So, it’s boo season. No, we aren’t talking about Halloween. We’re talking about the time of year that’s so dark and cold that all you want to do is curl up in your PJs and binge something on Netflix. It’s just too dang cold to go outside. And with the lack of sunshine and daylight, boo season usually means blue season. But, surprisingly, something as simple as breaking up your streaming sesh by whipping up recipes like Hasselback blue potatoes might just help you feel better.
Blue potatoes can reduce your risk for depression and anxiety because they’re anti-inflammatory. A 2018 study from the Bioscience Research Centre in Manchester found that eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help prevent and ease depression. The blues beat the blues. Who would have thought?
These vibrantly colored potatoes far outshine the benefits of the non-blue varietals in other ways, too. Blue (sometimes called purple) potatoes are high in anthocyanins, antioxidants that help heal cell damage and protect against many lifestyle diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurological conditions. Anthocyanins also help reduce inflammation — and according to a 2015 study, chronic inflammation is one of the underlying causes of both depression and anxiety. To top that off, they also provide neuroprotective benefits such as bolstering short-term memory.
Blue potato skins are also loaded with iodine, an essential nutrient that helps regulate your thyroid, which in turn helps regulate your mood.
These Hasselback potatoes are relatively easy to make — aside from the fancy knife work, but we’ve got tips for you in that department. It’s worth it, though: They’re so beautiful on a dinner table that they might as well be the main course. And that’s when what the Japanese have always known comes into play: Presentation is everything, and the beauty of this dish alone just might lift your spirits.
Preheat your oven to 450 F. Wash the potatoes and dry them with a towel. Once the potatoes are dry, grab the sharpest knife you can find for the precision cutting that comes next. To get the look you see in the photos, slice the potatoes straight down, making the slices as thin as possible and stopping just short of cutting all the way through.
Tip: Place a chopstick on both sides of the potato to keep from slicing all the way through. Slice each potato from end to end.
Place the sliced potatoes in a medium bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt until evenly coated.
To prep the cooking dish, toss several sprigs of thyme and rosemary and a pinch of salt evenly in a tablespoon of olive oil. Place the potatoes sliced-side up in the baking dish. Add a handful more herbs on top of the potatoes. (Note: We went with a 12-inch cast iron baking dish.)
You don’t have to eat the herbs, but the base of the potatoes will soak up all the good herby oil and make the bottoms of the potatoes extra-crispy and delicious.
Bake the potatoes for 30 minutes, then brush with a mixture of 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake for 20 more minutes. Remove the potatoes, sprinkle with flaky salt, and serve.
We hope these beautiful blue potatoes help you beat your blues this winter.