As I mentioned earlier, September is Vegan MoFo, the month of food, where bloggers are promoting vegan food across different social media channels. I have been more busy on Instagram, but cannot wait to share this recipe with you. Every day the MoFo’ers get a different prompt or theme, today it is “Make a dish using all seasonal produce”. I decided on autumn-y colours, with baked sweet potatoes with a rich red lentil sauce with cavolo nero or black kale. Apparently cavolo nero is quite traditional in Italian cooking, and you know by now that I am a sucker for Italian cuisine anyway. Of course you can also use regular kale or even spinach works well (tried and tested by yours truly). There is a torrential rainstorm outside today, so this warming comfort food with baked sweet potato is perfect, plus it is not complicated to make and very nutritious.
Here is what you need for 2 portions:
4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, with peel
100 grams cavalo nero / black kale or regular kale (stems removed)
2 cups cooked red lentils
1 tbsp canola or sunflower oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili (smoked chili) or according to taste
salt to taste
Heat your oven to 180°C (Gas 6). Wash the sweet potatoes, pat them dry, then pinch them with a fork a few times. This helps them to cook faster. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray or into a cake tin and place them into the oven for about 20-30 minutes (depends on the size of your sweet potatoes). You can check if they are done if pinching them with a fork is very easy and they are quite mushy inside.
Meanwhile, cook your red lentils if you haven’t already. Cut the black kale into strips and set aside. In a sauce pan, heat the canola or sunflower oil over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and the spices, and let it roast for a minute or two. Make sure not to burn the spices. Then add the kale and a little bit of water, just so the spices do not burn (I used about 1/4 cup of water). Sautée the kale for about 3 minutes, then add the drained 2 cups of cooked lentils. Let it all simmer for another minute or two, then season according to your taste.
For serving, take the baked sweet potatoes out of the oven and cut them open with a sharp knife. Try to not half them all the way through, just cut on one side, then pull the cut open with two forks. This is your little pocket to fill with the sauce. Place two potatoes on a plate, fill them with the lentil and kale sauce, and you are ready to enjoy your autumn comfort food. Enjoy!