Whether they're baked or roasted, potatoes are a filling, economic and nutritious addition to any menu. If you're planning a traditional potato bar for your next gathering, you don't really need anything beyond cheese, chives, sour cream and butter. However, if you want to get creative, be original and provide plenty of variety for diners, your potato bar can become a deliciously unique memory for everyone.
Make your potato bar a "worldwide" success with an international theme. For an Asian potato bar, offer sauteed vegetables, such as mushrooms and snow peas, chopped cilantro, peanuts and soy sauce. Alternatively, create an Italian potato delight with toppings such as pesto, pine nuts, marinara sauce, basil and chopped tomatoes. You could also prepare a Mexican potato bar with salsa, crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, spicy beef bits and jack cheese.
If your diners have a sweet tooth, wow them with a dessert-themed potato bar. To make "cheesecake" potatoes, serve up cinnamon, brown sugar, ricotta cheese, honey and toasted nuts. For a sweet potato pie delight, provide maple syrup, brown sugar, roasted pecan pieces and pumpkin pie spice with cinnamon. For a truly decadent experience, create your own version of tiramisu with toppings like Marsala, caramel, cocoa powder, French vanilla flavoring, shredded coconut and sugar.
Give your guests a meal that will fit inside their baked potatoes. Pair pieces of grilled chicken, sauteed greens and croutons with butter and salt for a healthy serving of protein and veggies. Alternatively, use the potatoes as tasty bowls for veal or beef marsala. When served small pieces of meat and a savory marsala sauce accented with sauteed onions and mushrooms, your guests will feel as though they've had a five-star meal instead of simply a potato.
Other Topping Ideas
For the health-conscious among your diners, a light but creative assortment of toppings is best. Set up a potato bar filled with chopped cooked asparagus, spinach, mushrooms and broccoli. Provide crumbled feta and blue cheese along with extra-virgin olive oil and Mediterranean spices. For barbecue-loving guests, offer toppings like pulled pork, coleslaw, pasta salad, corn and a variety of barbecue sauces. You could also make a cheeseburger potato bar with cheddar cheese slices, crumbled ground beef, croutons, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes and onions.