Sunday, January 08, 2012

Eat: Healthy Sweet Potato Skins

By now, it is no secret that we love sweet potatoes at my house. It is also no secret that I love to find healthy recipes, too. This week these non-secrets come together with Healthy Sweet Potato Skins. My idea of potato skins usually involves several small potato halves filled with greasy yellow cheese and bacon bits. This recipe from Pinch of Yum shares very little with its traditional counterpart. In my onion, the “skins” are more like twice baked potatoes than anything else. Not that that is a bad thing. The dish features fewer but larger potatoes filled with chickpeas, sautéed spinach and shallots, sour cream, and mozzarella cheese. This delectable, savory dish can function as a lighter meal by itself or a great side to something a bit heavier.

TIME: 1:20 (includes inactive baking time)
YIELDS: 4-6 servings

2-3 large sweet potatoes
1 ½ tablespoons of butter
1 fresh shallot, minced or ½ teaspoon dried
1 bag of fresh spinach
¼ - ½ cup of light sour cream
1 (15oz.) can of chickpeas, drained
shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 ounces of neufchâtel (light cream cheese)

1. Begin by baking the potatoes for 60+ minutes at 350°F. You will know they are done when they are tender and can be punctured with a fork. The more tender, the better. It is not a bad idea to do this step ahead of time since you can't know for certain how long it will take for the potatoes to bake.

2. Carefully cut the sweet potatoes in half and let them cool for 5-10 minutes. You can also cut off the hard nubby ends of the potatoes.

3. While the sweet potatoes are cooling, sauté the shallots in butter over medium heat for a few minutes or until translucent. Stir in the fresh spinach and heat for 2-3 minutes, until the spinach has cooked down . I think this is easier to do if you add small handfuls of spinach gradually. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

4. Using a spoon, scrape the sweet potato out of its peel, leaving a thin shell (around ¼ inch, making sure it can stand up on its own). If the potatoes were thoroughly baked, this step should be a snap. In a large bowl, mix the newly removed sweet potato with the sour cream (and cream cheese, if using). Next, stir in the chickpeas, spinach mixture, salt and pepper.

5. Fill each half with the sweet potato mixture and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Place in a greased 9x13” pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

For crispier texture: prior to filling the potato skins, drizzle each with oil and bake for about 5 minutes.

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