Apple and Kale Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

20131010-083842.jpgNorth Carolina, where I live, is the king of sweet potatoes. While it is a challenge to find organic sweet potatoes, I’ve found several farmers who carry them. Potatoes are delicious and nutritious (especially sweet potatoes!), but farmers often use carcinogenic fungicides and sprout inhibitors that penetrate beyond the skin of the potato and into the flesh. So no amount of washing or peeling is going to eliminate them. These babies are definitely worth buying organic, if at all possible.

This sweet potato dish is one of my “go to” recipes for a busy fall weeknight. It has all the great hallmarks of fall–sweet potato, pumpkin pie spice, apples and maple syrup. This would make a great side dish or a light meal in itself. We have an abundance of sweet potatoes at our farmers markets and apples are back in full force, so this recipe takes advantage of all that is fresh and delicious.

Apple Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (makes 3 servings)

  • 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium apples like granny smith or galas
  • 1 small bunch of kale
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or more, if you like!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Poke sweet potatoes all over with a fork and roast in the oven until soft (about an hour depending on how large your potatoes are). Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350.
  3. While potatoes cool a bit, peel/core and chop the apples into 1/2″ chunks.
  4. Wash and trim the stems from the kale. Chop into bit sized pieces.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add apples. Cook apples for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the kale and cook until wilted–about 4 minutes.
  7. Add spice to the apples and stir. Add more butter if you need it. Reduce heat to low and cook until apples are soft. Set aside.
  8. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut skins and scoop potato flesh into a medium-sized bowl. Add apple mixture and mix together until combined.
  9. Spoon mixture back into the potato skin shells. Top with chopped pecans, put on a baking sheet and bake for another 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and drizzle with maple syrup.
  11. Serve!

NOTE: You will have extra filling left over. This makes a great leftover lunch the next day! Pair it with some cooked quinoa and you have a complete second meal.

Vegetarian Collard Greens

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You may think that the title “vegetarian collard greens” is redundant. Collards are vegetables, after all, so why call them “vegetarian”? Well, because where I live (and love to live, I might add), most collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens and cabbage leaves are cooked with some kind of pork product. It might be a ham hock or fat back (side meat) or bacon, but it is usually there. And it is mighty delicious. Not only does the meat season the greens, the fat softens the leaves into delicate, tender loveliness. It’s great stuff, I tell you.

I found myself wondering if I could make collard greens that are really, really good, but don’t include the meat. We had some beautiful collard greens in the garden just begging to be eaten, so I gave it a shot. I used a combination of olive oil and toasted sesame oil in place of the jowl bacon we usually use. As it turns out, collard greens can be just as delicious without the meat as with it. My husband, Tom, backs me up on that!

Here is the recipe we created. We served the greens with our chili dusted salmon and I have to say it was all amazingly, plate-licking good. I have learned a lot this week!

Vegetarian Collard Greens (makes 6 servings)

  • 2 bunches baby collards or 1 bunch of large leaf collards
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  1. Wash collard greens well in cold water to remove any sand or dirt.
  2. Fold leaves in half lengthwise and cut the thick stem off the leaves.
  3. Take the leaves and roll them into what looks like a green Ho-Ho (for photos see HERE). Cut leaves into thin strips, about 1/2″ wide. This will give you long ribbons of greens.
  4. In a large stock pot, heat the oils over medium/high heat. Add the greens. Toss well to coat all the ribbons with oil. Cook and toss for about 2 minutes. Taste and add salt if desired.
  5. Add water to the pot, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check periodically to make sure the pot is not dry. Add more water if you need it. The pot should have some “pot likker” at the bottom, but should not be water-logged.
  6. Serve immediately.

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