kale

Spiced Chickpea & Kale Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Sauce

As promised, I'm coming at you with a new recipe every week in March in honor of National Nutrition Month. This first one (actually three) is a good one!

loaded sweet potatoes

In case you didn't already notice, sweet potatoes have been having a moment. An extended moment, but still. I've seen them in everything from pancakes to chili to buddha bowls, or even as a stand-in for a burger bun (which while creative, is not my favorite use for them). Even though white potatoes are wonderful for a myriad of reasons, sweet potatoes offer a silky smooth flesh and a slightly sweeter taste, plus a hefty dose of vitamin A. 

While they are perfect as is (roasted, mashed or baked), I have a favorite way to eat them as of late, loaded up with toppings for a quick and complete weeknight meal. There are so many possibilities but today I'm sharing three of my favorite combinations - buffalo chicken, chickpea and kale, and Mexican. 

My favorite part about these is how fast and customizable they are. If you have a protein, something green, and a sauce of some sort on hand, these come together super fast with most of the time being hands-off (waiting for the potatoes to bake). If you want to make them even easier, bake the potatoes on the weekend and you'll have a 20-minute meal ready for you all week. 

To bake the potatoes, just scrub them well (no need to take the skin off), slice in half lengthwise and place them flesh-side down on a sheet pan lined with foil and sprayed. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Just a note: when in doubt, err on the side of leaving these in the oven longer - you don't want them to be undercooked. 

Once out of the oven, I like to fluff the flesh with a fork and season well with salt and pepper before adding all of the toppings. Which of these combinations sounds most delicious to you?

buffalo chicken stuffed sweet potato
  • Leftover shredded chicken (or rotisserie chicken)

  • Bleu cheese crumbles

  • Buffalo sauce

  • Green onions + Cilantro

Mexican stuffed sweet potato
  • Black beans

  • Tomatoes

  • Corn

  • Avocado

  • Cilantro

  • Sriracha mayo

chickpea and kale stuffed sweet potato

And last but not least, my favorite of the bunch! Spiced chickpeas are super versatile on their own. Think buddha bowls, wraps, or these stuffed potatoes. I topped them with sautéed garlicky kale for a bite and finished with a dreamy tahini sauce to pull everything together. 


Spiced Chickpea and Kale Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Author: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
Yield: 4 servings | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook time: 35 mins | Total time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes

  • One bunch kale, rough chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed (dried with paper towels)

  • 1/2 tsp smoky paprika

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/3 cup tahini

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari

  • 1 tsp hot chili sauce

  • 1 tsp maple syrup

  • 1 tsp rice vinegar

  • to taste salt and pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Slice sweet potatoes lengthwise and place flesh side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

3. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium nonstick skillet and add garlic cooking just until fragrant. Add kale and stir to coat. Cook 1-2 minutes and then add 1/4 cup water, cover and simmer for about 5 more minutes until bright green and wilted. Transfer to a plate.

4. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same skillet and add the chickpeas, smoky paprika, and garlic powder. Cook until brown around the edges, about 10 minutes stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Lastly, to make the tahini sauce combine tahini through rice vinegar in a jar, mix well with a fork. Add about 1/4 cup hot water, put the lid on and shake until well combined.

6. Once the sweet potatoes finishing cooking, fluff the flesh with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Top with kale, chickpeas, and tahini sauce plus more chili sauce if desired.

Notes:

Once you taste this tahini sauce, you might want to put it on just about everything which is why making it in a jar is even more of a genius idea (just put the lid back on and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to five days). 


The Components of a Killer Breakfast Sandwich

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I sort of have this thing about weekend breakfast. I love waking up, wandering upstairs, and taking the time to make something creative with some music on in the background. It's not even about the food as much as it is the ritual. 

After I pour myself an iced coffee (priorities), I start thinking about what sounds good. Usually it's eggs of some sort, though lately I've been going through a pancake phase

A few weekends ago we had all of the components to make the best breakfast sandwich of all time (could I be any more dramatic?). Really though, I just love it when that happens without any pre-planning whatsoever. Here's how I made it, a "recipe without a recipe". 

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First and foremost, you need bread. Without bread, this would be some sort of sad, breakfast salad and I know that's trendy and all but that's not what we're doing here. I like English muffins for this purpose because they are the perfect size and shape without being too bulky. Plus those nooks and crannies hold in flavor and a yolky egg really well. The people on the commercials were right about those nooks and crannies after all.

Hopefully, you have cream cheese on hand to spread on the both halves, but butter works fine in a pinch. You need something to add moisture and creaminess. No dry English muffins. I keep plain cream cheese on hand for this purpose (and for pizza, but that's another post). 

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Then you should add some greens. This might sound crazy, but I love sautéed garlicky kale on an egg sandwich because it adds the best texture, peppery and pungent flavor and beautiful color. Just wash, de-stem and chop the kale. Then add it to a lightly oiled skillet with seasonings of choice like fresh garlic (salt and pepper are a must). Spinach would work here too, just make sure to give it a quick sauté first. Use whatever you have left in your fridge that needs to be eaten yesterday. 

Of course you need an avocado. Whenever there's eggs involved, always avocado. Season that too!

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Make your egg last, because this is the star ingredient and you want to make sure it's perfectly cooked. I love a slightly running/jammy egg with a crispy white, but whatever suits you will work just fine. I have found that a cast iron or stainless steel skillet makes the best fried eggs (but you need to be more liberal with the fat). Nonstick skillets make it hard to get anything brown and crispy. When you're going for that, use something else. 

Add some hot sauce for an extra kick - Cholulu is great for eggs.

Finally,  layer everything in this order: muffin bottom, egg, avocado slices, kale, sauce, muffin top. 

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Serve with your choice of fresh fruit and enjoy! You'll need some napkins for this one. 

What's the best breakfast you've ever cooked?