Some of the best, most delicious recipes are born out of necessity — taking what you have on hand, however humble or even mis-matched — and turning it into something wonderful. Earlier this week I found myself rummaging through the fridge looking for a little inspiration, and in the wake of Cinco de Mayo these southwestern-inspired healthy sweet potato skins were born. And let’s just say I fell a
little lotta bit in love with them at first bite.
Smooth and creamy, lightly sweet and spicy, and filled with sautéed spinach, onions, garlic and spices. And did I mention that they’re covered in gooey melted cheese? Oh yes. Everything’s better with cheese. Topped with fresh, bright cilantro and a little extra sour cream, you’d never guess that this refrigerator / pantry rummage meal wasn’t the plan from the beginning.
I pretty much always have some kind of potato on hand. Idaho, red skin,fingerling — I love them all, and they’re so versatile. Mashed, steamed, roasted or baked, they’re the perfect side dish and can easily be transformed into the star of the plate in a pinch. K and I tend to agree on almost everything when it comes to flavors we like or dislike, except for sweet potatoes. I love them. K not so much. But K does love cumin and cilantro, so I was able to sneak these ones by him.
These sweet potato skins are awesome because:
- You can totally customize and play with the flavors based on what you’ve got on hand. Toss in some minced green onion, black beans or chickpeas. Change up the spices with garam masala and curry powder to make Indian-inspired sweet potato skins. The options are endless!
- They’re packed with fiber and vitamins. And I mean packed, especially with vitamins A and C, and potassium. Delicious and healthy? That’s a win win.
- You can eat them as a snack, appetizer or light dinner. Hmm maybe even for breakfast, maybe with an egg poached medium? Don’t mind if I do!
- Did I mention that you can make them any way you want? Okay, phew! Glad we covered that.
In hindsight, it would have been awesome if I’d had some roasted corn and black beans on hand, to really take the southwestern thing to the next level. But that’s the thing with making something new with leftovers and whatever you’ve got on hand. It doesn’t always turn out perfect, or how you hoped it would. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, these are just so veryveryvery good just the way they are — packing two superfoods into one. Sweet potatoes and spinach for the win!
And also, there’s cheese. And sour cream. I’m so glad these are in my food life.
Now it’s your turn! Try ’em my way, or take a look-see into your refrigerator and create something totally and completely new. I’ll allow it. 🙂
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 2 cups baby spinach, washed
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp pastured butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Poke each of the sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Place on a rimmed baking sheet (line with tin foil for easier clean up) and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the rest of the filling. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder and chili flakes, stirring to incorporate. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the spinach and stir until wilted, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- When the sweet potatoes have cooled enough to handle, cut each in half lengthwise. Scoop the insides of each half into a mixing bowl, being careful not to pierce the skins. Add the butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, cilantro and spinach mixture to the sweet potatoes. Stir to combine.
- Cradle a sweet potato skin in the palm of your hand and scoop about ¼ cup of filling into each one, smoothing lightly. Evenly distribute the filling, going back to redistribute any leftovers.
- Top with the cheddar cheese and bake in the 400 degree oven for 5 minutes, until the bottoms are crunchy and the cheese is melted.
- Top with more sour cream and cilantro, maybe even some hot sauce and lime.