Mediterranean Loaded Smashed Potatoes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Mediterranean Loaded Smashed Potatoes on a plate.

(Whole30, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
By Stephanie Vanlochem of CookbyColor Nutrition

These Loaded Smashed Potatoes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce will please the whole family and are vegan, gluten and dairy free! The potatoes are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and the perfect vessel for the delicious Mediterranean-inspired Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, which is bold, flavorful, and made with Artisana Organics Cashini, made from cashew butter and tahini. This creamy, vegan sauce is vibrant and delicious and will quickly become a family-favorite sauce. In addition to pairing perfectly with the potatoes, this Roasted Red Pepper Sauce will be a tasty addition to many of your favorite foods!

This recipe was proudly made in partnership with Artisana Organics.

How can I use this Roasted Red Pepper Sauce?

This Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is versatile. Pair it with other Mediterranean inspired flavors as they are in these Loaded Smashed Potatoes, but would slay in any kind of burger, bowl, sandwich or flavor enhancer on eggs, avocado toast and more!

Dipping: It’s the perfect dip for anything from raw veggies to plantain chips to slices of roasted potatoes to crackers. Obviously, if you’re on a Whole30, choose your dippers wisely!

Dressing: The sauce, potentially thinned out with a little olive oil and/ or lemon juice, makes a fabulous dressing for salads, roasted vegetables, loaded baked potatoes, eggs, meat of all kinds, and fish.

A jar of Artisana Cashini with ingredients prepped to make red pepper sauce

What is Cashini?

Cashini is the marriage of tahini and cashew butter - and it’s unbelievably luscious as the base of this creamy, vegan, Roasted Pepper sauce.

Tahini is a ground paste, or seed butter, made from roasted sesame seeds. It has a creamy texture, and a slightly nutty, sweet flavor. Most people probably know it as a key ingredient in hummus or baba ganoush. Once opened, tahini is best stored in the refrigerator. You can find it online on the Artisana site, as well as at most natural food stores, Mediterranean grocery stores, and Whole Foods Market locations.

Cashew butter is naturally sweet nut butter made from cashews. Artisana’s cashew butter is raw - they never roast, toast, or bake their nuts to make sure you get a minimally-processed product with tons of micronutrients. The cashew butter has no added sugars, oils, or salts. It’s just organic cashews in a super spreadable form!

To make Cashini, Artisana blends tahini with cashew butter! It’s a little savory, a little sweet, and the perfect treat – and it contains just three organic ingredients (Raw Organic Cashews, Organic Sesame Seeds and Sea Salt)! Cashini is Whole30 Approved, Vegan, Keto, and Paleo friendly.

What’s in the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce?

Artisana Cashini - Its unique flavor made from cashew butter and sesame butter makes this sauce so special and delicious.

Roasted red bell peppers - You can easily make these yourself or buy a jar at your grocery store.

Roasted garlic - Roasting garlic always amps up the flavor - don’t skip it. You can buy it at the olive bar at your specialty grocery store.

Roasted shallot or onion - Same as above. Roast your shallot or onion to maximize the flavor in this dip.

Sumac - An essential spice in Middle Eastern cooking that will add acidity, color, and a citrusy flavor to your sauce.

Lemon zest and Lemon juice - These add acidity to your sauce for balance along with some texture.

Olive oil and Salt - These basic pantry staples make everything better!

Smashed potatoes on a green plate, other ingredients surround it for assembling the recipe.

What are Loaded Smashed Potatoes?

I wanted to call these Mediterranean Nachos, but truly, is there anything more satisfying than smashed, crispy potatoes loaded with all the good stuff? These potatoes are Whole30, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and ABSOLUTELY delicious!

How do you make Loaded Smashed Potatoes?

Simply take your favorite small potatoes – fingerling or any other variety. Parboil them until they’re just fork tender. Then smash them with a plate, bowl, jar or heavy skillet. Brush them with olive oil, and broil them in the oven until they are crispy. Then load them up with any of your favorite Whole30-friendly toppings such as olives, avocado, pickled red onions, chopped green onions, cherry tomatoes, herbs, pickled jalapenos, and za’atar and MOST importantly - drizzle and dip with this luscious Artisana cashini Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.

How is this Roasted Red Pepper Sauce vegan and Whole30?

The recipe calls for no dairy and all of the ingredients are compatible with Whole30. The Cashini’s tahini and cashew butter take the place of cream and give the sauce a creamy texture - without any dairy! This sauce is so versatile and can be used to jazz up any veggies, eggs, and meat. It will give your leftovers a quick makeover!

Why do I love Artisana Organics for Whole30?

Artisana makes Whole30 so tasty and convenient! Their nut butters are a great source of healthy fat, which is a key component of Whole30. Artisana’s raw nut butters are perfect to use to make creamy sauces and they’re also delicious eaten as is, with apple slices or roasted sweet potato wedges.The Artisana snack pouches are super convenient for times when you’re hiking, traveling, or just need a quick snack or mini meal while you’re on the go!

What are my favorite Artisana Organics products?

