I received an email from a reader a while ago, who asked me to come up with more breakfast recipes, as she struggled with a lack of variety. I dragged my feet a little, as I am not a massive breakfast person myself. I tend to have porridge (or oatmeal if you live in the US) in winter and bircher muesli in the summer. Occasionally, I will treat myself to a bagel or a sourdough toast with almond butter and jam, or a stack of pancakes if I am in a festive mood. And a mug of good black coffee! Now, that’s a must, as my inability to get out of bed in the morning is almost legendary!! It’s just as well I no longer have a job to go to (I have no idea how I ever managed that) or kids to feed 😛 (nope, I didn’t drown them, never had any…).
It’s not that I ever skip breakfast, I am just never in that much of a rush to eat in the morning, which is something of a contentious point between me and Duncan. He hardly ever even talks to me before he has eaten and I’ve learnt not to fight it anymore. His pre-breakfast grumpiness directed at me, an innocent bystander, used to really annoy me in the past.
This morning, I’ve had a bit of an insight into what it must be like being a pre-breakfast Duncan. I had a 6:30 AM get-up due to an early hospital appointment. It was way too early for me to eat (plus I wanted to minimise my awake time), so I decided to grab something on the go or eat after I got home. Unfortunately, there was no decent vegan breakfast option out this early and the appointment ran almost an hour late, so I did not get home until 11:00 AM. All I had until then was a soy flat white. I was ravenous by the time I got in and not in the mood for small talk either 😉 .
So going back to my reader’s request, these vegan potato skins with smoky chickpeas is one savoury breakfast option I can get behind. Both components can be made a day ahead and then re-heated in the morning. In fact, making the chickpeas in advance improves their flavours, so that’s what I would recommend. These are a gluten-free equivalent of beans on toast, full of plant goodness and excellent for using up leftovers (they were inspired by a bag of Maris Piper potatoes I forgot I had). They go really well with a dollop of vegan yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh herbs. A little smashed avocado would not be out of place here either, but that’s totally optional. These bad boys are uncomplicated to make, hearty and warm and provide a nice change from your usual breakfast fare.
- 4 medium-large potatoes (I used Maris Piper variety)
- olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ level tsp cumin
- ½-1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1-2 tsp ancho chilli paste, adjust to taste
- 400 g / 14 oz quality plum tomatoes
- ½ tsp salt, adjust to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp date syrup or sugar (optional), adjust to taste
- a squeeze of lime, optional
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
- thick vegan yogurt or vegan sour cream, to serve
- Scrub the potatoes well and parboil them for about 15 minutes (from the moment the water comes to the boil again). Once parboiled, drain them and allow them to cool down completely.
- While the potatoes are cooling, heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Fry shallots and garlic until shallots are translucent and garlic soft.
- Add the spices and ancho chilli paste and coat the shallot and garlic mixture in them. Fry gently for another minute, stirring frequently so that the spices do not burn.
- Add plum tomatoes and all their juices into the pan, squashing the tomatoes with a fork. Next add in a can of water (I rinse my can with water) and salt. Allow the sauce to simmer on a low heat, stirring it from time to time until the tomatoes are cooked and the sauce has thickened. Top up with a little more water if the pan gets too dry before the tomatoes have had a chance to cook fully.
- Taste and season with more salt (if needed), pepper, sugar and lime juice.
- Stir in cooked chickpeas and allow them to warm up. Adjust the consistency of the sauce to your liking by adding a splash more water to loosen it up a bit. If you can, allow the sauce to rest overnight for the flavours to improve.
- Heat up the oven to 180° C / 355° F and line a baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
- Cut the cooled-down potatoes into halves lengthwise (cut them so that the resulting halves are stable). Using a melon baller or an apple corer, scoop most of the flesh out, leaving about ½ cm / 1/8″ of flesh all over*.
- Brush the exposed potato flesh with a little olive oil and season with salt. Bake them for about 20 minutes, then turn the oven up to 250° C / 480° F and move the tray with potatoes up one notch. Bake for another 10-15 mins, until the rims are nicely browned.
- Fill each potato skin with the chickpeas. Serve with a dollop of vegan yoghurt, a sprinkle of black pepper and fresh herbs.