The joy of a baked potato is that you can stuff anything in it.
Whether you are on a cheese rampage and fancy a hot melty cheddar (vegan, or which ever) and pickle – I like onion chutney – or a more wholesome roasty veggie ratatouille vibe, there is something for everyone. In this instance I have gone for an achingly wholesome, post-thanksgiving/ give me all the goodness vegan filling, with smokey paprika spices and crispy fried chickpeas.
Id like to pretend that this meal was born of a whim and a craving vegetables, but in reality I need to get my sugar cravings in check after an epic, all American thanksgiving, (ft all the stuffing, doorstop-sized slices of coconut cream and pecan pie and a river of wine) which, like the best sort of feasting, has turned my intestines into a boa constrictor and my liver into a pickled cucumber.
So I am as they say, back on the wagon in St Lucia, melting away my worries with iced tea and veggie goodness, thinking about all the wonderful festive food I plan to share when I get back. Until then… Voila a wholesome sweet and nourishing meal to keep the vitamins flowing before the next round of festivities begin.
Vegan Baked Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Chickpeas
I often make double the amounts of crispy chickpeas, to have on hand for salads and to sprinkle into soup. Also for the veg – I bought a Mexican spice mix when I was Tulum earlier in the year but there is a link for a homemade mix, if you can find it, or want to make it from scratch
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 small onion, sliced finely
- a handful of button mushrooms, halved
- 1 small courgette, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Mexican spice mix
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 2 tbs sundried tomato paste
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime
- 1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons coriander, finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil, for cooking
For the Crispy Chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Heat oven to 180 degrees C/ 400° F.
For the chickpeas – Position a rack in the centre of the oven. Place the chickpeas on a clean kitchen towel and dry thoroughly. In a medium bowl, toss with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with the salt and toss again. Pour the chickpeas out, onto a greased baking tray.
Place the chickpeas in the oven and bake, shaking the tray halfway through the baking. Cook until the chickpeas are crunchy, which will take 50-55 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave them to cool, as the chickpeas will become crunchier as they cool.
For the sweet potato – Spike each sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until soft and cooked through
Whilst the sweet potatoes are cooking, make the veg filling – Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the pan with the sliced onions. Cook over a medium flame, until the onions are soft, then add the courgettes and button mushrooms. Cook for a couple of minutes, turning the veg in the pan, then add the grated garlic and ras el hanout, tossing to combine. Once the veg is cooked, remove from the heat and set aside
In a small bowl, mash the avocado with the juice of one lime, the chopped coriander and chopped chilli. Season generously and give it a final mix.
To serve, halve each sweet potato. Top with the spiced vegetables, a dollop of sundried tomato paste, some guacamole and finally the crispy chickpeas. Divide between two plates and eat immediately.