You probably you have that one obnoxious friend who has traveled the world and can’t shut up about it. Well, I fear I’m becoming that person, sharing all of these travel-inspired recipes lately. But that’s certainly not what I’m trying to do! I just can’t help but share the amazing and awesome food I experienced while away from the U.S.
There’s a lot of great food out there and I simply think you should know! One such dish being PATATAS BRAVAS. Oh, lordy. I would go BACK to Spain just to have patatas bravas. True story.
Origins of Patatas Bravas
Patatas bravas are a classic Spanish dish that was created sometime after 1542 when the Spanish conquered the Inca empire and tubers became a more common food in Europe.
The dish originates from Madrid where it became widely known as fried potatoes in a served with a spicy tomato sauce. Other classic versions are served with aioli. Learn more about the history of patatas bravas here. And for a more traditional take on patatas bravas from a Spaniard, check out this recipe from Spain on a Fork!
It all starts with crispy quartered potatoes. Some versions are fried, I was not about to go there (#terrifiedofgrease). Plus, baked taste just as good if not better than fried. And you can have twice as many since they have half the calories – it’s science.
The thing that makes this dish special is the tomato sauce. Although there many versions out there, some even, including a garlic aioli as a second sauce, I wanted to keep things simple. The sauce itself comes together in about 20 minutes including prep time and requires super basic ingredients:
Tomato paste or canned tomatoes
Garlic cloves + powder
It’s very similar to the sauce for the simple baked eggs, only more vinegary, spicier, and less chunky. Perfect for pouring atop crispy baked potatoes. #YUM
If you want to keep this dish vegan, stop here. But if you’re up for another layer of flavor, bring on the Parmesan! I highly recommend it, as it’s a simple alternative to making aioli, which requires 5 more ingredients.
Last but not least, HERBS! I went with cilantro, but parsley is perhaps more traditional. Besides adding more color, it adds freshness and an earthy flavor that I love.
And there you have it. SIMPLE Patatas Bravas with a kick. This dish is:
One word – POTATOES
Perfect for a crowd (tapas anyone?)
& Super satisfying
Make this a complete meal by adding a runny egg on top (seriously amazing). Otherwise, serve as a traditional Spanish appetizer or “tapas.” We ate these EVERYWHERE when we were in Spain. So good! They’re probably my favorite appetizer of ALL TIME. Sorry chips & salsa, you were good for a little while but…you’ve been replaced.
Simple Patatas Bravas
- 1 1/2-2 pounds yukon or red skin potatoes (quartered into bite size pieces)
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 healthy pinch sea salt
- 1 healthy pinch garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 white or yellow onion (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 pinch cayenne or red pepper flake
- 1 tsp garlic powder (plus more for potatoes)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste*
- 2-3 tsp hot sauce
- 1 1/2 cups water
FOR TOPPING (optional)
- Vegan parmesan Cheese
- Fresh cilantro/parsley
- Soak quartered potatoes in very hot water for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 450 degrees F (232 C).
- Once potatoes are soaked, dry thoroughly and then add to a baking sheet with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and a generous sprinkling of sea salt and garlic powder. Toss to coat.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through, stirring/tossing once. Test by spearing a potato with a toothpick – it should be easy to pierce and remove.
- While the potatoes are baking, prepare your spicy tomato sauce. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and salt and stir. Cook for 7-8 minutes to slowly “sweat” until the mixture becomes translucent and very fragrant. If it begins brown, turn down the heat to low and stir frequently.
- Add paprika, garlic powder, cayenne and stir. Then add tomato paste, hot sauce and water and stir. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until simmering and the flavors are well blended. Reduce heat if it begins to bubble too vigorously. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added more hot sauce, sea salt and garlic powder.
- For a smooth sauce (which I prefer), puree in a small blender or food processor until smooth. Otherwise, set aside.
- Remove potatoes from oven and sprinkle with a bit more salt to taste. Place in a serving dishes and drizzle with tomato sauce (as original recipe is written // adjust number of serving dishes if altering batch size). Optional additional toppings include vegan parmesan cheese, more hot sauce, and fresh herbs.
* Lightly adapted from Men’s Health
* Nutrition information is a rough estimate.