December is always one of the busiest months of the year, and this December promises to be no different.
Between the shopping for presents and baking of cookies and hosting of brunches (I’m hosting a brunch this Sunday! It’s going to be easy! Only 3 different casseroles and homemade biscuits and cookies and also fudge! Why do I do this to myself? Why can’t I be a normal person and go out to a restaurant?)
So in the spirit of making life easier – a lesson I clearly have yet to learn – let’s be good to ourselves and agree to keep dinners simple this month. Are you in?
We’ll start with filling, vegetarian mains that involve throwing stuff on a sheet pan. While the stuff is roasting (in this case, sweet potatoes and chickpeas), we’ll chop up some other veggies and whisk together a quick sauce.
That sounds reasonable for a Thursday night, right?
Luckily Minimalist Baker has us covered with a treasure trove of such recipes. A few weeks ago I made her Mediterranean baked sweet potatoes and fell for them hard.
How can you turn a sweet potato into a filling and complete meal? Top it with spicy roasted chickpeas, sautéed kale (my addition), and a tahini sauce that is the stuff dreams are made of.
Plus it comes together in 30 minutes, leaving you plenty of time for your 3rd run to CVS in under 2 hours because you ran out of Christmas lights again because you’ve never had a tree this tall before, which seemed lovely in the abstract but in reality is a heck of a lot more work than the 5 foot tree you got last year, plus then there are all the pine needles you’ll need to vacuum up once you’re done.
But remember: it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Mediterranean sweet potatoes
(Adapted from Minimalist Baker)
4 medium sweet potatoes
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for the sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, coriander, cinnamon, smoked paprika
Pinch of sea salt, optional
Squeeze of lemon juice, optional
For the sauce:
1/4 cup tahini (or hummus)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon, or about 1 tablespoon
3/4 teaspoon dried dill
3 cloves garlic, minced
Water or unsweetened almond milk to thin
Sea salt, optional
To top (optional):
About 2 cups sautéed kale
About 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or diced
1/4 cup chopped parsley, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Hot sauce of your choosing
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
Rinse and scrub potatoes and cut them in half length wise. (Or if you don’t like hacking into uncooked potatoes, you can roast for 10 minutes, pull them out, let them cool a bit, then slice in half and roast for 20 minutes longer, but this will obviously add time.)
Rub sweet potatoes with olive oil and place cut-side down on the lined baking sheet. Add rinsed and drained chickpeas to a bowl and toss with olive oil and spices. Spread on the same baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
While sweet potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, prepare the sauce. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine, adding a bit of warm water or almond milk to thin the consistency if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
If using, separate kale leaves from ribs, tear into bite-sized pieces and sauté in olive oil until it wilts and starts to get crispy, about 4 minutes.
To serve, place sweet potatoes cut-side up and rough up the insides a bit with a fork. Top with chickpeas, kale and parsley and tomatoes, if using, and drizzle with sauce.