How to make healthy choices every day

Falling for Sweet Potato Hummus

Even in the thick of Los Angeles, I can feel the weather changing.
This autumn has been strange for me. I am not walking through the fire-coloured forests of Ontario, or biking in spitting rain under steel-gray skies in Denmark. Nope. I am in sunny southern California, where up until this week I could have sworn summer would last forever. But the changes have come here too, just slower I suppose, and are hidden in the cooler nights and shorter days.

It would be a gross understatement to say that I am little excited for the arrival of this season because it would be a gross understatement to say that I am obsessed with fall’s produce. Squashes, melons, pumpkins, Brussels sprouts, beets…sweet potato! Oh lord, sweet potato, you are my long lost autumnal lover, my everything that somehow manages to find your way into everything I cook this time of year. You are sweet and soothing, a nutritional superstar, the most versatile of vegetables! I bow to your ridiculous deliciousness.

Healthy Digestion with the Sweetest of Potatoes
Many people think that sweet potatoes are just regular potatoes that are orange, but they are in fact a completely different vegetable.
Compared to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have oodles more vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C and even more fiber. This means that sweet potatoes are excellent for your digestion. Sweet potatoes are composed mainly of starch, which is very easy to break down and is soothing for the stomach and intestines too. This makes them an ideal healing choice for those suffering from the pain and inflammation associated with stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. The roughage of sweet potatoes even prevents constipation. What a root!

I came up with this recipe for sweet potato hummus last fall at one of the restaurants where I work, as I had baked a few too many sweet potatoes for another dish and needed to use them up. I was about to make a large portion of hummus for the day, I thought I would just throw them in the food processor with everything else and see how it would turn out. Genius. How could two of my favorite edibles not make the most perfect match when combined anyway? This dip consequently, became the new favorite thing on the menu, and often the staff would scoop it into their Tupperwares to take home before it even made it out of the kitchen!
This is one super simple, flavourful, nutritional drop kick of a dip. Serve it and smile. That’s all you gotta do.
And regular hummus? So last year!

Sweet Potato Hummus
2 cups chickpeas
zest of 1 organic lemon, juice of ½ lemon
3 small sweet potatoes
1 tsp. ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
2-3 pinches sea salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic

Note: Don’t get too hung up on the quantities of ingredients with this recipe – it’s hard to make a mistake! Use more or less sweet potato than called for, more or less chickpeas if that suits you (or even leave them out!), omit the cayenne or throw in more if you like it spicy. Just work with what you have and what tastes good to you.

1. Place sweet potatoes (with the skin on) in a baking dish in a 400 F oven and bake until very soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. (You can also steam the sweet potatoes, but I find baking them is more flavourful.)
2. Let the sweet potatoes cool down so that you can easily remove their skins – they should just peel off. Place them in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend on high to mix.
3. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of cracked black pepper, and whatever herb you have on hand. This is wonderful with raw veggies, healthy crackers, or pita bread.

This dip doubles as an amazing sandwich spread, particularly on crusty sourdough with avocado, sprouts, and fresh herbs. I even eat this on the side of a rice bowl, or use it as a thickener for soups and stews, especially when I am cooking with lentils because they are a brilliant combo. Such an easy and yummy addition to just about anything! It will keep in the fridge for a week, but I highly doubt it will be around that long. Happy hummus-ing.

***Oh hey! I just entered a Sweet Potato recipe contest over at a great new blog called Affairs of Living. Check out all the other amazing recipes!***

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