Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Pesto

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Platter full of Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Herb Pesto

I have a serious thing for potatoes (because carbs), but this recipe elevates it to an obsession.

We’ve all had breakfast potatoes and mashed potatoes and french fries, but what about smashed potatoes? Yeah, get ready for crispy, tender potatoes with a flavor explosion.

Carbs + sauce for the win.

Parchment-lined baking sheet with vegan smashed potatoes

These potatoes are easy to make, requiring just 9 ingredients and about 1 hour to make!

The concept is simple. Boil baby potatoes until tender. Then smash until almost flat and roast until crispy and golden brown. The result is a perfectly tender, buttery potato with golden-brown, crispy edges.

While that’s happening, make your creamy, garlic-herb vegan pesto! Just 5 minutes to make, insanely vibrant and flavorful, and such a gorgeous green hue. Now, we’re ready for assembly!

Food processor with ingredients for vegan Garlic Herb Pesto

I hope you all LOVE these potatoes! They’re:

Quick + Easy
& SO delicious

This would make the perfect hearty snack, side dish, or appetizer. They would pair with just about any cuisine, but especially Italian – think Simple Chickpea Bolognese, Butternut Squash Veggie Pizza, Eggplant ParmesanEggplant Stuffed Shells, Eggplant Lasagna Roll-Ups, 8-Ingredient Zucchini Lasagna, or Lentil Meatballs.

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Parchment-lined baking sheet full of Smashed Potatoes smothered with vegan Garlic Herb Pesto

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Pesto

Tender potatoes smashed, roasted until crispy, then topped with a creamy garlic-herb pesto! A delicious vegan and gluten-free appetizer or snack!
Author Minimalist Baker
Platter filled with Vegan Smashed Potatoes topped with pesto
4.92 from 37 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Course Appetizer, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days



  • 1 1/2 pounds baby gold/yellow potatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil (or sub other neutral oil)
  • 1 healthy pinch each sea salt & black pepper (~1/2 tsp as original recipe is written)


  • 2 heaping cups loosely packed fresh basil (large stems removed)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped // 2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp raw pine nuts or walnuts (for nut allergies, omit)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast*
  • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or sub other neutral oil)
  • 1 healthy pinch each sea salt & black pepper


  • Add rinsed potatoes to a large pot and cover with water until just submerged. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce to medium-high heat to achieve a low boil. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until tender and a knife easily slides in and out.
  • In the meantime, prepare pesto by adding basil, garlic, nuts, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast to a food processor and blending to combine. Stream in 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) a little at at time until a thick paste is formed. If trying to reduce fat, thin the sauce with water instead of additional oil. I like adding a little water to mine to make it more of a pourable sauce, but this is optional.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity, nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor, salt and pepper for overall flavor, or garlic for zing/bite. Transfer to a small serving dish and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (232 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the potatoes are soft and tender, place on the baking sheet and smash down with the bottom of a saucepan. For any larger potatoes, cut in half and then smash so they are still “bite size.”
  • Drizzle the potatoes with 1 1/2 Tbsp oil and season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) . Roast for 20-25 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
  • To serve, spoon the pesto over the potatoes (you will have leftovers). Garnish with chopped basil or parsley and additional pine nuts (optional).
  • Best when fresh. Store leftovers separately in the refrigerator. Potatoes will keep for 3-4 days. Pesto will keep for about 1 week (see notes for uses for leftovers). Reheat in a 350-degree oven until hot, then top with any leftover pesto.


*Nutritional yeast adds the cheesy flavor to the pesto. I purchase mine in bulk at Whole Foods, but you can also order it online. If not vegan, you can sub parmesan cheese.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with all of the pesto.
*If you have leftover pesto, add it to scrambles, pasta sauces, Sweet Potato Lasagna, or this Pea Pesto Pasta Salad!

