It’s now been pretty much exactly two years since I went plant-based. I remember back then everything was so new and exciting. I had so many things to learn and with some things I struggled more than others; a great example being simple everyday meals!
As a carnivore, I felt like I had a million options. And especially when I had just stopped using eggs, dairy and meat products I felt like I just simply couldn’t have as much variety on a plant-based diet. How do I replace my quick afternoon omelets? How do I replace my ham sandwiches? How do I replace my morning yogurt?
It took some time and various trial-and-errors to find new routines and ways of thinking. Nowadays I rarely struggle with figuring out with what to eat. Big part of that has been coming up with new everyday food items; the stuff I always have in my kitchen and which can be turned into various meals with tiny effort.
And yes, today’s sweet potato mash & spicy chickpeas & sesame kale is a fine example of one of these just-using-what-I-have-in-my-kitchen meals. These three main ingredients are my kitchen staples, and no lie, I always have them on hand.
If the meal seems complicated, I assure you, it’s far from it. It’s just three very simple and nutritious elements put together in a delicious way!
Sweet potato is so great I could probably talk all night about it (yeah, I know I’m the life of any party). It’s naturally sweet taste is perfect for so many things (especially spicy chickpeas! TRUST ME!) and you can whip up basically anything from it. Sweet potato fries, sweet potato pancakes, sweet potato porridge, sweet potato mash… And better yet, just plain good ol’ oven roasted sweet potato.
Chickpeas are one of my favorite legumes because of their neutral taste and texture. Confession: I used to be a big bean hater. Chickpeas were the first legumes I started incorporating in my diet after going plant-based and they restored my faith in all beans. They’re super versatile and I love them especially when they’re cooked so that they turn slightly crispy. And that’s exactly what you’re going to be doing with this meal. Mmmmm!
And kale, oh kale. I’m trying to incorporate more dark leafy greens into my diet lately, and this sesame kale has definitely been a game changer. Even though I like healthy food, I also like that my food tastes good, and let’s face it friends, kale itself isn’t what I call a great taste experience. But, when you cook it in a tiny bit of sesame oil and season it well with lemon and salt, you’ll get a delicious and still super healthy side dish for almost any meal.
This makes two big portions or three slightly smaller ones.
Sweet potato mash
- 2 medium size sweet potatos
- 3 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 can of rinsed and drained chickpeas
- 2 tbsp oil
- 0,5 tsp salt
- 0,5 tsp paprica
- 0,5 tsp cumin
- 0,5 tsp chilli powder
- black pepper to taste
- 200g shredded kale, washed and stem removed
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- sesame seeds to garnish
Start by preparing the sweet potato mash. Halve the sweet potatoes and roast them in 200 degrees celsius 30-40 minutes or until fully cooked and soft. Spoon the soft sweet potato out of its skin to a large bowl, add oil and spices and blend smooth with a hand blender or fork.
Next, mix the chickpeas, oil and spices together in a bowl. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet and cook in the oven at 200 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden and crispy. Stir the chickpeas up halfway through baking so they cook evenly!
Next, prep the sesame kale. Start by heating the oil in a large pan. Add the shredded kale and stir for couple of minutes until the kale softens slightly but doesn’t lose its bright green color. Turn the heat down and add the lemon juice and salt.
Assemble the portions and enjoy!1