For the past couple of months I’ve been following a fully plant based (vegan), whole foods diet. This wasn’t too much of a change for me as I already avoided most processed and animal foods such as dairy and meat. But I did still have some fish, chicken and eggs in my diet.
Surprisingly, removing those three items hasn’t been that hard, especially when I’m cooking for myself. The hardest part is eating out, but I’ve realised I just need to be a bit more clever about where I choose to go.
What it has done is inspire me to get more creative with my lunches and dinners. This has been a nice change as I definitely fall into the routine of cooking the same thing over and over!
The idea for this recipe came to me one evening as I was eating dinner. It was as usual some kind of protein (I think it may have been falafel), with a medley of roasted vegetables including whole roasted sweet potatoes.
But something interesting happens when you continue roasting a sweet potato past the 1 hour mark.
As they continue to cook, their insides slowly start to caramelise and their texture turns an amazing silky smooth. As they continue to cook, a liquid starts to ooze out which is their natural sugars caramelising and escaping due to the heat.
So, as I was eating my dinner and mulling over how delicious these 2 hour baked sweet potatoes were, I was also thinking they were almost too filling! Especially with everything else on my plate.
If only there was a way to make them a complete meal on their own…
And that my friends, is how these caramelised sweet potatoes with crisy chickpeas and creamy cashew sauce came about.
Chickpeas crisp up beautifully after just 15 minutes in the oven and provide a nice contrast in texture to the silky smooth sweet potatoes. The creamy cashew sauce is flavoured with nutritional yeast and lemon juice, which gives it a delicious “cheesey” flavour. And to finish, simply sprinkle over some freshly chopped parsley and hemp seeds.
These stuffed sweet potatoes can be eaten hot or cold, on their own or with a big green side salad. They reheat well, can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days and make the best leftover lunches!
I hope you enjoy these caramelised sweet potatoes with crispy chickpeas and creamy cashew sauce, and if you make them be sure to come back and tell me what you think in the comments below.
CARAMELISED SWEET POTATOES WITH CRISPY CHICkPEAS & A CREAMY CASHEW SAUCE
Serves: 2 to 4 (depending on the size of the sweet potatoes)
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 2 hours
4 large sweet potatoes of any colour
1 can chickpeas
2 tsp avocado, macadamia or coconut oil
1 tsp curry powder
pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Creamy Cashew Sauce
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of pink Himalayan salt
1 handful fresh parsley
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan bake.
Wash any dirt off the sweet potatoes, place on a baking tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 2 hours. After an hour or so they may start to ooze liquid which is just the liquid sugars coming out and a sign they’re beginning to caramelised inside.
Drain the chickpeas, rinse and pat dry with a clean tea towel. Transfer the chickpeas to a small bowl and toss with oil, curry powder and salt. Place the chickpeas on a baking tray and set aside until 15 minutes before the sweet potatoes are ready.
Make the creamy cashew sauce by placing all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
When the sweet potatoes have been in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes, place the chickpeas in the oven to cook for 15 minutes.
To serve: place the sweet potatoes on a serving plate and cut open lengthways. Place a couple of spoonfuls of crispy chickpeas into each sweet potato, drizzle with the creamy cashew sauce and sprinkle with chopped parsley and hemp seeds.
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.