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 274 Carbohydrates: 30.7 g Protein: 5.4 g Fat: 16.1 g Saturated Fat: 2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 304 mg Fiber: 5.5 g Sugar: 2.6 g

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My Rating:

  1. Alice Emery says

    How would I adapt this recipe for a big party? I want something easy to make for a large group. Maybe just boil the potatoes and stir in the pesto sauce over them?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Alice, you could, but they won’t be as flavorful that way. The crispiness from roasting is what really makes this recipe exceptional! What size group are you serving?

      • Alice Emery says

        I’m going to my mom’s 88th birthday party which is a picnic in the park and there will be no vegan food whatsoever so I would like to bring some thing that I could eat. There will be about 25 people there and I will be out of town staying at my parents house. Probably I should make a broccoli salad instead. This just looked really good!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Ah, got it! Broccoli salad probably would be a better fit, but it’s hard to go wrong with pesto and potatoes. It won’t be quite the same as the recipe, but it would still be something tasty!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Fraser, we provide volume measurements for the lemon juice for precision. 1/2 large lemon yields ~2 Tbsp or 30 ml. Hope that helps.

  2. Trisha says

    My husband wanted to make scalloped potatoes, but I suggested this recipe because we had lots of basil that needed using up. We agreed it was even better! Love the potato / pesto combo and the lemon in the pesto.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed them, Trisha! Thanks so much for sharing! xo

  3. Ariana Lubin says

    Okay this was the besttttttt pesto recipe I’ve found. My husband who secretly loved pesto said it was delicious and I agree! I did use fresh SWEET basil and add a fewwww sprigs of cilantro and it was awesome. Loved this, totally will be a staple!

  4. Amy says

    Easy and fun recipe. Made this for a BBQ recently and it was a hit.
    I used canned pesto to save time but also because I had a can open. I added a touch of nutritional yeast to it and whoa, tasted amazing!

    The only issue I had was the smashing part was messy and the potato stuck to the fork. I ended up having odd-shaped bits but I didn’t mind the look.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Amy! You could try oiling the fork to see if that helps next time!

  5. Bill Casey says

    I followed the directions closely except I cooked the potatoes in a microwave instead of in boiling water (pierced potatoes several times with a sharp thin knife and then microwaved for 4-5 minutes and allowed to cool). I think this cut down on the prep time. I also baked in the oven about 5 minutes more than instructed to make sure the potato skins were good and crispy. I thought they were absolutely delicious and my husband (who is VERY picky) was complimentary. A winner!

  6. SVH says

    Great recipe! I added whole cherry tomatoes to the baking tray midway through the roasting instead of adding lemon. Also amazing!

  7. Karishma says


    I am new to Veganism and GF cooking.
    I would like to know whether it is essential to use Nutritional yeast?

  8. Melanie says

    Made this recipe & it was bangin. Didn’t put salt on the potatoes and used a pinch of salt for the pesto, used walnuts for the pesto. Almost tripled the garlic (great cancer fighting food.. google it.) Thank you !! :-)

  9. Debbie says

    I’m making this tonight for the second time. They are so delicious! And now I don’t have to miss pesto any more. I topped them off with some toasted pine nuts. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!!

  10. Amber says

    This was so delicious ! I absolutely love your recipes. This is the first time I’m commenting but I’ve made many of your recipes. Thank you for sharing ! I’m am. HUGE fan.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  11. Corey says

    These were great! I subbed raw sunflower seeds for pine nuts and was amazing! Thank you for this easy recipe. I served it with a frittata.

  12. Cindy Blaison says

    LOVE smashed potatoes and pesto, great combo.
    I found that by adding a couple pinches of baking soda to the boiling water, the potatoes turned out much crispier. Will make again and change up the toppings! Thanks!

  13. Megan DeShields says

    Love love love these – they are part of the regular menu in our house. These are good. room temperature, hot, cold and with any number of toppings.

  14. Michelle says

    I paired this dish with some oven baked crispy garlic broccoli and it made for a perfect garlic packed dinner! I plan to make this again in the future, but will cook for longer to get the potatoes extra crispy.
    I love your content and website layout, thank you minimalist baker! Are you considering an app in the future??

