Tag Archives: sweet potato

Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Dip

This is a sweet, hearty, and unquestionably addictive dip made from red lentils and a pureed sweet potato.  Served alongside some gluten-free crackers and raw onion bread, this dip was a huge hit at my sister’s Annual Boxing Day Party.

I adapted this recipe from Mathew Kadey’s “Curry Lentil Squash Dip” . Not having a winter squash in my pantry,  I decided a sweet potato would make a delicious and easy substitution.      Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Dip and Spread

This satisfying dip is chock-full of antioxidants, fiber, and protein.  It also contains no oil which is often hard to avoid in so many dips. It’s also pretty awesome spread on toast the next morning! 🙂

CURRIED RED LENTIL AND SWEET POTATO DIP

  • 1/2 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 sweet potato, cooked, skinned and pureed
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Rinse red lentils and place in a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes until lentils are tender. Drain excess liquid and let cool.

Once lentils have cooled, blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Wishing you all lots of love, joy and laughter for the remaining holiday season! May 2014 be a happy and healthy year for you all!

Vitamin D and a big bowl of stew

Where we live, if you wake up to a beautiful, mid-winter, sunny day, you grab your coat and hat and head outside!  We did just that on the weekend – for “a little vitamin D” as the saying goes. Sunshine can be rare these days, so we decided to celebrate this good weather with a little snowshoeing.

We got lots of exercise and fresh air, but the question is did we get our vitamin D?  You see, we live approximately 45 degrees north of the Equator.  This time of year the sun’s rays are not that strong.  However, when reflected off the snow, the sun’s ultra-violet rays double in strength.

Vitamin D is all the talk these days.  It is considered an important vitamin in the prevention of many acute illnesses and chronic diseases.  As the media continuously reports, most of us Canadians are deficient in this vitamin.

The best source of vitamin D is produced by our skin after sun exposure.  There are some food sources such as, fortified grains, fortified plant-based and animal-based milk, fish, and cod liver oil.  However, all these food sources have a minimal amount of vitamin D compared to what our bodies can make from the sun.

A plant-based diet is not the cause of a vitamin D deficiency.  A vitamin D deficiency is a sign of sunlight deficiency.

According to Dr. Matt Lederman, a lecturer in the Plant-Based Nutrition Program at Cornell, vitamin D is made by our bodies when 50% to 75% of our skin is exposed to UVB light.  That is, the sunlight we experience around noon hour.  If you have the skin type which easily burns and rarely tans, like myself, then only 15 minutes in the sun is required. The darker your skin type, the longer your skin should be exposed to sunlight.

Lederman also suggests that the day’s UV index must be 3 or higher for your body to make vitamin D.  If you check out this chart from Environment Canada for today, only a few cities in Canada, and these cities were in southern Ontario, ever got to a UV index of 3.

If getting vitamin D from the sun is unlikely due to your geographic location,  your inability to get outside in the sunlight, or your concern with unprotected sun exposure,  then supplementation may be required.

When taking vitamin D supplements, be cautious as to avoid toxicity.  I believe that supplements should be treated like medicine and taken under the care of a health care provider.  If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, get some blood work done.

Vitamin D supplements are generally derived from sheep’s wool or fish oil.  Vitashine does make an organic, non GMO plant-based vitamin D supplement made from lichens.

sweetpotatostew

After a good few hours in the snow, we went home to a big bowl of Sweet Potato Lentil Stew.  It is hearty and absolutely perfect as a meal on a cold winter’s day.

This recipe comes from Dreena Burton’s cookbook, eat, drink and be vegan. You will find the exact recipe here.  I made the oil-free version and added an extra garlic. 🙂

Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits and Apple-Date Butter

Sweetened only with maple syrup, these biscuits are a delicious and easy to make accompaniment to any soup, salad, or stew.  Last day, I reserved 1 cup of sweet potato puree (minus the butter, milk and seasonings)  from my Curried Coconut Sweet Potato Soup.  Making your own puree is simple and healthy,  but canned sweet potato puree works well for this recipe, too.

