January 19, 2016
Loaded Sweet Potato with Chipotle Cashew Cream
January. What a great month, right? Everyone you know is eating healthy, therefore keeping you accountable and there is a certain buzz of excitement in every conversation as we all are dreaming BIG. However, this January finds me somewhat somber, real somber, in fact. Why you ask? Well, I’m turning 30 this week. Yep, the big 3-0. In the past birthday’s have never been so humbling because I actually love being a little bit older and with that, hopefully, a little bit wiser. The last 7 years this has especially been the case as I've grown and been stretched in countless ways. In that time I’ve gained a husband, three kids, our first home and a business (just to name a few).
There's something about this birthday though, it feels different. I'm lacking my usual pep and dragging my feet just a bit. Perhaps it’s because there weren’t any real defining moments in my 30th year of life (lots of building up, and growing the existing things, but not so much anything NEW), but in all honestly I think it's safe to blame it on the fact that for the first time I'm feeling myself age. I’ve started wearing sunscreen, because I actually have age spots. I can’t stay up past 11pm anymore, not for anything. And God knows I can’t sleep in! My stomach can’t handle more than two glasses of red wine. And, when I look in the mirror in the morning, it is clear that my water to coffee ratio is way off. Lastly, (because my sad signs of aging aren’t really why you read this blog) I just can’t eat the way I used to. Now, I’m not about to throw away all guilty pleasures, but I’m definitely trying to limit them.
If you're in the same boat as me and are trying to “clean” up your act, this dish is an absolute winner, and if you aren’t we promise that you’ll hardly notice how clean you’re eating because it's just that good.
In the process of cooking cleaner and making smarter choices (most of the time) I have found that variety is my best friend. My other best friend is making sure the food is always hot. No way could I survive a raw, cold food diet. No. Way. So, while the Modern Proper is not, nor will it ever be a “Health Food Blog” (and everyone said “amen!”) we aim to inspire people to eat and cook great food regardless of their dietary restrictions. If you're in the same boat as me and are trying to “clean” up your act, this dish is an absolute winner, and if you aren’t we promise that you’ll hardly notice how clean you’re eating because it's just that good.
While Holly and I were creating this recipe there was a long discussion over putting cooked or raw kale on the sweet potato. As I said before, hot food just seems to be generally more satisfying, so we went with cooked kale. We figured if we were already cooking up the kale we might as well add some onions and garlic. That lead to grilling up some chicken for protein (if you give a mouse a cookie, right?). And then we just went wild and added avocado, cilantro and (my favorite part) chipotle cashew cream. You guys, I can’t even begin to tell you how good this turned out.
If you happen to fall in the category where sweet potatoes aren’t really your thing, you could totally sub a yukon gold or a russet potato, but you really would be missing out on the complex sweetness of the sweet potato playing off all of the savory toppings. Besides the wonderful flavor, the health benefits of a sweet potato are worthy of mentioning; extremely high in beta carotene, rich with vitamins A, D and B6 and containing magnesium, potassium and iron. They are arguably one of the healthiest foods nature has to offer, so we ask, no beg, that you give them a second (or maybe first, or third) chance.
Also, if you read cashew cream and thought to yourself “who has time for that?” or maybe “forget time, who actually wants to eat that healthy?” I strongly encourage you to take a stab at throwing the cream’s ingredients into a food processor or blender and letting it spin for 7-10 minutes. What’s the worst that could happen? You either love it and are converted to the world of healthy condiments or you hate it and opt for whipping up a batch of chipotle sour cream.
Before you assume I've gone off the deep end of healthy eating never to return, I have a confession: I did have a plate of nachos at 9 pm last night. Everything in moderation, and hey, it’s a new day right? Today could be your day to make a good choice, and a loaded sweet potato is a really, really, really good choice.
Loaded Sweet Potato with Chipotle Cashew Cream
|4||medium garnet red sweet potatoes|
|4 cups||grilled or roasted chicken, shredded|
|2 tbsp||olive or coconut oil|
|4 cups||loosely packed kale, stems removed and roughly chopped|
|1||medium onion, thinly sliced|
|1 clove||garlic, minced|
|1 tsp||sea salt|
|chipotle cashew cream|
Chipotle Cashew Cream
|1 cup||raw cashews, soaked overnight in water|
|1/3 cup||lemon juice|
|1/2 tsp||sea salt (or more to taste)|
|2 tsp||nutritional yeast|
|1||small chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce|
|1 tsp||adobo sauce from can of chipotle peppers|
- For the cashew cream, place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend for 7-10 minutes until smooth, scraping down sides occasionally. Adjust seasoning as you see fit. We like it a little on the spicier side, so you can always add more peppers to turn up the heat.
- Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Preheat oven to 325°. Using a fork puncture a couple holes into the sweet potatoes and line them on a baking sheet. Cook the sweet potatoes for 60-75 minutes or until they can be pierced with a fork.
- While the sweet potatoes are almost done cooking, heat the oil in medium skillet. Add kale and onions and stir until coated with oil. Allow to cook at medium to low heat until onions and kale are tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and salt and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Using a sharp knife, make a long cut into the sweet potato and pull open. With a fork, fluff the inside of the sweet potato and begin to add the toppings. Start with the kale and onion mixture, then add chicken, sliced avocado, cilantro and chipotle cream.
- Serve hot and enjoy!