Cozy Sweet Potato Peanut Stew with Spinach

A simple, lightly-spiced peanut stew with sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach. Peanut butter is the magic ingredient which thickens the stew and gives a wonderful savory flavor and rich creamy texture.


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This creamy peanut stew has been featured on my blog before, almost two years ago now, but since then I’ve made it over and over again. Since it has become one of my favorite stew recipes, I decided to dig it out from the dark depths of my oldest blog posts, rephotograph it, and make a recipe video for it.

There's something really comforting about including peanut butter in a savory recipe. It makes this vegetable-packed soup, actually very filling and satisfying. The savory flavor of the peanut butter goes perfectly with the subtly sweet carrots and sweet potatoes, and tender baby spinach leaves add a splash of color.

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I love white sweet potatoes in this recipe, but orange sweet potatoes will also work quite well.

Sometimes, I like to serve this stew over a bowl of cooked whole grains. I've also served this stew on it's own, and it stands well as its own dish too!

For this recipe, I like to have the main ingredients chopped and measured before starting. Once everything is chopped, you're only about 30 minutes away from a finished meal.

Use 1/3 cup peanut butter or less for a lower-fat option, or use 1/2 cup or more for a creamier stew.

This recipe keeps really well in the fridge for up to 5 days, so double the ingredients if you want to enjoy it all week! 

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Check out the video below to see it all come together!


Sweet Potato Breakfast Toast (SOS-free!)

Violet attempting to steal a strawberry

Violet attempting to steal a strawberry


Have you ever heard of slicing a sweet potato into bread slice shaped pieces and toasting it? I know It doesn't sound like it would be all that life changing, but ever since I started doing this I eat so many more sweet potatoes and way less bread than ever before! 

I still love a nice toasted slice of whole grain bread, and while bread certainly isn't bad for you, especially when whole grains are involved, bread is still a processed food and processed foods are almost always less healthy than plant foods in their whole, unprocessed form.

I've noticed that I don't feel my best when I eat too much bread or any other processed food and I don't have quite as much energy as when I eat whole foods like sweet potatoes. So for the past couple of weeks I've switched out toast or oatmeal in the morning for baked sweet potato slices and I feel better than ever and stay full for longer as well. I love choosing different combinations of toppings and find myself looking forward to breakfast more than any other meal of the day. 

While sweet potato toast won't replace your sandwich bread and the natural sweetness of the potatoes is sometimes questionable with savory toppings, I find it to be the perfect vehicle for sweet toppings like nut butters, dairy-free yogurt, berries, and other fruits. 

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The sweet potato slices become perfectly crispy on the outside but the inside stays soft and gets super sweet.

With oatmeal, I always have to add a little maple syrup or coconut sugar, but I don't find that I need to add any sweetener to this breakfast besides fruit and it still tastes like a dessert. Actually this recipe is completely salt, oil, and sugar-free, aka SOS-free!

There are several ways in which you can make sweet potato toast, but however you make it, be sure to eat it right after it's been cooked. If it sits out for too long after you toast it, it will be a little soggy and floppy- not at all how the sweet potato toast experience is meant to be. They won't have that same quality that makes them so delicious unless you heat them back up again in the oven or toaster until crispy.

Luckily there are many options, even a make-ahead option, that will make sweet potato toast so quick and easy that it becomes your new favorite breakfast. 

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Tips & Tricks

  • When picking out sweet potatoes at the store, choose ones that are a bit wide and round. While long skinny potatoes will still work, I find that I can cram more toppings on a wider slice. 
  • When it comes time to slice the potato, make sure the large knife you are using is freshly sharpened. Then slice off a very small piece of the potato in the spot where you want it to be balanced while you cut. This will give it some stability so the potato doesn't roll while you're cutting into it.
  • Then, carefully slice it the long way into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. It's unlikely that all your pieces will be uniform in size and that's okay, just do your best and as long as they're somewhere near that size range you're good to go! 
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Cooking Options

Once you have your sweet potato sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices, there are a few different ways you can choose to make it into toast.

Here are a few that I've tried and tested-

Oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Place slices on a wire rack or on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes until the slices are lightly golden on the outside and the edges are just starting to brown. Flip them over halfway through cooking time for slightly more even crisping. Enjoy right away.

Air-fryer:

This is my favorite way to make sweet potato toast because there's no waiting for the oven to preheat and I don't even have to flip the slices over because the air fryer does such an amazingly even cooking job.

