Baked Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Spinach and Lemony Chickpeas
This recipe combines one of my favorite foods- sweet potatoes- and one of my daughter’s favorite foods- chickpeas- in one simple and delicious recipe. Traditionally, the sweet potatoes are baked in the oven, wrapped in foil, until soft. However, if you are in a hurry, you can also bake them in the microwave (not foil wrapped until you want to see fireworks in your kitchen), which will only take about 7-8 minutes.
Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods known and are ranked as the top nutritional vegetable by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. They are loaded with vitamins A, C and E – antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease and cancer, bolster the immune system and even slow aging by promoting good vision and healthy skin. They have been recently reclassified as an “antidiabetic” food. They are also loaded with Beta Carotene and are an excellent source of copper, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin B-6.
Ginger has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries among many cultures. It has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain.
The skins of sweet potatoes contain a number of additional nutrients, so it is beneficial to eat your sweet potato with the skin- so far, I haven’t tried eating it because the skin of our sweet potatoes are usually very thick.
I stumbled upon a very interesting fact about spinach that may surprise you too- cooking spinach actually increases its health benefits! Just half a cup of cooked spinach will give you thrice as much nutrition as one cup of raw spinach.That’s because the body cannot completely break down the nutrients in raw spinach for its use… What?? What about all my supposedly healthy smoothies that very often contain spinach leaves???
I was just about to rethink whether I should swap spinach in my smoothies for different leafy greens, when I luckily came found out that as an exception to the advice above, research studies show that taking spinach in juice form is actually the healthiest way to consume it. Blend spinach with other vegetables or fruits to create a delicious glass of juice, or add spinach to smoothies…Phew!
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 small yellow onion
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 2 tbsp juice)
- Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 pound baby spinach
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 whole roasted sweet potatoes
- Cilantro leaves, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 370F (170C), wash the sweet potatoes and pat them dry with a dish towel.
- Rub potatoes with some oil, prick them several times with a fork and wrap them in aluminum foil.
- Place on a baking sheet and put them into the oven to roast.
- Depending on the size of your potatoes, it may take between 30 minutes to 1 hour for them to be done.
- While the potatoes are baking, heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic, ginger, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest, and red pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the chickpeas and cook over high heat for a few minutes, or until the chickpeas are beginning to turn golden and they are coated with the onion and garlic mixture.
- Toss in the spinach, one handful at a time. This will take about 5 minutes; stir in a handful or two and wait for it to wilt down and make room in the pot before adding the next handful.
- When all the spinach has been added, pour in the coconut milk, salt, ground ginger, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the chickpeas are warmed through. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice, if necessary.
- Serve hot over roasted sweet potatoes and sprinkle some cilantro leaves on top.