Monday, December 7, 2015

Sweet Potato and Stuff

    Ha! Today I inspired myself. I can't believe I didn't figure this out sooner. Maybe most of you already have, but  typically when I need some mashed up avocado, I scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash it up with a fork. No more! Now I do it right in the shell. Brilliant.

   All you do is cut open the avocado as usual, but then you use the tines of the fork to dig into the flesh with a scraping motion until it is mashed to your desired consistency. Then just scoop it out directly onto whatever your eating. You can even mix a bit of salt in as you go. It's really fast and easy, and the best bowl to wash!

       I've really developed a love for sweet potatoes this winter. They are so versatile and easy. Did you know that they have fewer calories than white potatoes, plus their orange color means they are packed with carotenoids. They also contain B vitamins, and are very high in vitamin A. One potato provides 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. All of these antioxidants spell anti-cancer to me, so I'm having my fill. 

    My favorite way is baked and topped with lots of stuff, and as you've probably already guessed, that stuff usually includes avocado. Sweet potatoes are fat free, so the avocado adds a bit of richness. Of course that's another word for fat, but the fat in an avocado is healthy fat. It's oleic acid, like in olive oil, which helps reduce inflammation. It also helps your body absorb all those antioxidants. Carotenoids, Vitamin A, and other antioxidants are fat soluble nutrients, meaning they need to combine with fat for your body to utilize them. Avocados are also a good source of potassium, higher than bananas. Which is good news for those of us who don't want too much sugar in our diet.

      You could use just about any topping that you like here. I recently copied a recipe for sweet potatoes topped with dal from Green Kitchen Stories, one of my favorite healthy food blogs, that I will try next. But today I went with the avocado, a bit of corn, red onion, pumpkin seeds, and a nice miso dressing. The sharpness of the onion contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the potato, and the seeds add a bit of crunch to all that creamy flesh. The miso dressing is one of my favorite versatile dressings. It's savory saltiness fits well here.

Here is the recipe:
serves 2

1 large sweet potato baked and cut in half or two if they are small
1 avocado mashed with a pinch of salt
1/4 c. cooked corn
1/4 c. pumpkin seeds toasted
1-2 T. chopped red onion
cilantro  or  parsley to garnish

Just pile everything on top of the potato and add some dressing.

Miso Flax Dressing
1T. + 1 tsp. of white miso paste
2T. flax  oil
2-3 T. of water
2tsp. of lemon juice
pinch of cayenne, or more if you like heat
1 clove of garlic crushed

Note: I love flax oil and use it whenever I can because it is high in omega 3's, but olive oil is a good substitute in this dressing.

I always bake an extra potato for the next day and change up the toppings (or not). They make a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner side. 


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