As fall approaches, I can’t get enough of nutrient dense root vegetables. Most notably: the sweet potato. While some prefer variety in their diet, I could eat some form of sweet potato every day: mashed for breakfast, fried for lunch, and stuffed for dinner.
Stuffed sweet potato, you ask? Yes. My multiple experiments in the kitchen to include as much sweet potato as possible has led to one of my staple year-round dinners –the kale & white bean stuffed sweet potato. Who needs to wait for fall to have a hearty, yet surprisingly light, dinner? Not me!
Sweet potatoes are an all-star source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and the purple sweet potatoes are even thought to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Just as the recipe name implies, you simply bake the sweet potatoes, choose your green and your white bean, prepare as directed, then stuff the greens & beans into the sweet potato for a healthy and satisfying edible boat! It’s truly delicious.
What I love about this recipe is the flexibility to choose your own beans and greens. Not in to kale? Try chard or spinach. And while we chose Great Northern beans, don’t be afraid to try anything else from cannellini to chickpeas.
If you’re cooking the beans from scratch, you might simmer them with a bay leaf, sprigs of rosemary and sage. Of course you can also use canned beans which are quick and easy, but gain more flavor with a quick simmer with the same flavor agents!
Bake the sweet potatoes for 45 minutes to one hour, or until soft with a fork. About 20 minutes before they are done, begin the cooking process of the beans and greens.
For meal planning pros, feel free to bake the sweet potatoes 3-5 days in advance, store in the refrigerator, then reheat. If that’s not how you roll, fear not. This is a great recipe that takes an hour to complete, but with only 20 minutes of hands-on cooking time. The sweet potatoes take about an hour to bake, so use those first 40 minutes to catch up on your to-do list, play with your family, or just finally take the breather you’ve been looking for all day.
Special insider tip: One of the deal breakers that pushes this dish from good to fabulous is the fresh sprigs of rosemary. The seasonings get added to the pan first without the oil, shallots, garlic, spices, and rosemary. I’ve used dried rosemary, subbed in oregano or basil, or just flat out forgot it all together. It always turns out edible and acceptable, but why settle for just that? The fresh rosemary provides a boldness that cannot be mimicked any other way. Just make sure to remove the fresh sprig before serving!
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Beans & Greens
4 sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1, 4″ sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
12 oz. cooked and drained white beans
6 cups kale, trimmed and sliced into ribbons
1/4 lemon, juiced
sea salt & pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Scrub the sweet potatoes and poke them in a few places with a fork. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until soft all the way through, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Start the beans and greens about 15-20 minutes before potatoes are done. In a wide, deep saucepan with a cover, heat olive oil over low-med heat. Add shallots and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, stirring for about 1 minute.
4. Add the beans, cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the kale, cover the pan, and cook until the kale is soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove the rosemary sprig, stir in the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. To serve, slice each sweet potato lengthwise and push on the ends to open up the middle. Spoon the beans and greens into the center. Enjoy!
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recipe by Katie McGrath; photos by Kacy Meinecke for DietsInReview.com