Boom! Crispy bacon, vibrant kale, golden-crispy potato skins, and swizzly melted cheese right in your face, as it should be. Me likey mucho.
I have this thing and it’s called I like to get really up close and personal right from the start with the food photos. You just need to get yoself right up IN there and take a look at that yummy food. How else are you going to know what these cheese bomb potato skins will look like as they make their three-second journey from the plate up to your mouth? Grab it, gaze upon its cheesy-bacony-and-a-little-bit-of-bright-green-kale beauty, getting closer getting closer getting clo — and down the hatch.
And I pinkie promise that will be the first and last time the phrase DOWN THE HATCH will be publicly typed onto this food blog. Not okay.
These potato skins are a game-changer for me. I mean that literally – when Bjork watches football, my self-appointed “job” <– rough life –> is to make snacks and eat. Now that these cheesy bacon and kale potato skins are a thing that exist in my food life, the making and eating of game day snacks just got all happy-happy-joy-joy gimme all the cheese.
Also, there’s kale nestled in there. No, like K-A-L-E. What kind of hipster do I think I am, anyways? I got on a healthy pesto thing this summer and I still haven’t gotten off that train. The thick, creamy, garlic-punch kale filling for these potato skins is the perfect way to make them into less of a greasy junk food and more of a filling meal that you can feel semi-food-responsible for eating. Plus, all that bright green in your life. It’s hot.
Pinch of Yum has a special relationship with potato skins. Not me – I mean I love them a really big lot and did I get all the bacon bits off of my face? – but seriously, potato skins have WORKED IT over the life of this little food blog.
I made this recipe for Healthy Sweet Potato Skins in when I was just a Baby Food Blogger back in 2011, which was also around the time when I also bought my first pair of jeggings, which was also around the time when I started talking about things like buying my first pair of jeggings on my FOOD blog, which started the downhill slide into talking about rando life tidbits along with food in almost every post. Which reminds me – thank you for sticking with me and all my wordssss. Oh dearie me you guys are the best.
Those old school sweet potato skins launched Pinch of Yum into a new level of blog traffic *NERD ALERT* because the founder of Pinterest’s mother pinned them to one of her boards with all those mils of early Pinterest followers, and for whatever reason (uh, I dunno, like cheese and bacon?) people loved them. Okay, maybe it was a tie for how much people loved them and how much people loved to leave educational comments about the recipe’s health-o-meter. Lesson: sometimes you gotta stir the pot to get things moving, and that post started a nice big stir for Pinch of Yum.
Food bloggers will get this: because they were popular, I got sick of them. I got sick of even hearing about them. Yay! More traffic! More links! Healthy Sweet Potato Skins! *bored face* The same old thang forever. Because I was so over it, I took a hiatus from any and all potato skin making over the last two years.
AND I’M SO SO SORRY.
Why-hy-hy-hy? Think of all the bacon-sprinkled cheesy potato skin eating I missed out on. Or don’t – it’s too devastating. I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I was too hungry to function normally for the last two years. I must have forgotten that potato skins are the perfect SnackMeal (!! my fave !!) and that they are inviting you to please eat all of the most delicious foods together in cute little boat form and also please enjoy yourself a blanket of melted cheese on top.
These cheesy bacon and kale potato skins are just the ticket – they are baked to golden brown crispy potato skin perfection (and I mean seriously CRISPAY) and filled with a healthy and vibrant garlic-and-Parm-laced kale pesto, sprinkled with crumbled bacon for the love, and topped with a little pinch of shredded cheese that will melt in the oven to make the whole thing a little boat of bubbling, delicious, halfway healthy game day food.
Making up for the lost potato skin eating years starting in three… two…
Over and out.
These Cheesy Bacon and Kale Potato Skins are loaded with a fresh kale pesto and topped with crumbled bacon and melted cheese.
- 5 slices bacon
- 5 medium russet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 5 ounces kale
- 3/4 cup almonds or pine nuts
- 1 handful basil leaves or other herbs (optional – see notes)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (optional – see notes)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2–3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup any kind of shredded cheese – I used Chihuahua cheese
- BACON: Fry the bacon until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. When cool enough to handle, crumble or chop the bacon into small pieces. Set aside.
- POTATOES: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the potatoes. Rub or brush them with 1 tablespoon oil. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. When they’re cool enough, slice the potatoes in half, scoop out most of the flesh (use for another recipe – yay mashed potatoes!), but leave a little bit attached to the skin to help them hold their shape. Melt the butter and combine with the remaining tablespoon oil. Brush the insides and outsides of the skins with the butter/oil and bake for another 5-10 minutes, skin side up, until nice and crispy.
- KALE: In a food processor, pulse the kale, nuts, herbs, chickpeas, olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, and salt until smooth.
- ASSEMBLY: Fill each of the potato skins with the kale mixture. Top with crumbled bacon and cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes until ooey-gooey melty and delish. Sprinkle with extra bacon or herbs before serving to make it look extrafancy.
I like to put the chickpeas in the kale mixture because it helps to bulk it up and add some filling power to the potato skins. This would still work just fine without the chickpeas – it would just be a thinner kale pesto and it wouldn’t fill the skins as much.
If you don’t have any fresh herbs, don’t sweat it. I make versions of this kale pesto sauce stuff all the time and it works beautifully with fresh herbs like basil, but it can also hold its own in the flavor department without the herbs.