  1. Place the raw sweet potato slices in the air fryer basket and cook for 18-20 minutes 390℉ or whatever setting your air fryer has for potatoes/fries. 
  2. Add toppings and serve immediately after they come out of the air fryer. 

Toaster or Toaster Oven:

Yes, believe it or not you actually can put raw sweet potato in the toaster to make sweet potato toast, but it's probably not the most efficient way to do it. You would have to stand at the toaster for a long time while you keep checking on it to make sure it doesn't burn and end up putting it through a toast cycle several times before it's done.

This might not be the best thing for your toaster too as sweet potatoes can get a little sticky sometimes. So if you do want to try this method, it's best to cook the sweet potatoes in the oven first, then store them in the fridge and toss them in the toaster or toaster oven right before you eat them. 

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Place slices on a wire rack or on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender but not fully cooked.
  3. Remove pan from oven and allow potatoes to cool completely before transferring to storage container. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  4. When you want sweet potato toast, grab a precooked slice from the fridge and put it in your toaster or toaster oven until it's crispy and golden on the outside, then enjoy right away. 
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My Favorite Toppings

  • Nut or seed butter- (pecan, walnut, almond, cashew, sunflower etc.) I like to buy raw nuts in bulk and make nut butter myself in the food processor and always have a jar of it in the fridge. 
  • Dairy-free yogurt- ideally sugar-free, unsweetened, minimal ingredients. My favorite brand is Forager cashew yogurt, but coconut or almond yogurt can be great as well! 
  • Hemp seeds or ground flax seeds- I add these in for omega 3s when I'm using any nut butter that is high in omega 6, such as pecan, almond and cashew. When I make walnut butter which is super high in omega-3s I leave the omega-ratio-balancing seeds off.
  • Bananas- available all year & perfect for when other fruits are out of season
  • Berries- blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.
  • Other seasonal fruit- figs, plums, peaches, etc. 
  • Cinnamon- cloves and nutmeg also pair well with certain fruits like apples and pears

If you decide to try making sweet potato toast, let me know what you think of it and also what cooking method and toppings you chose to use! ☼

Mediterranean Minestrone Soup with Sweet Potato and Fresh Herbs

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Minestrone has got to be one of the most well-known comforting soups out there. For me it's always been one of those throw all the vegetables you have in a pot and see what works kind of a recipe, but after many attempts I've learned what my favorite qualities are in a minestrone soup and what needs to stay consistent for the best results. 

I've found that the best vegetables to use in a minestrone are mediterranean veggies like bell pepper, zucchini, potatoes, and chickpeas. They pair so well with a tomato broth and fresh herbs like thyme and sage. 

When I think of mediterranean ingredients, for some reason I think of kalamata olives. I am a big fan of olives in places you wouldn't expect to find olives, but I know many others probably don't share the same enthusiasm for olives in everything. If olives are not your thing, go ahead and omit them from the recipe, but if you love olives as much as I do then I hope the idea of olives in a soup is a bit more appealing. I think they add such a lovely salty flavor, especially when chopped very small. 

The sweet potato makes this recipe so much more filling and healthy, but yukon gold potatoes will also work well. I would advise against russets though, as they are a bit too floury and will break down too much in the soup. I'd also advise against carrots and cauliflower, which I've used in this soup in the past and felt like they just didn't quite belong. If you don't have chickpeas, you can definitely substitute any white beans you have, and it's even possible that other types of beans like kidney and black could work in this too, but I've only tried using white beans and chickpeas so far with great results. 

This recipe is perfect for a chilly late-fall night when you're looking for something that is easy to cook all in one pot fairly quickly. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! 

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I've been working on bringing more of my recipes to life through videos, and lately my favorite way to do this has been through stop motion. I've loved making stop motion videos in college as a photography major, but it's been about seven years since the last stop motion video I've made, so I've got some practicing to do to remember how it all works (not getting my own shadow and kitchen utensils in the frame for example >.<)  Although it's a bit tedious, there's something so fun about the process of setting it up and watching it all come together for the end result. I'll definitely be making more of these for future recipes!



Chocolate Cherry Pudding Pie Tarts

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Chocolate and cherries have been one of my favorite pairings lately. These mini pie tarts are so full of chocolatey fruity goodness, all while keeping things healthy with whole plant food ingredients. These are oil-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. The magic fluffy binding ingredient at work here is actually baked sweet potato. You won't even know it's in there, but it's the backbone of this recipe providing structure and texture to the pie filling. 

