By the time you finish preparing these stuffed sweet potatoes, your home will be fragrant with the aromas of cinnamon, garlic, and ginger. The lentils in this dish are a standout—richly spiced, thick, and hearty. Scooping them over tender baked sweet potatoes is a perfect way to transform them into a complete and satisfying meal; I’ve also been known to serve them over a cooked whole grain, such as millet or rice. No matter how you serve them, I highly recommend topping them with a generous drizzle of Everyday Lemon Tahini Dressing.
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 cup (200 g) dried brown or pardina lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14.5-oz, or 411-g) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon finely grated or minced fresh ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon harissa paste, or 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
4 cups (120 g) firmly packed baby spinach
Water, as needed
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (optional)
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) Everyday Lemon Tahini Dressing(see recipe below)
Chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh cilantro, snipped fresh chives or chopped scallions
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the sweet potatoes on the lined baking sheet and prick each several times with a fork. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until fork-tender.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils as directed on page 15. Drain well.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the seeds start to pop. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Decrease the heat to low and stir in the lentils, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, harissa, and salt, then stir in the spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted, adding water by the 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) if needed to prevent sticking. Stir in the pomegranate molasses. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
Cut each sweet potato in half and use a fork to coarsely mash the flesh, still in the skin. Place two halves on each serving plate and top them with a generous scoop of the lentils. Serve right away, with a drizzle of the tahini dressing and the optional fresh herbs.
Everyday Lemon Tahini Dressing
MAKES 2/3 TO ¾ CUP (160 TO 175 ML)
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) warm water, plus more if desired
1⁄4 cup (60 g) tahini
1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon agave nectar or maple syrup
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk until evenly blended. If the dressing is thicker than you’d like, whisk in water by the tablespoonful to achieve the desired consistency. (Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the dressing will keep for 1 week.)
Recipe by Gena Hamshaw of The Full Helping. First appeared in her cookbook, Power Plates and can be found on page 226.