Grab your spiralizers because it’s time to make some noodles!
Sweet potato noodles, that is. Normally you’ll find me eating my sweet potatoes sprinkled in cinnamon and drizzled in almond butter, but in the name of switching things up, let’s do them in noodle form today. On a side note though, if you’ve never tried sweet potatoes with cinnamon and almond butter, stop right now, drop everything and get ‘er done. I promise you won’t regret it. Then come back – I’ll wait.
Ready? Ok. I’m not sure why, but it seems nearly every meal I’ve made this week has taken on a Mexican or Southwestern-inspired twist. Cumin, cayenne, cilantro, jalapenos…. clearly, I like a bit of heat! Perhaps it’s all those friends of mine taking off to exotic destinations to escape the cold? Whatever the cause, I’m not complaining because this bowl (which happened by accident) is delightful. Oh, and don’t worry – it’s not super spicy… unless you make it that way. 😉
Even though I’m pescetarian and enjoy seafood on the regular, I still describe my eating style as plant-based because it’s made up of primarily plants. Back when Meatless Mondays started to become a popular thing in the blogosphere, I figured it was a good trend to jump on board with and have made a point of regularly eating a few meatless meals each week. Not only does it make sense financially and environmentally, but I’ve found that it’s the meatless ones that often turn out to be the most beautiful and creative.
Case in point: These Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls. I wont rattle off all the nutrition benefits, but let me tell you about just a few:
Cherry tomatoes: Loaded with the carotenoid lycopene, tomatoes are antioxidant powerhouses and have been linked to cardiovascular and bone health. I also just happen to think they’re really cute, which was what persuaded me to buy these ones.
Black beans: High in fibre and plant-based protein, these babies will help keep you feeling full long after lunch time. I’ve tossed them in a skillet with a little cayenne and coriander here to amp up the flavour, and if you’re not so sure about beans and digestion, I suggest soaking them first. (Note: To make this paleo or Whole 30-approved, simply swap the beans for eggs and scramble the spices in.)
Sweet potatoes: Obviously, the star here, these are one of my favourite sources of high-quality carbs, and no matter whether you’re cooking for someone who’s vegan, paleo, gluten-free, whole-30 compliant, or just a hungry omnivore, sweet potatoes are a-ok for all. Rich in beta carotene (what makes them orange), these taters are known for their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits.
Avocado!!!!! Ok, admittedly I get excited about avocado in all forms, and feel like I’ve won the lottery every time I slice open one that’s completely blemish-free on the inside. But they don’t just taste good – they serve an important purpose! You know those carotenoids I mentioned in the sweet potatoes and tomatoes? And you know that saying “you aren’t what you eat, you are what you absorb”? That’s exactly what’s happening here! These carotenoids are fat-soluble, which means our bodies can only absorb them when consumed with a source of fat. Avocado’s the lucky candidate, and you get to enjoy it in its sliced and pureed forms here.
Before we get to the main recipe, I should also let you know that this avocado cilantro sauce is one you’ll want to make giant vats of and put on everything. It’s creamy, zesty, fresh and makes a great dressing, spread or dip depending on how much you decide to thin it out. When all of your avocados go ripe at the same time, THIS is what you should do with them.
Right, no more waiting. Here she is!
Southwestern Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Ingredients (1 serving)
- handful of mixed baby greens
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 tsp each minced fresh cilantro and parsley, plus more to garnish
- juice of 1/2 lime, plus more to garnish
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and spiralized
- 2 tsp olive oil or avocado oil, divided
- 1/3 cup cooked black beans
- 1/8 tsp ground cayenne
- 1/8 tsp ground coriander
- sliced avocado and green onion, to garnish
Creamy avocado lime sauce (you will have lots leftover):
- 1 clove peeled chopped garlic
- 1 cup cilantro (swap for parsley if you can’t stand it)
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
- 2 tbsp tahini
- juice of 1 lime
- about 1/3 cup water, + more to thin if needed
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Make the sauce: Whirl all ingredients in the food processor until completely smooth. Transfer to a jar.
In a large bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes, herbs and greens together. Squeeze juice of 1/2 a lime on top and set aside.
Run the sweet potato through the spiralizer to make noodles, or use a julienne peeler for a slaw-like alternative.
Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then lightly sautee the noodles for 2-3 minutes or until slightly softened.
Transfer the sweet potato noodles to the bowl of greens and tomatoes.
Without cleaning the pan, heat the remaining oil. Toss the black beans in the cayenne and coriander, and stir fry until warm. Add to the sweet potato noodle mixture.
Stir everything in the bowl well to combine. Either add the avocado sauce and toss to coat at this point, or plate the salad and drizzle it on top. Serve with sliced avocado, green onion and lime wedges if desired.
Now over to you: Tell me…. how often do you eat meatless in an average week? For my vegan and vegetarian friends, what are some of your easy go-to healthy lunches?