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I first heard about the idea of chocolate sweet potato pudding from this recipe by The Vegan 8 and I was so amazed by how the sweet potato made a pudding consistency when blended. I kept experimenting with this idea, adding various flavors with fruits and firming up the texture with starch to make a pie filling.  The result was these decadent, yet still super healthy mini chocolate cherry pie tarts. 

Although cherries aren't in season at the moment, frozen cherries work just fine in this recipe. Just make sure to thaw and then drain them first. Cherries make the tarts extra sweet, which makes it possible to add less sugar form of maple syrup, and the best part is that they're a whole food which actually provides dietary fiber.

Thanks to this fiber, even though we are adding more sugar in the form of fruit, we are actually blunting the insulin response. If you were to eat the same meal without berries, it would cause a greater insulin spike than if you included berries in your meal. Another benefit of adding fruit, is that the polyphenols and phytonutrients can actually block some of the uptake of sugar by the cells that line our intestines. So there's some more reasons to eat lots of fruit if you needed some!

This recipe makes enough for two 4-inch diameter mini tart baking cups, but if you increase the recipe portion size and cooking time, this could make a full-sized pie.

The crust is just about as simple as it gets- made from almond flour, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Stir until it becomes clumpy and holds together when pressed, then press into a silicone or otherwise non-stick pie tart pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and then bake the crust on it's own for about 10 minutes. Then allow to cool slightly, add the pie filling and bake for 15 more minutes, or longer if making a full-sized pie. 

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You could make a bunch of mini pies or even one big pie to share at holiday parties or to gift to friends, everyone will be amazed that these are actually healthy and made with sweet potato. It's the best feeling to eat delicious pie and feel still good during and after eating!

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Sweet Potato Leek & Kale Hash

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This nutritious breakfast hash is a perfectly wholesome way to start your day and get in those dark leafy greens. For a while I thought that blending greens into smoothies was the only way they'd ever make their way into my breakfast, but on those days when I'm craving a warm hearty breakfast that's not oatmeal, veggie hash has been my go-to meal. 

This savory breakfast is probably not for everyone. I'll admit, it's a little hardcore- the kind of breakfast that maybe you'd imagine your dreadlocked, buckwheat-sprouting, kundalini yoga teacher might be into. It's probably not the right dish to serve to hungry brunch guests who are skeptical about what vegan food is. But I promise, it's still really delicious, and so full of all of the important nutrients that your body needs to make you feel super healthy and strong. 

If it helps, think of this like a scramble or stir fry, except instead of eggs we're using sweet potato, and instead of oil, we're lightening things up using just a bit of water and lemon juice. Okay, maybe it's nothing like scrambled eggs, but it's going to make you feel fantastic! This is the kind of meal you'll want to make when you need all the nutrition you can get in one easy to assemble package. 

This week I've been having a little bit too much fun in the kitchen. I love cooking gourmet, fancy meals with complicated ingredients and that require a whole days work of rolling dough and folding things into fun shapes. Unfortunately, these recipes always have lots of flour, salt, and sugar, and tend to lack the fiber and nutrition you'd get from a much simpler meal. After a day or two of gourmet experimentation, I was more than ready for a big simple bowl of veggies. So I chopped up a whole head of kale and the biggest sweet potato I could find and this hash recipe was born. 

This dish gets most of the flavor from the herbs, leek, garlic, and lemon juice, so there's not a lot of complexity going on here, but these simple ingredients allow subtle sweet flavors of the veggies to shine. If you don't have a leek, you could definitely substitute a small onion instead, but the flavor will be a little bit stronger. 

I hope you enjoy this super healthy recipe!


Sweet Potato & Cabbage Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

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Cabbage and sweet potatoes have been the focus of nearly all of my recent recipes, but this salad has taken my enthusiasm for both of them to the next level. Crunchy raw cabbage, carrots, and bell pepper tossed with a creamy miso tahini dressing is the perfect combination. Add in some roasted sweet potatoes and you have a filling meal that almost couldn't get any healthier. 

I've never been that into salads- mainly because of lettuce. It's watery, low in nutrients, and in order to fill up on it I feel like I'd have to eat tons. So I tend to stick to vegetable soups, but raw vegetables have amazing nutritional benefits that I'd be missing out on if I didn't include them in my meal rotations.

Purple cabbage is one of the most nutritionally dense foods you can eat, as are sweet potatoes, so these two foods in the same meal make for an amazingly healthy combination. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, calcium, and many other important vitamins and minerals. 

