Finally, the season when the sweet potato can really shine! Since discovering sweet potatoes about 5 years ago (before that, I knew that there was a thing called a “yam” that was eaten around Thanksgiving and that I didn’t like it, but nothing beyond that), I have them at least once a week when the weather turns a bit cooler around October. They are probably one of the most versatile veggies to cook with- they can be used for anything from fries to brownies, to soups.
Thanksgiving hasn’t ever really been a big holiday in our Russian family once we moved to the US. There was turkey involved, but I’ve never eaten it although I haven’t always been plant based. Nowadays, the day is spent with my hubby, usually trying out a new fall themed dishes and lots of relaxation, movies, warm tea, and fluffy blankets. This year, I’m planning on doing an experimental three-course menu with outside-the box flavors… So, I suppose now would be a great time to start planning that, since the day is only a couple weeks ahead. For me, cooking on the whim can sometimes be more successful than if I spend days and days thinking about how to construct the dish- I like to pick up ingredients that are in season and that sound good to me at the moment, and then experiment with new ways of paring the flavors when it’s actually time to cook. Stay tuned for how this turns out! I’ll post updates on my instagram.
Speaking of new recipes… I have to admit, I’ve never actually had regular shepherd’s pie. According to my research online, a classic shepherd’s pie has a bunch of ground meat, butter and cheesy mashed potatoes. This root veggie version is not only lighter and healthier, it’s also incredibly delicious with the combination of coriander sweet potato with the crunch and flavor of the roots. Here’s my promise to you: if you make this for the Thanksgiving table, it’s sure to impress with its festive colors and unique marriage of flavors and guess what? It won’t have your family and friends feeling that “ugh, I feel like I just ate a brick” feeling in their bellies. In terms of flavor, the coriander is key here- as mentioned in the recipe, you may find that you want an even stronger flavor so feel free to add a bit more than called for 🙂
This blog certainly has no shortage of sweet potato recipes- if I had to choose one ingredient to eat for the rest of my life, I’d stick with this orange colored friend. I’m sure that there are plenty of ways to cook with sweet potatoes that us humans haven’t even thought of… Possibilities are endless!
As expected from the orange flesh, sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene which is needed for our bodies to produce vitamin A. Some studies have even shown that compared to green leafy veggies, sweet potatoes are a better source or bioavailable beta-carotene. Pretty incredible stuff, eh?
Coriander Sweet Potato & Root Veggie Shepherd's Pie
- 1 Tbls avocado oil (or other high smoke point oil)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- half of large onion, medium dice
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 cups of root veggies (I used parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, and carrots), chopped evenly to 1 inch pieces
- ⅓ cup vegetable stock
- ⅓ cup of white wine
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup organic frozen peas
- few leaves of mustard greens or other leafy greens, chopped
- 1 large or 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
- ¼ cup organic coconut milk
- 2 tsp coriander
- 4-5 sprigs of thyme
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbls apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup walnuts of pecans, roughly chopped
- herbs for garnish (optional: I used a little bit of dill since I had it on hand)
- In a large sautee pan, sweat the onion and garlic with 1 Tbls avocado oil and 1 teaspoon of salt until translucent, being careful not to let the ingredients brown.
- Add the root veggies and continue to sweat for approx 10 min, making sure to stir often to prevent browning or sticking. Add another Tbls of oil if needed.
- When the root veggies start to break down, add the veggie stock, white wine, and balsamic. Cover with lid and cook down until veggies are soft (but still have a crunch to them!) and the liquid is reduced by 75%. Add the greens and peas at the end, just enough to defrost peas and wilt greens slightly.
- While veggies are cooking, prepare the sweet potato topping. Peel the potatoes and roughly chop them.
- Using a steamer basket, steam the potatoes until soft.
- Cool slightly, then mash with potato masher and add coconut milk, acv, coriander, garlic, salt and pepper, and thyme leaves. Combine well. (I didn't completely mash the potatoes, as I like the a little chunky- up to you!) Taste the potatoes and add more coriander if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. In a glass pyrex dish, layer the root veggies evenly at the bottom, and follow with the sweet potato topping on top.
- Sprinkle with nuts.
- Bake for 10-15 min or until nuts are fragrant and brown.