It was a treat to (virtually) host an awesome dietetic intern (Rachel Murray) from University of Virginia this spring. For part of her internship experience, I requested that she develop a plant-based recipe based on something that inspires her. Here’s her delightful creation–and the story behind it. (HINT! I made a meal of it by simply pairing her Hasselback sweet potato alongside a cup of black bean soup. Sooo good!)
“I am a Carolina girl through and through. From the way I talk and the sports teams I cheer for (go Tar Heels!) to the food I eat. And that means eating a lot of sweet potatoes. North Carolina is the leading sweet potato producer in the US, and we, North Carolinians, eat them just about any which way. No doubt, I have seriously upped my sweet potato game from when I was a kid and thought sweet potato French fries were ingenious. In searching for new ideas, I realized the world of sweet potato recipes is quite literally, boundless.
Insert, the Hasselback potato. I stumbled on the Hasselback potato a few years back and immediately thought it was the most innovative creation since sliced bread. It was the perfect vehicle for all my toppings, and I really like toppings. Naturally, I replaced the usual white potato with one of my sweet potatoes, and voilà! I was hooked.
This recipe brings a bright twist to the usual sweet recipes we all know and love. It uses fresh herbs and citrus to give a savory note to the slightly honeyed taste of a sweet potato. Don’t be afraid to sub the sauce for different toppings of your choice — be adventurous! Some of my favorite combos are creamy nut butter, sliced banana, and granola; leftover veggie chili; vegan coleslaw and BBQ tofu; and crumbled goat cheese and grilled fig salsa.” ~ Rachel Murray
- 4 medium sweet potatoes (7- to 8-ounces each)
- 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 servings Fresh Chimichurri Sauce (see recipe below)
- 2 tablespoons salted roasted pepitas
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Make a series of 1/8 to 1/4-inch-crosswise cuts down the length of each potato. Be sure not to cut all the way through the potato.
- Place the cut potatoes onto a large cast-iron skillet or unbleached parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush the sweet potatoes with olive oil, making sure to get some between the slices. Sprinkle with the salt.
- Roast the sweet potatoes until cooked through and slightly crisp, about 50 minutes.
- Drizzle with the chimichurri sauce, sprinkle with pepitas, and serve
Per serving (with sauce): 360 calories, 26g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 390mg sodium, 32g total carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 7g total sugars includes 0g added sugars, 4g protein
Fresh Chimichurri Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 2 tablespoons each
Ingredients: • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil • 1/3 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves & tender stems • 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves & tender stems • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice • 2 teaspoons fresh orange or mandarin orange juice • 1 large garlic clove, chopped • ¼ teaspoon sea salt • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until desired texture.
HINT! Double or triple the chimichurri sauce recipe to serve with other dishes throughout the week! You can drizzle it onto salads, tacos, and roasted root vegetables--or simply enjoy with homemade crostini. Store extra chimichurri sauce in an airtight container (I like to use a mason jar!) and place in the fridge for up to a week.
©Rachel Murray: Dietetic intern Rachel Murray with North Carolina sweet potatoes.