Easy Weeknight Dinners // Un-Recipe No. 24:
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Niçoise Style
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Stuffed Sweet Potatoes inspired by the traditional French Niçoise salad. Lightly cooked fresh produce and lemon vinaigrette help make this a pleasing and healthful meal. Pin this post.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Batch of Homemade Lemon Vinaigrette
Green Beans (aka Haricot Vert)
Salt & Pepper
Niçoise Olives (I used Kalamata Olives instead)
Butter Lettuce (I used Romaine Lettuce instead)
9 oz. Package of Beyond Meat Beyond Chicken Grilled Strips (optional)
2. Blanch Da Beans: Blanching is a nice trick for making raw vegetables more tender and palatable while retaining some crispness. The most common way to cook vegetables is to steam them. But steaming vegetables can strip them of many of their nutrients (it kills me to dump that bright green liquid down the drain!) and can leave them mushy and wilty if not done properly.
Fortunately, blanching is a quick and easy solution, but you have to move quickly.
To blanch, first bring a large pot of water to boil. When you have a rolling boil, gently place the beans in the pot, careful to not splash boiling water on yourself.
Next, get a big bowl and dump two trays of ice cubes into it and fill it full with ice cold water.
This should have taken you about a minute and a half, which is perfect because that’s about how long the beans should boil. Turn off the heat and immediately dump the water and beans into a strainer, dumping water down the drain.
Quickly put beans in the ice bath to halt cooking. Leave the beans in the ice bath for a few minutes until they don’t feel warm anymore. Congratulations, you should now have tender, crisp, slightly cooked green beans!
3. Sauté The Red Potatoes: Cut the red potatoes in half, then in half again so you have little bite-size wedges. Heat a small amount of olive oil in the pan and pan-fry the potatoes until they are fully cooked. You’ll know they’re cooked when they are soft on the inside when you pierce with a fork and have crispy brown edges. Add a little dried thyme and salt and pepper as desired (and more spices if you like). For a guide on what additional herbs to add, follow the ingredients in the lemon vinaigrette recipe so you know the flavors will be unified.
4. Prep The Salad Fixins: Prepare the romaine by tearing it into pieces of a more manageable size. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half if you desire. Same with the olives. If you’re using Beyond Meat Grilled Strips prepare them according to the package directions. Likewise, if you’re topping with any other protein (like tuna or hard-boiled egg), prepare so everything is cooked, organized and ready for assembling.
5. Assemble the Niçoise Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: When the sweet potatoes are finished baking and cool enough to handle, cut a long seam into each. While holding both ends, gently push towards the center to coax the sweet potato open. Now, go crazy! Usually I try to artfully place the stuffed sweet potato ingredients inside and on top of the sweet potato, but for this one I couldn’t help myself. I piled my Niçoise-inspired stuffed sweet potato high! Then poured myself a tall glass of red wine and dined al fresco.
Chick ‘un. Read this fun article and learn why Beyond Meat is such a cool company.
For The Win:
Regulate Temperature. If you want this salad to be cold, make all the ingredients ahead of time and let them chill in the fridge for a couple hours. If you’re pressed for time, you can serve this dish hot and it will be just as delicious. I usually decide how I want to serve it based on the season. In the warmer months I push this dish more in the direction of a salad by going heavy on the romaine and sometimes even serving the cooked sweet potato diced on top instead of using it as a base. On the flip side, lemon vinaigrette warmed by a fresh-out-of-the-oven sweet potato and topped with crispy red potatoes can make this dish the perfect comfort food during cooler months.
Substitutions Are Not Compromises. This dish is inspired by the classic French Niçoise salad. But do you see any tuna on here? Any hard-boiled eggs? Nope. In fact, I didn’t even use Niçoise olives, from which the salad borrows its name. I used Kalamatas instead.
For me, what makes a Niçoise salad a Niçoise salad is the combination of expertly cooked fresh vegetables mixed with the brininess of olives and the zip of lemon dijon dressing. I made many modifications to this traditional dish, but it’s still a filling protein-rich salad. And it’s still delicious.