Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Stuffed sweet potatoes can be used as a nutritious and affordable main dish - or as a side. Or as a snack :)

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Ingredients:

  • Quinoa

  • Red lentils

  • Sweet potatoes

  • 1/2 onion

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Smoked paprika

  • Nutritional yeast - 1/2 cup

  • Garnish: Chives, Hemp seeds (or walnuts), Arugula

Weeknight meal hack: Pop the sweet potatoes in the oven the night before you plan to use them. Depending on size, sweet potatoes take ~45 mins to bake fully in the oven. If that feels too long for a weeknight, I recommend cooking a few at the beginning of the week, store in the refrigerator + use throughout the week in recipes like this one.

What to do:

  • Cook the sweet potatoes in the oven (350 for 45 minutes - until soft on the inside)

  • In a separate pot, cook the quinoa (1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water ~ 15 mins)

  • Separately, cook up the red lentils (3 cups of water to 1 cup of lentils ~15-18 mins)

Chop the onion and then sauté in olive oil. Careful not to burn the onions, stir regularly and sprinkle with salt, pepper, smoked paprika. Once the quinoa has cooked, fold the quinoa in to the onion mixture. Add the lentils and keep stirring to combine. Add a generous amount of nutritional yeast and keep stirring. Add a tiny bit of water if it helps to combine all the ingredients.

Sweet potatoes - Cut those in half (lengthwise) and remove some of the filling with a spoon. Be careful not to remove all of the filling as it helps to strengthen the skin so that we have a sturdy boundary and can add the filling. Save the sweet potato filling in a bowl.

Smash the sweet potato with a fork. Add the sautéd quinoa/lentil filling to the bowl and use a spoon to combine into a paste. Using a spoon, fill the sweet potato boats with heaping spoonfuls.

What I love about this:

  • You don’t have to follow an exact set of measurements to produce something delicious. I intentionally didn’t include specific measurements here, because it’s up to you! Using the basic ingredients listed above and some herbs/spices and a bit of salt will yield something delicious and satisfying. It’s entirely plant-based, so you don’t have to worry about undercooking something and getting sick.

  • Nutrient density - the quinoa + lentils + hemp seeds (or walnuts if you can’t find hemp seeds) are high in protein and help to make this a complete meal. The sweet potatoes and onions bring their own nutrients to the table — like a surplus of vitamin A, potassium and other vitamins (C and B-6).

  • The “garnish” in this recipe is more than that - the hemp seeds are a great source of healthy fats and protein. The arugula packs in extra vitamins (like A, C, and K) and adds a peppery flavor to contrast the sweet/savory combo of the rest of the dish.

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Cauliflower Herbed "Rice"

Herbed cauliflower rice is a cozy staple over here in these chilly winter months. Make a batch of this as a base and use as you would with real rice. Top with other veggies, sauces, and protein sources for a complete meal.

Cauliflower Herbed Rice, Phot:

Cauliflower Herbed Rice, Phot:

Ingredients:

  • Cauliflower - 1 head, raw

  • Olive oil

  • 1 onion

  • Herbs and spices: rosemary, oregano, sage, etc.

To make: Cut cauliflower head into smaller sections. In a few batches, add to a food processor or blender and pulse until you get the desired consistency. If you don’t have a food processor, you could cut the cauliflower by hand into the smallest pieces. (It takes forever, but I have done it a few times when I didn’t have a powerful food processor).

Dice onion, sauté in a skillet with oil and a dash of salt and pepper. When onions are cooked down a bit (5-8 mins), start adding the cauliflower “rice” and stir regularly. Cauliflower should soften in 3-5 mins. Sprinkle with herbs (herbs de Provence mixture or similar — rosemary, marjoram, oregano, sage, thyme) and mix well.

Nutrients galore: Cauliflower rice is a gluten free version of something like couscous - same consistency. It’s an excellent source of potassium, vitamin B-6 & Vitamin C. Magnesium and calcium too!

Holiday Salad

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Holiday dishes don’t need to be heavy or overly salty or sugary to still be a treat. This vegan salad is an excellent (and easy to throw together) side dish for a larger meal or a stand-alone salad.
Ingredients:

  • Kale

  • Mandarin oranges

  • Pomegranate seeds

  • Hemp seeds

  • Walnuts

  • Olive oil

  • Lemon juice

  • Mustard

For the dressing: Whisk together fresh lemon juice, mustard, and olive oil.

For the salad: Roughly chop kale, add pomegranate seeds, mandarin slices, hemp seeds, and crushed walnuts. Top with salad dressing and add black pepper to taste.

Messy messy messy … but worth it !

Messy messy messy … but worth it !

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Smoked Salmon Salad

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Salad includes: romaine lettuce, Tuscan kale, tomatoes, wild caught smoked salmon, olive oil, sea salt, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, lemon juice.

Start by tenderizing the kale - cut into bite-sized pieces and drizzle with olive oil + lemon juice. Using your hands, massage the oil/lemon into the kale until it starts to wilt.

[If you can’t get behind the idea of “massaging kale”, you can drizzle with oil/lemon and let it sit overnight]

Add freshly washed romaine lettuce to the bowl + tomatoes + pumpkin seeds + hemp seeds. Drizzle with additional oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt to taste.

Hemp seeds are an excellent addition to meals bringing protein, plant-based fat, iron, thiamin, zinc, phosphorous, etc. To incorporate more hemp seeds into your diet, consider using as a topping for yogurt, oatmeal, pasta dishes, and blending into smoothies …