Caramelized Sweet Potatoes Over Seasoned Lentils
This one is drool-worthy!
If I had to pick, my desert island food would be Japanese sweet potatoes. There are several varieties and I love them all. Roasting them in the oven creates the most delicious sweet, starchy and satisfying treat. They are great garnished with beans like roasted chickpeas, greens and sauce (see our sauce recipes – the tahini maple is especially good on them) as a meal, or as a breakfast food, or even a snack.
This is a recipe a dear friend of mine made from a magazine article. She showed me the torn page and we couldn’t determine which magazine (or from which waiting room she’d gotten it!). In any event, it was delicious but needed some modification. The original recipe relies heavily on olive oil. But I recreated it oil-free using a little veggie broth. Having said that, if you are allowing small amounts of oil into your diet this would be one you could try. I actually prefer it that way because the sweet potatoes caramelize a little easier. But either way, it is delicious. Most dishes like this come out great oil-free because they contain so much flavor – you don’t even notice. And the pistachios provide plenty of (healthy) fat.
4 medium Japanese sweet potatoes, baked (wash, dry, poke with fork a few times and bake at 400 for 50 minutes to an hour until a butter knife can slide in easily) *don’t use orange yams here, the Japanese sweet potatoes are key to this dish
1 cup lentils (black lentils are great for this, but you can also use the French – or green – lentils)
Vegetable broth for cooking or spray olive oil (optional)
1/4 cup rice vinegar (divided)
8 scallions, sliced longways into thin strips
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 T soy sauce
2 T white miso paste
2 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional, but recommended. If omitting, use toasted sesame seeds instead)
2 tsp red pepper flakes (or less for less heat)
Chopped toasted pistachios for garnish (I buy these toasted and unsalted at Trader Joe’s)
Bake your sweet potatoes and while they are cooling prepare everything else.
Cook lentils (or use canned or pre-cooked like Trader Joe’s). To cook lentils, add 1 cup lentils to 3 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until soft but still have texture. You may want to double for this recipe).
Drain, then toss lentils with half the the vinegar on a platter or wide serving bowl, season with salt
Thinly slice scallions and soak in cold water so they curl
Whisk sauce ingredients with remaining vinegar and 1/4 cup water
Heat skillet to medium high, slice sweet potatoes and cook until browned and caramelized – you can use a little spray olive oil, but if not use a very little bit of veggie broth to prevent sticking. Careful not to use too much, or they will get mushy. Remove to platter, arrange the discs over the lentils and cook the sauce in the same pan for one minute. Toss half the scallions with the lentils, and spoon sauce over the sweet potatoes and lentils. Garnish with remaining scallions and pistachios.