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Daivy, you can leave it out. It won’t be quite as flavorful but should still work!

  15. Monique says

    This is a go to recipe for my family. It is sooooo good. Sometimes I dice up sundried tomatoes and add it into the pesto. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  16. Erin M says

    This pesto might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Pesto was one of the very last dairy items we were still eating because my kids LOVE it on everything!! This pesto is so cheesy and flavourful, my mind is blown.

    PS – I’ve made many many of your recipes and I love them all. My son has type 1 diabetes and celiac so your website is truly a lifesaver for us.

  17. Carrie Johnson says

    This was outstanding!!!! My basil plant isn’t interested in growing and the grocery didn’t have fresh basil (if you can believe that), nor did they have any basil plants for sale. So I was forced to purchase the tube of basil. Whomp- whomp. I still made the pesto, just cut down on the olive oil a bit as the basil in the tube is a bit saucy in its own right. Surprisingly, it turned out to be the best pesto I’ve ever had! That crispy potato with that sauce was HEAVEN! All of your recipes are winners but this one paired with my potato OBSESSION is a 5 Star winner!! Thanks!! :-)

  18. Anna says

    I made this as a side to bring to Christmas dinner. I LOVE how crispy the potatoes were! The pesto was a little too garlicky for me, so I will cut it to one clove next time. This is a fresh take on fried potatoes that everyone seems to really like! Thanks!

  19. Sarah says

    Love this so much. We’re not a vegan family so we ate this with smoked tri tip. Since my son has food allergies we subbed in toasted pumpkin seeds for the walnuts. I do that with all my pestos and its a great swap!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! Yes you can! Because dried herbs are generally more potent and concentrated than fresh herbs, you’ll need less — For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, you need only 1 teaspoon of dried, since 3 teaspoons equal 1 tablespoon. Hope this helps!

  20. Laurel says

    Hi. This dish worked as a good side. The potatoes turned out nice and crispy, and the pesto was easy to make. I used a combination of potatoes from Trader Joe’s. The purple ones didn’t smash as well as their Yukon counterparts, but it worked out fine. It is definitely worth using waxed paper so the potatoes do not stick to the tray. I would make this dish again.

  21. Janine says

    I have made this exact pesto before. But never this combination. And oh lord those potatoes just became amazing <3

  22. Natalie says

    This dish was so easy and incredibly delicious! I will be making it again for sure! Thanks Dana :-)

  23. Kemba says

    These were sooooo delicious. I followed the exact recipe but I did use sunflower seeds because I didnt have any nuts. I know the recipe says ‘serves 2’ but my husband and I ate the entire thing. Thx Dana!

  24. Livia says

    I made this today, they are simply amazing. The potatoes turn out soooo crispy and golden and delicious! The pesto is so tasty and pairs perfectly with the potatoes. I don’t think I’ll be eating potatoes any other way now!

    • Livia says

      Forgot to mention, I omitted the oil in the pesto and it turned out equally delicious, you don’t need to add anything else.

  25. Jac says

    Absolutely fantastic recipe – would never have thought of pesto on potatoes, but such a great combination (especially with extra garlic cloves in the pesto ?) 10/10

  26. sbordeaux says

    loved this recipe! super delicious and easy to make. i had more success using the back end of a wooden spoon to crush the potatoes- that’s the only thing i would call out. :)

  27. Bethany Praska says

    This was an incredibly easy dish that presented beautifully. I’ve been craving a good pesto since becoming plant-based and have not found a delicious equal until this recipe. I made these potatoes with the amazing Lentil Meatballs and it was to die for!

  28. Ava says

    Made this tonight and my whole family loved it! Subbed tree nuts from the walnuts and it turned out perfect.

  29. Em says

    Hi! Can you boil the potatoes a day ahead? Do they need to be hot/warm before you bake them in the oven?

  30. Aparna says

    Made this for dinner last night (and have packed some for lunch today) – delish! I threw in some chia and reduced the oil for the pesto and it turned out perfect, Have used the pesto for a stir fried bell pepper dish as well, Thanks Dana!

