Sweet potatoes are a superfood. They’ve earned this title by being so packed with nutrients, ounce for ounce, that they’re just plain nutritionally dense. Quite simply, they’re one of the single healthiest foods you can bring to your table. Tasty and easy too. Especially with the bright flavours of curry and ease of canned chickpeas. For this recipe simply toss everything together, toss into the oven, then sit back and wait for the compliments!
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 to 3 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled, rinsed, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large onions, chopped
a 19-ounce (540 mL) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of olive oil or melted butter
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of curry powder
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of fennel, cumin or coriander seeds
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of salt
Lots of freshly ground pepper
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped, reserve a few sprigs for garnish
Preheat your oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Turn on your convection fan if you have one. Ready a large roasting pan, baking pan or sauté pan.
Toss the vegetables, chickpeas, oil, spices, salt and pepper together mixing the works thoroughly until all the flavours are evenly distributed. Reserve the cilantro. Fill the pan evenly with the mixture.
Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, lightly caramelized and delicious, about 1 hour. Top with the cilantro. Serve and share directly from the pan.
You don’t have to peel sweet potatoes. Just rinse them well and dice away. It’s not that the skin is somehow a massive source of nutrients, it’s just that it’s easier not to peel them! Canned pulses, like chickpeas, are also a very valid ingredient. Rinse them well before use too. You’ll wash away lots of sodium but retain all the fiber, protein and micronutrients that make them so healthy in the first place.
© Chef Michael Smith – #HalfYourPlate
One of the best ways to fill Half Your Plate (and all of your soup bowl) is with a simple pureed soup. They’re a time-honoured and super-simple way to get a whole lot of vegetable flavour on the table in a hurry – maybe even hide vegetables from finicky eaters. This one was custom created by Honourable Jeff Leal with Chef Michael Smith’s coaching!
There are as many ways to roast a chicken as there are cooks. This basic method is my favourite. Roasting the chicken perched on top of a thick bed of vegetables not only helps you prepare an entire meal at once but also guarantees that not a drop of flavour is lost. You can also skip all the normal laborious of slicing by simply shredding the meat into the works and tossing together a pan stew of sorts!