Smoked Feta Pesto Twice Baked Potatoes

I can't even with this recipe.

I'm posting this on the week of Thanksgiving because I think these would make an impressive addition to any holiday table. And if you're heading to someone else's home, this would be a great recipe to bring! Not messy, travels well, and easy to reheat. Oh, and they're SO GOOD.

 

Smoked Feta Pesto Twice Baked Potatoes 

  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves OR 2 cups basil, 1 cup arugula (I like the peppery hit of a little arugula)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground sea salt
  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk OR grassfed cream or milk
  • 1 cup crumbled smoked feta (I used Brookford Farm. If you can't find smoked feta, use regular - but the smoked cheese really does add a lovely flavor)
  • Optional: 4-6 pieces pastured bacon

In a 400 degree oven, place potatoes on oven rack. Bake until softened, about an hour.

Meanwhile, make the pesto. Combine basil, lemon juice, EVOO and salt in a blender and blend until combined. It's okay if the mixture is kind of chunky. Set aside in a small bowl. (You could instead use about 1/2 cup of a pre-made pesto if you're short on time.)

Take potatoes out of oven and turn it up to 425. Cut baked potatoes in half lengthwise, then scoop out the the middle. Be careful with this, as you want the skins to remain intact and sturdy - no leaky boats. Transfer innards into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and stir to mix thoroughly. Using a spatula, fold in pesto sauce. Once incorporated, mix in feta crumbles. 

Spoon the mixture equally into potato skin boats. Arrange in a baking dish and place back into the oven for about 20 minutes, until tops are slightly browned.

Optional: Do you want to up the WOW factor on this recipe? Cook up 4-6 pieces of bacon well done. Allow to cool, then transfer into a food processor. Pulse until crumbled. Stir the bacon crumbles into the potato mixture before re-baking.