Have you ever neglected a particular food for so long that once you do eat it again you’re staggered by how good it is, and left wondering why the heck you don’t eat it every day? That happened to me recently with a veggie so basic it seems insane to have overlooked it for as long as I did: the deelish sweet potato. Until a few weeks ago, I don’t think I’d made them at home in almost exactly a year (when one left on my counter was nibbled by a mouse, cooling my enthusiasm), and other than some lackluster fries I haven’t even had them at a restaurant in ages. When Hal made a sweet potato and onion hash as part of a fancy dinner to celebrate our new apartment, I remembered how much I loved them, and resolved to get more in my diet immediately. Luckily, Hal overbought and we had extras hanging around, so I sifted through some recipes and got to work.
I pinned this recipe over a year ago and only just got around to making it, another indication that I’ve been woefully neglecting the sp. I’m so glad I finally tried it, tho. As much as I love a more traditional chili, this sweet potato and black bean version was a fantastic change-up. The sweetness of the potatoes are a great balance to the spice and smoke of chili powder and cumin (and the spicy sausage I added), and the black beans soaked up flavor as wonderfully as they usually do. It felt good to be eating something so healthy (well, maybe minus the sausage…) and full of veggies, too. The recipe is nice and simple, and relatively quick, tho you are in for a whole pile of chopping. It’ll be worth it, I promise.
Since this was my first time making it, I stuck pretty closely to the recipe as written, with just a few changes. I didn’t bother to peel the sweet potatoes (there’s a ton of nutrients in the skin!), and I added sausage, both to bulk up the dish and because vegetarian meals are a tough sell in my house (but I’m making inroads: stay tuned for a chana masala recipe…that I served with some life changing curry sweet potato fries I’m gonna tell you about in a minute. Plan to get excited). I really liked it with the added sausage, but am sure it would still be delicious without. I switched up the steps a bit, cooking the sausage with the onion, and adding the sweet potatoes once the sausage was cooked through. I also doubled the recipe for the sake of lunch leftovers, and was really glad I did. I served it over whole wheat couscous with a corn muffin on the side, and it was a pretty perfect early fall dinner, if I do say so myself.
In my renewed zeal for sweet potatoes I’ve also found my new favorite snack/sidedish: Joy the Baker’s baked curry sweet potato fries. Dang it these are delicious. In her post, Joy talks about eating them for breakfast, which I think sounds just genius. I haven’t done that yet, but her making them on the fly in the morning did inspire me to turn our last leftover sweet potato into a spur of the moment after-work snack. They were so good that I had to make them again two days later, and am already thinking about having more. It’s a super simple recipe: sweet potatoes are cut into planks and then sticks (once again, I skipped the peeling), then tossed in a wonderful mix of whisked egg white and spices, and roasted. I didn’t manage to reallllly turn these into fries either time I made them–they’ve been a little more mushy than exactly fry style–but I so didn’t mind. The sweet and spicy potatoes are served with a dipping sauce of Greek yogurt whipped with cumin, and you should probably make them immediately.
The next treat I want to try in the midst of my sweet potato renaissance? Spoon Fork Bacon’s sweet potato smoothie. Talk about a versatile veggie: it’s dinner, lunch, a snack, even breakfast. I’d love to hear any and all other favorite techniques and recipes!