The most delicious Vegan Oil-free Sun-dried Tomato Pesto with Crispy Smashed Potatoes is bursting with so much flavor and texture! It is a dish you serve to impress your guests and it is totally plant-based and healthy! It is also nut-free!
1tablespoonraw sunflower seeds or pine nuts if not nut-free
1/4teaspoonred pepper flakes
1packed cup (15g)fresh basil leaves
800gor 1.5 lb bagbaby gold potatoes
Tip: You can make the pesto the day before you want to eat these to save time if you like. Add the tomatoes to a bowl and pour boiling water over the top enough to fully submerge them. Soak for 30 minutes and then drain the soaking liquid into ANOTHER BOWL, not the sink!
Add 1 cup of the soaking liquid to a Vitamix or a food processor. I used my Vitamix for this and found it a bit annoying to blend, which required lots of stopping and scraping since the tomatoes are so chewy, they do get stuck a lot. It works, but just takes several minutes. While I haven't tested with a food processor, I'm sure it would work much easier.
Add the soaked tomatoes, nutritional yeast, garlic, sunflower seeds or pine nuts, red pepper flakes and 1/8 teaspoon salt and blend, starting on low and increasing speed, until smooth and thick like a pesto, stopping to scrape the sides multiple times until there are no longer chunks of tomato. Refer to photo in post. Once it is pretty smooth and thick, add the basil and process again on slow until it's well incorporated. I blended it over and over until it was nice and smooth, but thick, like in the photo. (It makes 1 1/4 cups pesto)
While the tomatoes are soaking, add the potatoes to a large pot filled with water at least 2 inches above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and once boiling, cook 15-20 minutes until fork tender.
Drain the potatoes and let cool a bit until you can safely handle them. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Add the potatoes to the pan and mash each one down gently to about 1/2 inch thick, using a spatula (I used a metal spatula). It's ok if some of the edges break up, just push them back together.
Salt and pepper each potato well. Remember, potatoes need seasoning! If you don't want a strong pepper flavor, add just a small amount.
Bake for 15 minutes, remove the pan and spread about a tablespoon or so of the pesto on top of each potato.
Turn the oven to broil LOW and bake another 10-15 minutes or until the edges of the potatoes are getting really golden brown, as pictured. Be careful to watch the parchment paper so that it doesn't get too brown towards the end. Serve immediately!
Prep time does not include soaking time of the sun-dried tomatoes.