Ground Pork, Parmesan & Pesto Potato Skins

created by Lindsay Jones

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These golden potato skins filled with juicy, FARMER JOHN® Extra Lean Ground Pork, rich pesto and nutty Parmesan cheese are an Italian take on a tailgating classic that your hungry fans are sure to devour!

Cook Time: 1hr 45min

Servings: 6-8


  • 6 medium to large sized russet baking potatoes
  • Canola oil
  • 1 package FARMER JOHN® Extra Lean Ground Pork
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish (you can buy it pre-grated but not the dry, crumbly kind in a can)
  • 1 large, sweet yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes, diced fine, plus more for garnish
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¾ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Fresh basil, for garnish


Line a sturdy cookie sheet with parchment paper or tinfoil (to make for easy clean up). Preheat oven to 400°F.

Scrub the potatoes clean and dry them well. Rub with olive oil and bake for about an hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through and can be easily pierced with a knife through the center. (If using a microwave, rub with olive oil and cook on the high setting for about 6 minutes per potato.)

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare pork filling. In large bowl, combine FARMER JOHN® Extra Lean Ground Pork, pesto, Parmesan, onion, sundried tomatoes, egg, black pepper, sugar, and cayenne. Use a large fork or spoon to break up the meat and gently mix the ingredients until just combined.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture and cook for 8-10 minutes, using a spatula to chop mixture into crumbles. Remove from heat and drain. Set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Use sharp pairing knife to carefully cut in half long ways, from end to end, horizontally. Use a spoon to gently scoop out the insides, leaving about 1/4 of an inch of potato on the skin. You can reserve the scooped potatoes for another use, like bacon mashed potatoes!

Increase the heat of the oven to 425°F. Brush or rub canola oil (or another high smoke point oil like grapeseed) all over the potato skins, outside and in. Return to baking sheet. Cook for 7 minutes on one side, then turn the skins over and cook for another 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.

Reduce oven to 375°F. Arrange the potato skins, skin-side down, on the baking sheet. Fill each one with pesto pork mixture. Return to the oven and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and top each potato with a generous sprinkling on Parmesan cheese. Broil potatoes on high for an additional 2 minutes, or until the cheese begins to melt. Remove from oven. Tear fresh basil into small pieces and sprinkle over top of potatoes. Use tongs to place skins on a platter and serve ‘em up to your hungry tailgating party while they’re piping hot!

  • Note: If you notice a potato whose skin or flesh has turned green, cut out those parts and do not use them. The green means the presence of a toxin that develops if potatoes are exposed to sunlight.