and mint shine so much brighter when fresh. And in the summer, they’re easily grown at home.
- Mix everything together and then, if possible, let rest in the fridge for an hour or so. This lets the flavors meld to create a more intensely flavored sauce.
I recently purchased a Vitamix blender and … whoa … I cannot even believe the difference. I have a Nutribullet, which I love (and still love — I use it for quick salad dressings and small-quantity smoothies), but after several years, I felt it was starting to lose processing power, especially with all of the cashew- and seed-based sauces that I make every week.
I stalled making the purchase for I-don’t-even-know-how-many months, and finally decided to just go for it! And I’m so glad I did. The Nutribullet did a fine job blending the cashews, but the Vitamix produces an outstanding result. The cashew cream is sooooo smooth, it’s almost like mousse.
So, I encourage anyone who will be making lots of homemade sauces, dressings, and vegan cheeses to save up those pennies and invest in a professional grade high-speed blender. It’s sort of painful hitting that Add to Cart button, but once you open the box and give it a whirl, you’ll wonder why you waited so long!
Crispy smashed potatoes topped with vegan tzatziki also make craveworthy appetizers for summer parties and cookouts. They’re even make-ahead-able: whip up the tzatziki sauce the day before and stash it in the fridge. Then roast up the smashed potatoes a couple of hours before the party. Top them with the sauce just before serving.
I do make these all year round, though, because they go great with soup and stews!
Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Vegan Tzatziki
for the tzatziki sauce
- 1 cup raw, whole cashews
- 1/2 large field cucumber
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
for the potatoes
- 12 small potatoes, well-scrubbed. New potatoes or fingerlings are terrific (figure 3 to 4 potatoes person)
- Olive oil
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- Coarse sea salt
for the tzatziki sauce
- Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with water by 1/2". Let soak for an hour, then drain, discarding the soaking liquid.
- While the cashews soak, peel the cucumber and remove the seeds. Grate the cucumber on a box grater, and transfer the grates to a sieve set in a bowl. Press the cucumber grates with a paper towel, and let drain until ready to use, discarding the cucumber liquid.
- Add the drained cashews and 1/2 cup water, lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic to a high-performance blender, and blend. Stop after 30 seconds, and check the mixture. If it's thick and grainy like paste, add a tablespoon of water, and blend for another 30 seconds. Check again. Add another tablespoon of water, if necessary, and blend. The sauce should creamy-smooth.
- Scrape the sauce into a bowl, and stir in the drained cucumbers, herbs and salt. Cover, and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. Taste. Add a pinch more salt for a pop of flavor, and/or a small splash of lemon juice for additional tang.
for the potatoes
- Boil or steam the potatoes until a fork or knife easily pierces a potato all the way through (about a half hour). Towards the end of the cooking time, preheat the oven to 450°
- Transfer potatoes to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Use a potato masher or a large-tined fork to gently flatten the potato. Turn the masher or fork 90° and press again. Scoot stray potato pieces back to their pile. (The baking process will bind the pieces together in a tender-crispy little disk.)
- Brush each potato with olive oil. Sprinkle with black pepper, salt and rosemary (or your herb of choice).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until crispy, but not darkly browned. Serve immediately.