I tend to get on food “kicks” really easily. I think it must be the recipe experimenter in me, but I usually make something, and if I love it, I want to make it again and again – tweaking it each time to try something a little new. Recently, my kick has been sweet potatoes. They’re inexpensive, filled with good nutrients, filling, and most importantly, delicious.
Luckily I’m usually surrounded by people who love food almost as much as I do, so when my sister shared a recipe for loaded sweet potatoes with me, I just knew I had to try it. It’s not the quickest meal (how a potato can possibly take 45 minutes still blows my mind), but “hands-on” time is extremely limited – we’re talking 10 minutes maximum. I bet you could get it down to 7 if you don’t spend time artfully arranging pieces of cilantro as toppings.
Since I’m typically cooking for one, the recipe below gives instructions for baking one sweet potato, but I only use a quarter of the black beans, so you could easily bake more sweet potatoes to feed more people, or do as I do, and use the leftover black beans for topping salad or throwing in a quesadilla later in the week.
I say this a lot, but also consider adapting this to your own tastes – and what’s in your fridge! I used plain greek yogurt as a topping because I always keep it in the fridge, but if you prefer sour cream, that would be great too. Green tomatillo salsa is my favorite because it feels so fresh, and I don’t find a medium spice version to be overwhelmingly hot (even for a self-proclaimed spice wimp). Bonus – if you do get some salsa verde for this recipe, I’ll tell you next week how to use up the leftovers in one of my favorite healthy dinners. I know! You can hardly wait.
I feel like I might have mexican-ified a baked potato here, but seriously the results are awesome. The black beans are simply canned beans with some cumin, garlic powder and lemon (or lime) juice. I highly recommend buying some cumin if it’s not something you currently have in your spice cabinet. It’s one of my favorites because it’s so flavorful, and goes well in a variety of dishes – particularly those Mexican or Indian inspired flavors. I also sprinkle it on top of veggies if I’m heating them up in a pan. Seriously, you’ll find a ton of uses for it.
Finally, of course there’s avocado atop this delicious creation. Honestly, with the avocado, you don’t even need cheese, but if you’ve got some laying in your kitchen, I don’t think you’ll regret adding both 🙂
Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from: Honey-Lime Chipotle Baked Loaded Sweet Potato
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 1 baked potato (*note that this makes extra black beans, and could be increased to feed up to four)
1 sweet potato (choose an organic sweet potato if you plan on eating the skin)
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
Sprinkle of sea salt
1 can black beans
1 tablespoon lemon (or lime) juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cheese (I used a low-fat shredded Mexican blend)
1 tablespoon salsa verde (I used a medium heat variety)
1/4 avocado, sliced
1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon nonfat plain greek yogurt
Extra lemon wedges for serving, optional
Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub and dry the outside of the sweet potato. Rub the skin with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt. Wrap in foil and bake for 40-45 minutes (baking time will vary based on thickness of potato – you can start checking at 35 minutes, or it may take up to 50). Sweet potato is done when it can be pierced easily with a fork.
When your sweet potato has about 10 minutes left to bake, drain and rinse black beans. Combine black beans with cumin and garlic powder in a small frying pan and cook just until heated (3-4 minutes). Prep the remainder of your ingredients (chop cilantro, slice avocado, slice lemon wedges).
When the sweet potato is fully baked, carefully slice it open lengthwise. Top with 1/4 of the black beans, cheese, salsa, avocado, cilantro and greek yogurt.