We all have certain triggers for food cravings. For me the sound of dry leaves crunching under my feet and crisp, cold fall evenings get me thinking about sweet potatoes. Thankfully there are a ton of ways to enjoy sweet potatoes other than drowned in butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows in a casserole. Over the next month we’re going to provide a series of healthy and really tasty sweet potato recipes, starting with the easy-to-prepare Green Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
The recipes presented in this series were not just pulled from some cookbook or cribbed from a home hobbyist cook. They come straight from Chef Matthew Accarrino, the Michelin Star Chef of SPQR in San Francisco. Matthew is coached by CTS Coach Kirk Nordgren, rode with Team CTS at the USA Pro Challenge Race Experience, and cooked all the meals for the Hincapie Racing Team during another weeklong stage race. When I told him about how I associate fall with sweet potatoes, he immediately jumped on the idea of creating this series of sweet potato recipes for us to share with you.
Why sweet potatoes and why now?
For one thing, this is the time when sweet potatoes are harvested in North America. In the past several years two of the food movements I have been happiest to see gain traction are a focus on local ingredients and seasonal ingredients. Now is the time when farmers markets or other sources of local produce should have an abundance of sweet potatoes. They are generally harvested in the early fall, before the first frost. And unlike some other vegetables that are best straight from the field, sweet potatoes need about 10 days in a warm environment (80-90 degrees) to “cure” after they are harvested. Freshly dug up sweet potatoes aren’t as flavorful or sweet as potatoes that have cured and then been stored in a cool (60-ish degrees) and dry environment for a few weeks. So, depending on where you are, this season’s sweet potato crop should be arriving very soon![blog_promo promo_categories=”coaching” ids=”” /]
The other reason I think sweet potatoes are a good addition to an athlete’s diet is because they have a good balance of carbohydrate energy and dietary fiber, meaning they provide lasting energy and are relatively filling. The filling part is important in the fall because higher-fiber foods help you feel satisfied (full) even when you’re consuming fewer calories. With the greens, potatoes, onions, and nuts in the recipe below, each serving has 6 grams of fiber! And of course, sweet potatoes are also known for their huge Vitamin A content.
Green Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Give this recipe a shot and over the next several weeks we’ll mix a few more recipes in with our normal mid-week and weekend training content. You’ll likely notice that a pretty high percentage of calories in this recipe come from fat (43%), but the overall calorie count per serving is relatively low (378 calories for half the recipe). As written, the composition of the recipe (50% carbohydrate, 43% fat, 7% protein) may seem heavy on the fat content, but keep in mind that the largest source of fat is olive oil and you could reduce the oil used to roast the potatoes if you’d like.
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2-3 Medium to large sweet potatoes
1 Small to medium red onion
1.5-2 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt (to taste, probably about 1-2 tsp)
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Green onion, finely cut on the diagonal
1.5 Cups Greens (Baby arugula or spinach are great options with this dish)
2 Tbsp Toasted nuts (Your choice, Matthew recommends pistachio, walnut, pecan, or almond)
3 Tbsp Feta cheese, crumbled
Spice blend. Dukah or Zaatar are great options
Instructions (Serves 2-4)
- Peel raw sweet potatoes and cut into medium pieces
- Peel red onion and cut into wedges
- Toss the prepared vegetables with olive oil and salt. Place on a foil lined baking tray and roast at 375 degrees till softened and caramelized, about 35-45 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer to a serving platter and top with green onion, greens, nuts and feta. Finish with a generous sprinkle of the spice and a pinch of sea salt.
- Combine honey and vinegar, drizzle over top of the salad and serve.
Nutritional Information (based on ½ the recipe)
Fat: 18 grams
Saturated fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrate: 47 grams
Fiber: 6 grams
Protein: 7 grams
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