My family loves to smear butter or preserves on their warm biscuits.  Although a spread is certainly not needed, I decided to surprise my family with something different.  I had quite a few organic McIntosh apples in my fridge, so I chose to make apple butter!   This recipe uses a handful of pitted dates instead of sugar.  Dates work wonders in smoothies and baking, so I thought they would go nicely with the stewed apples.  I was right.  The outcome was outstanding!  And…it was made in my crock pot while I was out at the kids’ activities.

SWEET POTATO DROP BISCUITS

  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour*
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthum gum*
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg (I use fresh, grated nutmeg)
  • 2-3 tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Stir together mashed sweet potato, coconut oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and sea salt in a large bowl.  Combine gluten-free all purpose flour, xanthum gum, baking powder, and ground nutmeg in a separate bowl.  Cut flour mixture into sweet potato mixture with a fork.  Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time,  to hold mixture together.  Drop golf size mix onto baking sheet and bake for approximately 15-17 minutes.  Serve warm with apple-date butter.

*Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Blend – This recipe comes from a copy of one of my many Living Without magazines.  I purchase the ingredients from a bulk store and make it up in a large container for future baking.  I usually double or triple the recipe to guarantee quick access to the flour when needed.  I suggest copying the recipe and attaching it to your flour container.  Store your flour in the fridge to preserve its freshness.

  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch

*Xanthum gum keeps your baking from crumbling! Some commercial flour blends contain xanthum or guar gum, so there is no need to add more.

APPLE-DATE BUTTER

  • 7 medium sized apples, cored and quartered (yes, I left the skins on!)
  • one handful of pitted dates
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • about 1/4 cup water

Place all of the above ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook on high for the first hour, then reduce temperature to low for 5 hours.  Puree mixture with a hand-held mixer or, once cooled,  in a food processor.  Serve with warm biscuits.  Leftover apple-date butter can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge.  I plan to use 3 tablespoons as an egg substitute in some future oatmeal and raisin cookies!

Curried Coconut Sweet Potato Soup

If you are planning a trip to the grocery store this morning, be sure to put sweet potatoes, a can of organic coconut milk, garlic and some fresh ginger on your list.  Perfect for a cool, wet evening, this soup has remained at the top of my comfort food list for years.  It is so rich and smooth and it makes you want to melt with each spoonful.  Guaranteed – this will be the best Sweet Potato Soup you have ever had!

sweet potato soupJPG

The first thing you need to do is make a sweet potato puree and I really do suggest that you make your own.  Once, when time was an issue, I decided to use a can of sweet potato and it wasn’t the same.  You can set aside any left over puree (minus the spices, milk and butter) for future baking.  I reserved 1 cup of mashed sweet potato for some drop biscuits that I made later in the day.

SWEET POTATO PUREE

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tbsp. butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • a generous amount of grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit  (200 degrees Celsius.).  Prick potatoes a few times with a fork.  Place whole, unpeeled potatoes on a baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Place whole, unpeeled garlic cloves on the baking sheet and continue to bake until potatoes and garlic are tender (about 15 minutes).   At this point, curious family members will rush from various rooms in the house in anticipation of their next meal!

When potatoes are cool, peel skins and place in a food processor or large saucepan.  Mash until smooth, then remove 1 cup to set aside for baking.  Add garlic, milk, butter and seasonings to the mashed potatoes and stir.

CURRIED COCONUT SWEET POTATO SOUP

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. each ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 2 cups Sweet Potato Puree
  • 1 ripe pear, cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can of coconut milk (I used a can of light, organic coconut milk)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • toasted coconut or coriander leaves for garnish ( I had neither in the house, so I used a sprinkling of thyme leaves for the photo)

Melt coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.  When onions and ginger are nearly soft, stir in curry, cumin, and coriander.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Whisk in Sweet Potato Puree, pear, coconut milk, and vegetable broth.  Increase heat to medium-high, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Puree in a food processor or with a hand-held mixer until smooth.  (For 13 years, I have owned a Bamix hand-held mixer that is perfect for soups – easier clean up and faster to the dinner table!).  Stir in lemon juice and add sea salt to taste.  Garnish, if you wish.  Enjoy!

Sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate rich in fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium.  In fact, sweet potatoes contain one half of our daily vitamin C requirement!