  31. Emily McNie says

    These are amazing! I made them for a family dinner last weekend and they were a big hit. The pesto is fantastic with the nutritional yeast.

  32. Julia says

    Oh wow, I just finished my plate – fantastic recipe! I used sweet potato and cut them into rounds. And basil is pretty expensive in my area right now, so I improvised using bits of mint, kale, turnip greens, collards, parsley and capers to replace it. (I juiced earlier in the day so I had some stuff left over.) The addition of nutritional yeast really brought it all together. I really enjoy your website – I have a lot of fun cooking your recipes!

  33. Vegan eats says

    I’m trying to avoid using oil in my recipes so I was wondering if you think it would be okay to use something like maple syrup instead?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! I think that maple syrup would change the taste of the recipe, but if you are trying to avoid oil then I would recommend just roasting them without oil! Make sure to use a non-stick pan!

  34. Katherine says

    Love your blog such a vegan gf cooking game changer! Would love to see some braised collards Fern Kitchen style some kick of vinegar and spice

  35. Bob says

    These potatoes are terrific! I didn’t have any basil, so I made the pesto with cilantro and it was some of the best we ever had. I made some store bought vege burgers to go with and they were so much better with the pesto than they would have been with ketchup.
    I’m new to a vegan diet and your cookbooks and website have been a great help, thanks!

  36. Freddy Parsons says

    Made this tonight. Didn’t put the oil on the potatoes and they still were brown and crispy. Delicious! I knew it would be, because every recipe if yours that I have tried turns out fantastic. Love the photos.

  37. Emma says

    OMG. I just made twice baked potatoes with greens last weekend so I may have to wait a week or two for these…but that might not be possible! They look amazing…and I totally blame my potato obsession on my Irish heritage ;)

  38. Melanie says

    You never seem to disappoint! Thanks for this recipe, I made the pesto last night (minus the nutritional yeast) it was so delicious. Thanks for creating recipes for us lactose intolerant peeps!

  39. Michelle says

    For those with a nut allergy, would you suggest omitting the nuts completely? Or should I try to sub with sunflower seeds instead? I’m planning on making this recipe later this week!

  40. cuisine and art says

    Great looking potatoes! I’m going to try the recipe, especially that still I have some potatoes from my garden. Thanks for the idea!

  41. Orliande says

    Jamie Oliver is a smash potato guy too. Or maybe it’s a Christmas/Sunday roast English thing. ???. I’ve made before too. But the pesto side is a good idea.

  42. Ashley says

    These were awesome! I subbed cilantro for basil since I didn’t have any and used red potatoes, and walnuts. They were so delicious and crunchy-crispy! I will definitely make again. Thanks for sharing!!!

  43. Sydney says

    Is there a way to make this without fresh basil? I see the appeal and all but I’m terrible at keeping basil plants and fresh basil is pricey around here.

  44. Susan Shores says

    When I try the “printer friendly option”, just a blank screen appears. Any suggestions? This has been happening a lot to your recipes. Thanks. Susan Shores

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, try refreshing the page and making sure your computer / browser are up to date! That is usually the issue.

  45. Claudia says

    YOUR RECIPES ARE THE BEST! I just opened a vegan café in Brazil and whenever I need inspiration you are my reference number one! Healthy, delicious and simple.

  46. Desirée Chappell says

    Love everyone of your recipes I’ve made!! But….Trying to cut down on oil. What would be a suitable substitute? Veggie stock??

  47. Jeff says


    Love this idea, looks sort of like patacones (fried bananas). These would be just as good dipped in some home made ketchup!

    • PJ says

      Patacones or tostones are not fried bananas. They are made with the larger “cousin” the plantain while it is still green. Just FYI.

      • Julie Mary says

        Mmmm, tostones with this pesto would be amazing! (I just made this recipe, so I’m enjoying the sauce right now)

  48. Allyson (Considering The Radish) says

    I think the secret to a perfect meal may well be carbs + sauce. These look phenomenal- oh, and that color! I wish I was eating them right now.