THIS IS DINNER AND DESSERT
The kitchen is my happy place, which is a good thing, because I spend a lot of time in it.
It seems I’m always either developing recipes, or cooking them for a camera. And then there’s the notso-small matter of cooking for my husband and four daughters every day. Truly, I love it.
But today I’m sharing with you what I make when I’m alone; cooking for one. When I’m by myself, I like something easy to make and comforting, without being junky. I turn to one of my favourite ingredients that falls lower on my husband’s list: sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, especially A and C, and minerals, have filling fibre and even a couple of grams of protein per medium 95-calorie spud. Before you panic about all the sugars in the sweet potato — it’s right there in the title — relax a little, because that full potato has about 7 grams of sugar. And, I’m going to make both a dinner and a dessert out of it, so personally I think those numbers make sense for the sweet tooth it will satisfy.
Here’s the plan, which involves very little actual cooking: poke a few holes with a fork into a sweet potato and bake it until tender (about 50 minutes at 350 F, or eight minutes on high in a microwave since it’s just one).
Once it’s cooked, slice in half, cut a slit down the centre of each half, and top with just the tiniest bit of coconut oil or butter, which will melt beautifully into the hot potato flesh. (You can skip this part if you are watching fat intake, but even a smidge of coconut oil adds a ton of flavour.)
Sprinkle one side with cinnamon and top with fresh fruit and chopped nuts or seeds. Add a drizzle of maple syrup if you are feeling fancy. Sprinkle the other side with a little spice, like chipotle powder, cumin and hot paprika, or curry powder. And then top with drained canned beans, lentils, chopped leftover chicken or shrimp and something crunchy like pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or cashews.
Place the two halves on the same plate, and there you have: a twocourse meal on one plate.
Perfect for a Netflix night alone. But you can easily scale the recipe up to include friends, should you decide to invite them.
Sweet potato, two ways MAKES 1 SERVING
1 medium orange sweet potato 1 teaspoon coconut oil, divided Savoury: ¼ tsp curry powder ¼ tsp paprika 3 tablespoons cooked black beans, rinsed and drained 1 tbsp chopped cashews 1 tbsp chopped cilantro ½ cup baby spinach or other greens Juice of ¼ lime Pinch of kosher salt Sweet: 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon ¼ medium banana, sliced 1 tbsp sliced almonds 1 tsp maple syrup Pinch kosher salt Juice of ¼ lime
Start to finish: 1 hour, including inactive baking time
Prick the potato skin three to four times with a fork and bake until tender, about 50 minutes at 350 F. (Or microwave until tender, about eight minutes, turning over halfway through cooking.)
Slice the sweet potato in half lengthwise, and cut a slit in each half. Divide the coconut oil between the two potatoes and allow to melt into the flesh. Sprinkle the savoury potato with the curry and paprika, and top with beans, cashews, cilantro and salt. Place on top of the spinach and squeeze lime juice over the whole thing.
For the dessert potato: Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with banana slices, almonds, maple syrup, salt and lime juice.
Optional: if the oven is still hot, place the dessert potato in the oven for five minutes, just to caramelize the bananas a little. Place next to the savoury potato and enjoy your twocourse meal.
Per serving of savoury option: 305 calories (88 from fat); 10 grams fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 milligrams cholesterol; 567 mg sodium; 52 g carbohydrate; 19 g fibre; 11 g sugar; 12 g protein.
Per serving of sweet option: 183 calories; 28 calories from fat; 3 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 282 mg sodium; 37 g carbohydrate; 5 g fibre; 15 g sugar; 4 g protein.
Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, especially A and C, and minerals, have filling fibre and even a couple of grams of protein per medium 95-calorie spud.