They are truly all wonderful - it’s hard to pick a favorite! I love Artisana’s Cashew Butter, and pair it with fruit to help keep my blood sugar regulated as part of a mini meal. The Tahini makes a perfect base for so many delicious sauces. The Cashini is a spectacular blend of sweeter Cashew Butter and rich sesame Tahini, which also works so well in several sauces. The Coconut Butter really jazzes up fruit - it’s amazing drizzled over grilled pineapple or on top of a fruit salad for a special potluck offering.

How to Roast Red Bell Peppers:

You can absolutely use jarred bell peppers for this recipe, but I do encourage you to learn this helpful skill too! It’s so easy to roast bell peppers, and they are so lovely to have on hand for this sauce, to throw on salads, add to pasta salad, pizza or quinoa.

  1. Preheat the Oven: Broil setting. Broiling cooks food with high, direct heat from the top element of the oven, which will help blister the peppers quickly.
  2. Place on Baking Sheet: Place the whole bell peppers directly on a baking sheet. You can line the sheet with aluminum foil for easier clean up.
  3. Broil the Peppers: Put the baking sheet with the peppers in the oven on the top rack, directly under the broiler. Keep a close eye on the peppers as they broil. You want the skin to char and blister, turning black in places.
  4. Rotate and Monitor: Use tongs to rotate the peppers every few minutes, ensuring that all sides get evenly blistered. The whole process will likely take around 10-15 minutes, but it can vary based on your oven's broiling strength and the size of the peppers.
  5. Transfer to a Bag or Bowl: Remove the peppers and immediately place the hot peppers into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. The trapped steam will help loosen the skins and make them easier to peel; aim for about 10-15 minutes. This process will leave behind precious, delicious red pepper juice that will be amazing in any sauce, reserve this in the bowl!
  6. Peel the Peppers: After the peppers have steamed, carefully remove them from the bag or bowl. Gently peel off the blistered skin. The skin should come off easily, revealing the softened flesh underneath. As you go remove as many seeds as possible.

Smashed potatoes on a plate surrounded by ingredients prepped and ready in small bowls.

How to Roast Garlic:

You can use store bought roasted garlic, often found in the olive bar section of Whole Foods! This is so easy, hands on time is 1 minute. It’s so great to have this on hand for all sorts of applications. Roasted garlic is great in all sauces, dips, toppings, salads, charcuterie platters and more. Follow the same process for the shallot as well!

  1. Preheat your air fryer to around 350°F.
  2. Prep the Garlic Bulb: Slice the ‘head’ off of the garlic, exposing the individual cloves.
  3. Wrap the bulbs: Pour on 1-2 tsp olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and wrap them in foil.
  4. Roasting Time: Roast the garlic cloves for about 15-20 minutes. Check on them periodically and shake the basket or give them a gentle toss to ensure even cooking.
  5. Check for Doneness: The garlic cloves are done when they are soft and caramelized. Carefully peel back the foil to expose the bulb and check for doneness.
  6. Cool and Peel: Once the roasted garlic cloves are done, remove them from the air fryer and let them cool slightly. The cloves will be hot, so be cautious while handling them. Once they've cooled a bit, you can gently squeeze each clove to pop out the softened garlic from the skins.

Two plates of loaded smashed potatoes with red pepper sauce.

Red Pepper Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 whole roasted red bell peppers (homemade instructions see above, or use store bought)
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted bell pepper juice
  • 1 whole roasted head of garlic (homemade instructions see above, or use store bought)
  • 1 whole roasted shallot or ¼ small onion
  • ½ cup Artisana Organics Cashini
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • 1-3 tbsp olive oil, divided - depending on your desired consistency
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice, approximately ½ lemon, divided- depending on your desired consistency
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Salt to taste

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

  1. Add the Artisana Cashini, bell peppers, garlic, shallot, sumac, lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp red bell pepper juice, and 1 tbsp olive oil into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, approximately 1 minute.
  2. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning and consistency to your preferences using the remaining amounts of lemon juice, bell pepper juice, olive oil, salt.

Mediterranean Loaded Smashed Potatoes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce on a plate.

Smashed Potato Ingredients

  • 1 pound of small potatoes (fingerling, banana, kennebec, etc)
  • 2-3 tbsp salt, divided
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

Optional Topping Ingredient Ideas: The idea here is to make this flexible to what you have, what you enjoy and make it colorful and fun!

Herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, dill)
Olives (kalamata, black, green)
Roasted red peppers
Pickled jalapeno
Red onion (pickled or raw)
Cherry tomatoes
Sesame seeds
Za’atar (sesame, dry herb seasoning mix)

Smashed Potato Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the small potatoes in.
  2. When they are fork tender, drain the water and place them on a kitchen towel lined sheet pan. Dry them well with the towel.
  3. Using a jar, bowl, or skillet, smash the hot potatoes and arrange them on the sheet pan spaced out. The thinner you smash them, the crispier they will get!
  4. Brush each potato with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 475 for about 10 minutes, checking halfway through.

How should I store this sauce?

Store the sauce in an airtight container in your fridge. It will last up to one week in the fridge. The sauce will thicken in the refrigerator. You can thin it out with olive oil, lemon juice and/or some juice from the roasted red bell peppers.