These healthy Moroccan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are filled with a delicious and savory mixture of chickpeas, onion, garlic, apples and fresh cilantro, seasoned with a spicy & flavorful Moroccan spice blend called “Ras el Hanout.” I love this meal because it’s fairly low in fat and calories, high in nutrients, and very filling and satisfying. With the cooler fall weather, I find my appetite is voracious! I literally want to eat everything in sight. Sweet potatoes are one thing I turn to when I feel myself getting a little out of control. They are naturally filling, full of fiber and when roasted, their natural sugars caramelize. Ras el Hanout, if unfamiliar, can be found at Trader Joe’s and many gourmet grocery stores, or can easily be made at home. Keep this meal completely vegan, or drizzle lightly with my new favorite thing – “smoked” yogurt, for extra wow.
I have the “smoked” in quotes here because, even though we actually have been smoking yogurt in our smoker – which is over the top amazing – it’s a more arduous process than I expect most people have time for. So here’s a faster, easier way of mimicking this – by simply adding smoked paprika to yogurt. It has become our favorite condiment around here, and I often drizzle it over roasted vegetables and soups. It’s a keeper, for sure.
On the home front. We are in the middle of a nice, peaceful lull, between weddings and holidays…and time feels luxurious. This is my favorite time of year, not only because life slows down for us, but because it is fall here, and this season most of all, moves me to my core with its beauty. I can’t stop marveling at all the trees and how they do what they do each year. For a few short weeks they began dropping their brilliant colored leaves, showering the earth with red and gold, and the sight of this is…mesmerizing, hypnotic. It settles me in a way I can’t explain.
Somehow the whole story of life and death is contained in these falling leaves, and it feels so utterly truthful. The beauty and joy of it, the loss and sadness too. And I don’t understand why, but it feels so perfect. All of life, just as it is. And I get teary and giddy, and of course this is about the point, during our walks, watching the falling leaves, where my husband asks me what drugs I am on.
Oh! I’ve made a decision (next topic). One that I’ve been agonizing over for ages. I had been sitting on the fence for years. The view up on that fence was vast. I could see the horizon in all directions. There is such comfort in the horizon, isn’t there? But the nitty-gritty details of making ones path toward the horizon, is something you just don’t know until you are actually down on the ground and begin walking. So I crawled down one side of that fence yesterday, the scary side, and took a few wobbly steps in the direction of a longtime dream.
What I’ve noticed about myself, is how fear is the great paralyzer. How it just stops me in my tracks. It’s not that I’m indecisive, it’s that I’m afraid of making the “wrong” decision and regretting it. So being up on that fence felt like a reasonable, safe place. At least I’m not on the “wrong” side of the fence when I’m up there. But I wasn’t fully living up there either, not engaging with my life, or dancing with fate, just observing all the scary possibilities from afar.
And yesterday, I just said fuck it, and got down.
Just like that.
Wish me luck.
Split the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, and roast split side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
When they are done, they will be soft and caramelized.
While they are roasting, saute the onions, garlic, chickpeas and apples.
Below is the Ras el Hanout Spice Blend. Each blend is slightly different, with different levels of heat.
Traditionally, it’s a blend of spices you probably already have at home: cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and cayenne. I’ve included a recipe below.
I actually make the filling a little spicy, purposely, because when it’s together with the sweet potato, the heat dissipates.
So season up the chickpea-apple filling with the Ras el Hanout. Then make slit in the soft sweet potatoes and place a few heaping spoonfuls over them. Keep them in a warm oven until ready to serve.
Sprinkle with fresh cilantro an scallions, and a drizzle of the “smoked yogurt.” Or keep them vegan!
The leftovers taste great the next day.
Enjoy and have a cozy weekend!!
- Moroccan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Ras El Hanout
- 2-3 medium yams- cut in half length wise, skin on
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ an onion - diced
- ½ an apple - diced
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- 2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout spice blend
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ cup chopped cilantro, divided
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- "smoked" yogurt drizzle
- ¼ cup plain yogurt or soy yogurt (this is best with low fat or full fat, not fat-free)
- ⅛ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Place yams, cut side down on parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender.
- While yams are roasting make filling.
- Saute onion and apple in olive oil, in a large skillet, over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. turn heat to medium.
- Add garlic. Saute 4 more minutes then add chick peas and spices, salt and pepper.
- Continue cooking a few more minutes. Stir in maple syrup. At this point, it may seem a little spicy, but when stuffed into the sweet potato, the flavors will mellow a bit.
- Stir in half of the cilantro. Turn heat off.
- When yams are done, flip and slit the middle gently with a knife and divide the filling, spooning it over the yams. Place back in a warm oven until ready to serve.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and scallions and a drizzle of "smoked” yogurt.
- To make the "smoked yogurt" mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Place in a squirty bottle and keep in the fridge.
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl -- using whole toasted ground seeds whenever possible.
- Keep in an airtight container.