This miso dressing is completely oil-free, but still so creamy and savory, and it totally changes the cabbage flavor for the better. The raw veggies lose that bitter taste and simply lend their fantastic crunchy texture to the savory flavors of the sauce. 

This recipe is perfect for lunch or as a side salad to be served with dinner. It will serve 2 people for lunch or 4 people as a side dish, and the best part- it's ready in under 30 minutes! 

Recipe below!

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One-Pot Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry [Vegan, Oil-Free, Quick & Easy!]

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It's starting to feel like fall here in Washington and I find myself craving sweet potatoes now more than ever before. I especially love sweet potato in curries with warming spices like turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. All you need is one pot and roughly 30 minutes later you have a cozy bowl of delicious food to snuggle up with. 

I've been experimenting a lot lately with adding nut butters into savory stews and curries, which if you haven't tried it before it may sound a little weird, but I promise it works! It gives savory dishes the best creamy texture with no oil or coconut milk needed. If you love the taste of peanut butter go ahead and use that for this recipe, but if you're skeptical or not a nut-butter person, try using raw cashew butter, which has a very mild flavor but will still give this dish a wonderful creamy texture. 

This curry is super healthy and packed with fiber and micronutrients from whole plant foods. Lentils and sweet potatoes are two of the healthiest foods in the world, aside from dark green leafy veggies- which you can totally add in there too! Fiber is what keeps our digestive system working properly and keeps our gut bacteria friendly. Long term, high fiber consumption reduces bloating and removes toxins from our systems. Forget juice cleanses and clean up your insides with high-fiber plant foods! That's where the real healing can start.

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Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese with Mushroom Bacon (Nut-Free, Vegan, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free)

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Since going vegan two years ago, I've spent a lot of time trying out all sorts of different mac and cheese recipes. I've tried cashew cheese, almond cheese, butternut squash cheese, and just about every type of sweet potato, or potato and carrot cheese sauce there is, but I keep coming back to this version. 

This recipe is inspired by the sweet potato mac at one of my favorite NYC restaurants, By Chloe. I've made this version nut-free (depending on which plant milk you use), flour-free, oil-free, and it can also be gluten free depending on the pasta you choose. It gets a tangy cheddar-like bite from the tahini and lemon juice and a classic cheesy flavor from the nutritional yeast. 

The smoky mushroom bacon is really the star of this recipe. For a while I never really sought out vegan versions of bacon because having been a vegetarian for most of my life, it wasn't something that I needed a replacement for, but after trying all different sorts of vegan bacon made from whole plants I've really grown fond of mushroom bacon in particular. It's smoky, salty, and just the perfect texture to add into mac and cheese. 

If you're looking for the most comforting vegan recipe that's still healthy and packed full of nutrients, this is it! For a truly nourishing whole food meal, use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta of choice and add in a handful of spinach. 

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think by leaving a like or a comment down below. I hope you enjoy this indulgent yet guilt-free mac and cheese recipe as much as I do!

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Lentil & Caramelized Onion Soup With Ethiopian Berbere Spices


Lentil soup is a classic healthy recipe, but maybe not always the most exciting. So I experimented, starting with a french onion style soup base and adding some Ethiopian Berbere spiced black lentils. I was met with the most flavor-packed lentil soup I've ever had. Not only spicy, but savory from the caramelized onions and a little tangy from balsamic vinegar and lime juice. 

Adjust the spice level to suit your tastes. the first time I made this my partner seemed to think 2 tablespoons of berbere was perfect, but for me my face was melting off. If you're sensitive to spices like me, I'd suggest starting with 1/2 tablespoon and tasting it before adding more. 

I love to caramelize the onions slowly to really bring out the sweet flavors, but if you don't have time, just cook the onions until they are translucent and soft. With the time reduced on that step, this recipe can be prepared on a busy weeknight in just over 30 minutes. Make a large batch and keep in the fridge all week for an instant filling hearty meal.

I've been trying to include more legumes into my diet as I've been noticing lately the more I eat of them, the better I feel. Lentils are one of the most fiber and protein rich plant foods around. Fiber is incredibly important and 97 percent of americans are deficient in it. Soluble fiber in lentils can lower your cholesterol and help prevent heart disease and stroke. The insoluble fiber in lentils removes excess hormones, cholesterol, and other carcinogenic substances from our systems that can cause disease. Fiber can only be found in whole plant foods.