Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

While my sister was in college, she spent a year studying abroad in Spain.  During that time my mom and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit her.   We had a wonderful time touring museums, drinking sangria, and checking out the beautiful parks and buildings of Madrid.

Ingredients for Patatas Bravas

While overall the trip was fantastic, I have to admit that a lot of the food we had did not quite live up to my expectations.  We may have just gone to the wrong restaurants, but for me I think a big part of it was that a lot of the dishes were pretty meat heavy.  Though I wasn’t a vegetarian at the time, I was definitely moving in that direction.

Potatoes ready to roast

Despite our somewhat mixed dining experience, however, the potato dishes we had in Madrid definitely won me over.   Patatas bravas and tortilla española were my favorites.  Since returning from Spain, I’ve had these dishes at Tapas bars and Spanish restaurants in the US, but I’ve never actually tried making my own versions at home.   I was recently inspired to make patatas bravas when I came across a simple recipe for them in Vegetarian Times.

Patatas Bravas

Patatas bravas means “fierce potatoes” and was most likely given this name because of the spicy tomato sauce that accompanies the fried potatoes.  To make the sauce, I invested in a bottle of smoked paprika.   After having the dish I am certainly glad I did.  Smoked paprika may be my new favorite spice.  With the addition of the smoked paprika, the spicy tomato sauce was taken to a whole new level.   I ended up making more of this smoky, tangy, spicy and addictive sauce than we had potatoes and was happy to use it up on pasta and anything else I could find.  I will definitely be making this dish again!

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Traditionally the potatoes in patatas bravas are fried, but due to my recent crazy frying incident (see Thai Corn Fritters) I decided to roast them.  The sauce can be spooned over the potatoes or served in a bowl.  The dish would also be good with a side of garlic aioli.

  • 1½ lbs of potatoes (red potatoes or fingerlings work well)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes, half of the juice drained
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • A dash of hot sauce (Tabasco or similar)

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Slice the potatoes into 1-inch thick wedges or rounds.   On a baking sheet toss the potatoes with a few tablespoons of olive oil (enough to just coat the potatoes).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.   Roast the potatoes for 30-40 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Stir the potatoes occasionally to ensure they are evenly browned.

While the potatoes are roasting, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Add the diced onion and cook until the onions are translucent.  Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute.  Mix in the paprika and cumin and then stir in the tomatoes.  Add the vinegar and hot sauce and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.

Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:

Recipe Report Card Notes About Recipe Ratings

Tasty Rating


Four Chefs (Delicious!)

As I mentioned above, I really loved the smoked paprika in the sauce.

Easy Rating


Four Easy Chairs (“ABC, Easy as 123…”)

There is not a whole lot of hands-on time for this dish and it could easily be made on a weeknight after work.

Healthy Rating


Four Apples (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise)

Mostly vegetables and spices in this dish. The potatoes are roasted in just a little bit of olive oil, instead of fried in a lot of oil.

Green Rating


Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)

The potatoes and onion were from our CSA box, so they were local and organic. The olive oil, garlic, and canned tomatoes were organic.
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