Herbs ‘n’ Cheese Smashed Red Potatoes with a Simple Spring Salad

Salad greens and chopped red bell peppers topped with smashed roasted red potatoes with melted cheese. Colorful bowl on wooden table.

A great way to bridge the seasons in the kitchen is to make what some folks call “baked” or “hot salads,” with roasted veggies to satisfy your cravings for something cozy and toasty to go with the spring greens winding their way to market.  

Reach for red potatoes if you want to build an irresistible combo. Their flesh is soft and creamy-smooth, perfect for smashed potatoes, and their skin is wonderfully paper-thin and full of flavor.

Smashed potatoes are great in baked salads, since they’re simple to make and pair well with a wide variety of other ingredients. This version includes garlic and fresh herbs along with plenty of Parmesan for flavor. Yummy and fun to eat!


  • 1 lb small red potatoes (about 12) 
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled/pressed 
  • 1 Tbsp thyme leaves, finely chopped 
  • 2 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped 
  • 1-1 ½ cups freshly/finely shredded Parmesan cheese 
  • ½ – ¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 4 cups fresh spring salad greens 
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces 
  • 2 scallions, sliced into thin rings 
  • Juice from 1 lemon 
  • Salt and pepper 


Preheat oven to 350°, line a sheet pan with parchment paper and drizzle about 2 Tbsp olive oil over it. 

Bring potatoes to a boil in a medium pot of water. Reduce to a high simmer and cook until a knife gently inserted into several of them comes out easily. Remove from heat, drain hot water so potatoes stop cooking.  

Drain/dry potatoes and set them on a flat work surface. Using a small Mason jar or similar flat object, gently press the potatoes one by one until each is between ¼” – ½” thick and edges are crumbly but intact. Use a spatula to loosen any taters that don’t want to release from the smasher. Place smashed potatoes on sheet pan so edges aren’t touching and drizzle on ¼ cup of the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in oven for about 25 minutes. Turn potatoes over to ensure even cooking and cook 20 minutes more. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine garlic, fresh herbs and ½ cup shredded Parmesan. Add remaining oil and stir so everything comes together.  

Remove potatoes from oven. Using a spatula, carefully lift each potato and place about 1 Tbsp shredded Parmesan where it was sitting. Put potato back on top of cheese and press down gently. Repeat.  

Take a little of the garlic/herb/Parmesan mixture and put it on top of each potato. Sprinkle any remaining Parmesan on top of potatoes. 

Place back in oven for another 15-30 minutes, until the cheese is crispy. Remove from oven and let cool a little. Once cool enough to comfortably touch, but ideally still warm, remove from sheet pan and place several on top of a dressed Simple Spring Salad or your salad of choice. 

Make Salad: Put veggies in a medium bowl with plenty of room to gently toss. Juice lemon. Drizzle olive oil around edges of bowl, not on top of tender greens. Do the same with the lemon juice and then using one of your hands or two rubber/silicone spatulas, gently get the dressing onto the greens by lifting them and tossing while scraping the side of the bowl and redistributing the oil/juice throughout. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and toss once more. Taste a leaf to see how it’s going, adjust seasoning as needed. You want enough dressing to accentuate the veggies but not weigh them down.