Something a little different for your Meatless Monday.
Unless you actually like eating the same thing over and over again (in that case…buh-bye! I see you don’t need me 😥 ), I put together a new recipe that pairs the traditional fall flavor of sweet potatoes with an array of different tastes – hearty lentils, tangy lime, fresh cilantro and creamy avocado – and combines them all into one delicious, protein-filled quinoa bowl.
This recipe is vegetarian but can easily be adjusted to suit your and your family’s dietary needs (add some meat, make it vegan etc.). It is also pretty flexible in terms of spice. You can keep it mild and kid-friendly or you can really kick it up a notch by adding lots of spicy chili powder and smoky cumin for a more grown-up version. Whatever floats your boat! My family really loves this dish and I hope you and yours will, too!
For the bowl:
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (1/2 inch cubes)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 1 can of black lentils (BPA-free and organic if possible), drained and rinsed
- Chili powder, cumin, sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
For the cream:
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup organic Greek yogurt (optional)
- 1/4-1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- Juice and zest from 1/2 lime
- 1 tablespoon raw organic honey or maple syrup
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Toss the sweet potatoes in one tablespoon avocado oil and season with pepper and salt. Spread them in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes and bake for another 5-10 minutes until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Set aside.
- In a large frying pan, heat one tablespoon avocado oil over medium heat. Add the scallion and garlic and quickly sauté. Add the quinoa, sweet potatoes, lentils, and cilantro. Combine and cook for a few minutes until everything is evenly heated. Season with chili powder, cumin, and sea salt and drizzle with lime juice (and a little more avocado oil if necessary).
- Put all of the ingredients for the avocado cream in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Fill the quinoa mixture into individual bowls and garnish with the avocado cream. Serve immediately.
- No time? No problem! You can easily prepare the quinoa and the sweet potatoes ahead of time which will make for a pretty straightforward assembly of the bowls come dinner time. I always cook one cup dry quinoa which yields about 3 cups cooked and keep the rest in the fridge to add to salads or to eat for breakfast the next day.
- If you are new to cooking with chili powder and cumin, I’d recommend starting with a 1/4 teaspoon of each and increase slowly to reach your desired spice level.
- Sweet potatoes are an awesome ingredient to have on hand. They are super tasty and versatile while being relatively inexpensive. You can buy them in bulk and conventional (as opposed to organic) as they are on the EWG’s “clean 15” list. I like to bake a whole batch to have readily available to add to eggs, to enjoy as an easy side dish or to put in my kids’ lunch boxes. Sweet potatoes are some of the most nutritious vegetables around as they are packed with calcium, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A and C. They can be found in your local grocery store virtually year-round, however, they are in season in November and December.
- With only 230 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per cup, lentils are a tiny but mighty nutritional powerhouse. They are a good source of vegetarian protein, seven essential minerals (including iron) and B-vitamins, and are an even better source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.