Sunday, February 24, 2013

It's a sweet potato fiesta!

Do you eat sweet potatoes? I’m not sure I’d ever had a sweet potato until a few years ago. I grew up having russet baked potatoes frequently, but not sweet potatoes. Recently I’ve been trying to eat more of this orange variety. I don’t like them as much as regular potatoes, but the nutritioinal benefits can’t be denied – They have tons of vitamin C, calcium, folate, potassium, and beta-carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A). At least one scientific group considers the sweet potato the most nutritious vegetable.
In addition, another reason sweet taters are so great is because they are a low-glycemic food. That seems a little weird to me considering the fact that glycemic stems from a word for sugar and this is the sweet version of the potato. But it’s true – sweet potatoes do not spike your blood sugar the way white potatoes do. The energy provided by a sweet potato will last longer than the quick energy you will get from a russet potato.  
I have a few friends who will eat a half of a sweet potato, with a little coconut oil and cinnamon, as a dessert to satisfy their sweet tooth.
This past week, I chose to have sweet potatoes with a tex-mex flair. I had originally planned to just bake my potatoes whole, but we ended up getting home later than planned, so instead I made them a little differently – cubed and roasted. I tossed them with homemade taco seasoning and them topped them with a black bean salad once they were done.
Fiesta Sweet Potatoes
2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 batch of homemade taco seasoning – see below
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp lime juice
½ cup whole corn kernals
1 tomato, diced (or ½ cup mild salsa)
¼ medium onion, diced
Salt, to taste

Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil. Set aside about 1 tsp of taco seasoning for the bean salad. Toss the oil coated potatoes with the rest of the taco seasoning. Spread potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. Potatoes should be easily pierced with a fork and will browned around the edges.
While potatoes are roasting, combine beans, lime juice, corn, tomato, onion and remaining taco seasoning.
Once potatoes are done, top each serving with bean salad. Add salt IF needed. The salt in the taco seasoning may be enough.  A little sour cream or guacamole may be good with this as well, but I didn’t have any handy.

Taco Seasoning
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp chipotle pepper powder
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or spice shaker.
Most taco seasoning recipes call for chili powder and paprika, but I replace those two with chipotle pepper powder. Chipotle powder is smokier than regular chili powder, but it is also spicier. If you’d like the smokiness without the heat, try smoked paprika instead of the chipotle powder.

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