I’ve always been a potato lover, anywhere from mashed potatoes (favorite!) to french fries, I can take down any potato, any way. So much so, that growing up, if a restaurant had loaded baked potato soup and a loaded baked potato on the menu, I would get both. (I know! Super not healthy.) Partly, I think it’s the comfort food factor of potatoes, if I’m sick, I usually want mashed potatoes or if I just need a super fast dinner, a baked potato is the way to go. For breakfast, I always want potatoes in the form of homefries or hashbrowns, either way is fine by me, especially if they are vegan breakfast potatoes. Even better if they are crispy, cheesy and fast, just like these!
These were created out of a need for satisfying a cheesy potato craving and, in all honesty, came about because I accidentally dumped a lot of nutritional yeast on a batch of breakfast potatoes. A lot of cheese sauces I’ve tried are too complicated or take too much time, and usually at breakfast, I just don’t have the patience to blend together a cheese sauce, clean the food processor, you know the drill. I needed some cheesiness, but not make the potatoes so heavy that the rest of the meal felt like too much. The best solution? Nutritional yeast! Nutritional yeast seemed like a weird and scary ingredient to me when I first started eating vegan. What is this yeast thing and why is it ‘cheesy’? Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast, so it won’t be a stand in for your next rising bread recipe , but it will be a perfect addition to a recipe to make it just a bit ‘cheesy’. I won’t lie to you and say these taste exactly like normal cheesy potatoes, but they are pretty darn good. Since they are so easy to throw together, they have become part of a go-to meal for using up roasted veggies too.
This dish comes together even faster if you bake a few potatoes ahead of time, that way you aren’t waiting for them to be ready, which is really the longest part of prep for these potatoes. Also, I’ve made the mistake of not just leaving them alone while they are cooking them in the pan, which results in a mushier homefries situation, which is not what we are going for here. We want crispy, cheesy, perfect breakfast potatoes! Pre-baking them ensures that they get cooked all the way through, but you aren’t toeing the line of burnt/waiting forever for the to cook in the pan. We had these last weekend with a few veggies sausages and apple pancakes that my fiance made, since we are still trying to eat through the tons of apples we picked a few weeks ago.
These would be perfect as a crispy potato crouton situation on top of baked potato soup, right? Or am I just potato crazy?
Easy Cheesy Breakfast Potatoes
- 2 medium Russet potatoes scrubbed
- 1 teaspoons paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pinches of sea salt
- 1/4-1/3 cup nutritional yeast more if desired
- 1/4 cup water
Pierce the potatoes with a fork and place in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until potatoes are soft to the touch. Alternatively, you can bake the potatoes in the oven ahead of time for 30-40 minutes. When potatoes are baked, dice into small pieces about 1/3-1/2 inch thick. Place in a medium bowl and set aside.
Heat a pan over medium high heat, spraying with non-stick oil, if desired. While pan is heating, add the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and sea salt to the potatoes. When pan is properly heated, place potatoes in the pan and spread out into one even layer. Make sure the potatoes are crowded, these won't get crisp!
Allow potatoes to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they start to become crispy. Turn the potatoes over with a spatula and allow them to cook for another couple of minutes. Right before taking the potatoes off the heat, sprinkle the nutritional yeast oven them, along with the water. As the potatoes sizzle in the water, stir the potatoes quickly so a sauce forms. If the pan is dry, add a bit more water, as needed. The goal is to form a cheesy saucy layer, without making the potatoes watery.
Remove potatoes from heat and serve.