My Recipe Book: Stuffed Sweet Potato (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Whenever I think about the foods I miss the most (candy, bread, fried chicken - the holy trifecta), I try my best to find substitute foods that have a similar taste to them. Candy can be easily replicated, yes, with vegan-friendly ingredients and gluten-free components; but whenever I want something naturally hearty and sweet, I reach for one of two things: beets or sweet potatoes. Given that I'm such a huge fan of potatoes in general, sweet potatoes have slowly become a staple in my new diet, TRFD. Like their distant cousins (the white potatoes), sweet potatoes can be cooked in a magical array of ways. But my favorite thing to do? Bake those suckers. Bake 'em just like a regular potato. And then load 'em up until you can no longer see what's underneath 'em.

And that's how the Stuffed Sweet Potato became my newest comfort food. The beauty with this "recipe" (if you can even call it that) is how mind-blowingly simple it is. Sautée whatever you want and throw everything into a dog pile of goodness once it's done. I regularly turn to black beans and garlic paired with mushrooms and onions that are tender and caramelized, and an additional sprinkling of pine nuts, but you could stuff it with quite literally anything - broccoli, corn, and vegan chili is another go-to for me, but I generally just use anything and everything I have in the fridge. Because I like to eat my sweet potatoes with kale - always - I briefly roasted a few leaves while the sweet potato was on it's last legs in the oven. They come out at the same time and you can just plop everything on a plate and dig in. Excuse me while I skip the table and cuddle up on the couch with this bad boy.

Stuffed Sweet Potato (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
A "recipe" (aka a hodge-podge of a meal) crafted from the remnants of my fridge. From yours truly.

- 1 Large Sweet Potato
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 to 2 Teaspoons Pink Himalayan Salt
- 1 Cup of Crimini Mushrooms, Quartered
- 1 Cup of Chopped White Onion
- 2 to 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1/2 Cup of Black Beans (I used canned)
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons of Pine Nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Pierce the sweet potato's skin with a fork, stabbing it (just maim it, don't murder it it) several times on each side.
3. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place the sweet potato onto it, coating the little guy in 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 to 2 teaspoons of pink Himalayan salt.
4. Place it into the oven and let it bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until soft. You can check it by using metal tongs to squeeze him while he's in the oven - he'll indent slightly and be squishy when done.
5. While the sweet potato is baking, warm the beans (I usually do this in a small saucepan on super low heat and stirring occasionally, but you can also do it in the microwave) and sautée the garlic, mushrooms, and onions in the 2 remaining tablespoons of olive oil. I usually then set them somewhere close to the oven with foil over them so they can stay warm until the potato is done.
6. Approximately 10 minutes before the sweet potato is done, grab your pine nuts and just toss them on top of the sweet potato in the oven while it's finishing up. They're going to get nice and browned and absolutely delicious.
7. Pull the potato out, and place on a plate, slicing it down the middle. Drizzle the inside with a bit of extra olive oil, and then get to stuffin'.
8. Pile in the black beans, then top with the garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Finally, scoop up the roasted pine nuts from the baking sheet and top the whole thing. Serve hot and dig in! 

And there you have it. If you enjoy, please let us know - shoot us an e-mail at hippieteaparty@gmail.com or jot a comment below, telling us what your toppings are your favorite. I'm a big fan of new ideas and new twists, and would love to see how y'all are sweet potato-ing.

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