So how healthy do you feel?
It’s a question that has been on my mind for the last several months as I talk to people during my research and product development for the startup, Triangle Gluten-Free LLC.
Is there anything you’d like to change? What?
Among the gluten-free crowd, there is a vast sea of different reasons for being gluten-free, and they’re mostly health-related or doctor recommended! But each person is unique!
Fortunately, the universe smiled on me and brought me back in touch with a good friend of mine for years, Renee Simpson, RDN. Renee runs Well-Diva Lifestyle out of Berkely, CA. Her last retreat was in (gasp!) Napa. I need to join them myself! Renee suggested we do a blog carnival again, and I was more than happy to jump on the train! Here’s her wonderful contribution to the carnival! She’s talking plant-based proteins, folks! This is good information to know!
Well, you can ask my blog buddy, but I have definitely got sweet potatoes on the brain right now. They’re loaded with nutritious goodies like vitamin A, C and B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and dietary fiber. Even though they are sweet, they can have a more positive effect on blood sugar balance and the fiber helps you stay full longer.
And what serendipity that I got a bunch of sweet potatoes in our goodie bag at the Flavors of Carolina event! (Hi there to the affable C.V Pilson family I talked to.) So since I was feeling jaunty and celebrating Spring and new beginnings, I decided on plating them out 3 different ways!
These are super-easy, mini-recipes that will only be as fussy as you make them.
You don’t have to slice and dice like I did. Chop them as you please, throw them in a bowl or on a plate, and enjoy. There are several ways to do the tater itself, obviously. You can dice them and boil – eh, (but you get a busy times hall pass). Or microwave – ok. Or steam/roast. Either of the last two will get you more flavor in the finished item, and be easier to peel!
Tip: Be sure to salt your ‘veggies’! We do this without hesitation in professional kitchens, but at home, it is so important to remember this as you go!
The salad is the starter, and these will make enough for 1 or 2. Multiply as you please:
Sweet Potato Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette – Enough for 1 or 2
First make the vinaigrette.
1 large blood orange with thick skin – zest grated, and half-supremed- use the other half for juice
1/4 cup organic apple cider or rice vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Whisk to combine.
Whisk in up to 1/2 cup slowly drizzled olive oil or light oil. (A nutty or avocado oil could be fun!) This is a super-light dressing – not something you’d worry much with. Just whisk quickly, and it will be fine. *Tip- let the orange supremes soak in the vinaigrette while you’re cooking, for more savory/sweet-tart goodness)
Slice one large 6-8 oz cooked but firm sweet potato – or dice into chunks.
Slice or dice avocado and Bartlett pear. Combine as you wish in a bowl or on a plate. Drizzle with the dressing and crumble goat cheese on top. Add salt to taste, and a sprinkle of marjoram. Enjoy as a nice light plate or easy side dish to perk up your mealtimes!
Sweet Potato Soup with White Asparagus
You will need a medium pot – about 2-4 quarts, with 2 cups water heated to a simmer.
Ok. First off – why white asparagus? For one, I saw it and decided to try it with this one and thought it would be fun! It was. Secondly, white asparagus is that way because of something called etiolation. It has been grown with a mound of dirt built up around it to deprive it of sunlight. It therefore does not have chlorophyll, and develops differently with a milder flavor and more starchy tenderness than regular green asparagus.
It was the milder flavor I was going for. See below:
For 2-4 servings depending on serving size:
6 oz or 8-12 stalks of white asparagus, trimmed – poach (simmer) in hot water until tender
One steamer bag of sweet potatoes – usually 5-7 small sweet potatoes or 24 oz total. ( I do not steam food of any type in plastic. However, that’s the size I used.)
Roast, microwave, or boil the potatoes whole. Let them cool enough to handle.
In the pot, squeeze out the flesh of the potatoes and simmer . While simmering, add:
1 tsp each salt, smoked paprika, ginger, and cumin
1/2 tsp each nutmeg, white pepper, and sage
Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until broken down to a hot bubbly paste. Let cool for a few minutes. Add to a blender with:
1/2 cup natural almond butter
Blend until smooth and the consistency desired. Season further to taste.
Optional: 1/2 leek – thick white to green portion, fine julienne and saute quickly for garnish
Add vegetables and garnish.
Aaaand Behind Door Number Threeee:
If you’ve been following all along, and I mean all along, you’ll recall this one:
Basically, I followed my own recipe. However, I nixed the onion today and added similar spices to the mix.
Just 1, 3-4 oz sweet potato, shredded and tossed with:
1 tsp salt, chipotle powder, chopped parsley, 1/2 tsp each nutmeg and cinnamon
You can use rendered bacon, butter, or canola oil, but for today I used unrefined coconut oil. This gave us some nice healthy fats for nutrition month! Then proceed with the same technique. Just keep it on a nice low to medium low heat until it’s a whole mass, and don’t add extra sugar or it will brown too quickly.
This is a neat snack or side dish that originally hails from Sweden! I added a little of the spice to my sour cream – a good, thick sour cream with lots of flavor!
So now you have three easy ways to sample a super-hero tuber! I hope you enjoy at least one – if not all three – as we round out National Nutrition Month!