Loaded sweet potatoes sound like the ultimate, indulgent comfort food. Usually piled high with ingredients like sour cream, bacon, and cheese, they may taste good, but it’s better for our health to have a clean version. We’ve chosen sweet potatoes as the base for this vegan version, and with spice-rich veggies, heart-healthy oil, and garlic you’ll get just as much flavor without the food coma.
THE SHROOMS HAVE IT
We’re often told to “eat the rainbow,” but don’t count out brown and beige produce like mushrooms. Mushrooms add a rich, hearty component to this sweet potato making it feel like a complete meal. Studies have shown the antioxidant levels of mushrooms have a great impact on overall well-being when consumed regularly.
Increased antioxidant levels found in the bloodstream and decreased oxidative stress markers are two benefits of mushroom consumption. Regular mushroom consumers are also shown to have higher levels of ergothioneine—a sulfur-containing and antioxidant amino acid. Ergothioneine helps the liver detox, decreases the chance of developing cognitive disease like Alzheimer’s, and reduces premature aging of the skin.
SWEET POTATOES, NATURE’S PERFECT FOOD?
Sweet potatoes are often recommended because they are rich in fiber, vitamin A, K, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Thanks to the nutrient profile of sweet potatoes they help regulate blood sugar, fight free radical damage in the body, and improve immunity. Just one medium sweet potato will satisfy fifteen percent of your daily recommended fiber intake. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which promotes eye and skin health.
FAT IS OUR FRIEND
We’ve chosen avocado oil as the fat in these sweet potatoes. Good quality oils have been shown to increase longevity and improve heart health. Avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, contains anti-inflammatory compounds, and can help protect against heart disease.
TINY GREENS, BIG IMPACT
Microgreens add a fresh crunch and pop of color to these loaded sweet potatoes. Microgreens are simply the seedlings of vegetables, just as the sprout begins to grow. They have an extremely high antioxidant level during this stage of growth which is one of the reasons they are considered so healthy. They are also rich in enzymes which can assist with digestion.
4 sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
2-3 cloves garlic
16 ounces crimini mushrooms
3 large handfuls spinach
1/2 medium red onion
2 handfuls microgreens
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400. Wash and dry sweet potatoes thoroughly. Pierce each potato a few times with a fork and lightly coat with one tablespoon olive oil. Place potatoes directly on oven rack, with a pan below to catch any drippings. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. While potatoes are cooking, prepare vegetables. Mince garlic. Slice mushrooms in half. Dice onion. Slice and juice lemon.
Step 2: Add remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika. Cook, stirring regularly, until starting to lightly brown (about 5 minutes). Lower heat, add garlic and lemon juice, and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until mushrooms are fragrant and soft. Stir in spinach, cover, and remove from heat. Set aside.
Step 3: When sweet potatoes are cooked through and slightly cooled, slice a line across each potato lengthwise. Slightly mash flesh with a fork.
Step 4: Top with mushroom and spinach mixture, red onion, and microgreens and serve immediately.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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