So, Spring is here! Winter is over and it’s time to say cheerio to winter food. Or is it? My calendar may be declaring the start of Spring but it’s still quite wintery around these parts. Like mid winter kinda weather! So I am reluctant to be waving goodbye to all the lovely warming, comfort food just yet. And nothing says warming comfort food like a good baked potato, I’m switching back to the sweet variety though as, well, we have been indulging in a lot of comfort food lately, the feed me I’m ill, kind of comfort food and now I really need to get some healthy eating back in my life.
That’s where these baked mediterranean sweet potatoes come in to play. Topped with herby, crispy, za’atar chickpeas, creamy melted goat’s cheese, spring onions, cress and a tangy thyme, lemon and garlic yogurt sauce these baked sweet potatoes have all the flavours and goodness of the Mediterranean. This is my kind of healthy comfort food, as far as I’m concerned healthy food needs to be pretty good to qualify as good comfort food too, and I think these baked sweet potatoes just about manage that. These make a really great lunch, but serve them with a nice green salad and you have a super healthy dinner. The whole family loved this, and it’s a great way to get the kids eating some pulses! Bonus.
I recommend serving this with the thyme and garlic yogurt sauce but you can omit it if you wish. The za’atar chickpeas are great as a snack so if you have any leftover keep them in an airtight container and they will keep for a few days. You can easily turn this from vegetarian to vegan by using a good meltable vegan cheese and by using a non dairy yogurt to make the sauce.
Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes
- FOR THE BAKED SWEET POTATOES
- 4 large sweet potatoes , skin on, washed an dried
- 1/2 tbs olive oil
- FOR THE FILLING
- 1 x 400g can chickpeas , rinsed and dried
- 1/2 tbs za'atar
- 1/2 tbs olive oil
- 80 g vegetarian goat's cheese
- 3 Spring onions , sliced
- FOR THE LEMON , THYME & GARLIC SAUCE
- 1 tbs thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic , minced
- 150 g plain natural yogurt , full fat
- The zest of half a lemon
- A small pinch each of cracked black pepper & sea salt
- TO SERVE
- Watercress , lemon wedges, cracked black pepper and sea salt.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, I use a fan assisted electric oven, please adjust according to your own oven.
Wash and dry the sweet potatoes, pierce a couple of times with a fork, rub the oil onto the potatoes and place on baking tray. Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes or until cooked through. Test with a sharp knife, the knife should come clean out.
While the potatoes are cooking make the yogurt sauce. Add the thyme leaves and half a teaspoon of olive oil to a mortar and using the pestle bruise the leaves. In another small serving bowl add the yogurt, garlic, thyme and lemon zest, mix well and leave in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
To make the za'atar chickpeas, place the dry chickpeas in a bowl with half a tablespoon of olive oil and the za'atar mix well then transfer to a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, I do this towards the end of cooking the sweet potatoes.
When the sweet potatoes are done, remove them from the oven, using a sharp knife cut the potatoes open, fluff up the flesh of the potatoes with a fork.
Add the chickpeas and crumble in the goat's cheese, return the sweet potatoes to the oven for another 7-8 minutes until the cheese melts.
Serve the baked potatoes with the chopped spring onions, some watercress, lemon wedges and a good dollop of the thyme and lemon yogurt
This time last year on The Last Food Blog – Strawberry & Pistachio Chocolate Bark
This time two years ago on The Last Food Blog – Roast Vegetable Lasagne