Throughout my life I've dabbled in various levels of vegetarianism, even gave veganism a short-lived try in my teens. From the time I was about 13 til I was 30 (minus a small stint for about a year or two) I didn't eat any red meat at all, and was primarily a pescatarian (someone who eats fish, eggs, dairy, and vegetables). It wasn't until I became pregnant for the first time that I suddenly found myself craving meat, which was very uncomfortable for me. And while my first pregnancy passed with me mostly retaining my pescatarian lifestyle, my second pregnancy saw it fly out the window.
I remember very well, being about 3-4 weeks pregnant with my son and having the most irresistible craving for a cheeseburger. I couldn't even remember the last time I had had a cheeseburger. The feeling was so strong that I drove me and my daughter to Whole Foods, bought grass fed ground beef and ground bison and proceeded to make cheeseburgers for dinner that night. If there had been any question about the little person taking root in my womb, the doubt was gone at that point. Regardless, these days I still try to limit our red meat consumption to no more than once a week, "other" meat to once a week and then fish or vegetarian the rest of the time.
So last night was our vegan night! And I love this recipe because it can take many forms, be adapted to your own tastes and those of your individual family members etc! It's also SUPER easy! So when I'm extra tired from a night out living the #doulalife it's nice to have recipes like this that are super simple but leave me feeling great the next day. There will be LOTS of ways you can change this up and still have it be healthy, nutritious, and delicious. And I challenge those of you that have very meat dependent households to give this a try with your family. You may be surprised that having vegan meals does not mean flavorless, bland or boring. Both my kids love sweet potatoes and broccoli so this is a hit and both my husband and au pair added it to the list of "Things We'd Eat Again". So #momwin
LOADED VEGAN SWEET POTATOES
Serves 4 adults or in my case, 3 adults and 2 littles
4 medium to large golden yams
1 can organic black beans (I love making beans from dry, but I was running late yesterday, so Sprouts had organic black beans on sale for 99cents/can! so score!) You could also sub any other type of bean here...
2 heads of broccoli stems peeled and chopped and cut into small florets (you could sub 2-3 bunches of kale, or chard, cauliflower, collard greens, or combination of all of the above)
1/2C chopped green onions
Salt and pepper
For the Romesco Sauce
2 large red bell peppers, roasted, skin, stem, and seeds removed (or a jar of roasted peppers)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/3C of toasted almonds
1/2tsp chili powder
1tsp sherry vinegar
1 slice of bread lightly toasted (if gluten-free, you can sub 1/4c garbanzo beans)
1-2Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400degrees
2. Start by washing the skins of the potatoes well, then dry them, and place them on a cookie sheet. Spray with olive oil spray and lightly salt the skins. Prick with a fork over the skin then put them in the oven on the cookie sheet. Bake for 45-60minutes until a knife slides easily to the center of the potatoes. (If you're in a hurry, you can simply chop the potatoes into 1in cubes then toss with olive oil and bake for 25 minutes, then you have power bowls for dinner instead of loaded potatoes, both delicious)
3. Open your can of black beans, rinse, then place in a small pot with 1/2C water and 1/2 tsp salt. I also added 1/2 tsp fajita seasoning because it's yummy. Cover and turn on low to heat slowly while the rest is cooking.
4. Place all your broccoli in a bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper then place on a rimmed baking sheet. Add this on another rack in the oven when you have about 20 minutes left of baking time
5. Once your potatoes and broccoli are cooked, place a potato in a flat bowl or plate, slice it open, then spoon on a generous 1/2c of black beans, a good helping of broccoli then sprinkle with green onions. Top with the Romesco sauce below. If you're not up for making sauce or this one doesn't speak to you, use your favorite green goddess dressing, or barbeque sauce, or a lemon tahini sauce. All of those are awesome options. Serve! Super easy!
For the Romesco Sauce:
1. Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend! You may need to add a bit of water or olive oil and use a spatula to push down the sides until you get a well incorporated but thick and chunky paste, similar in consistency to hummus