Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Are the Vegetarian Answer to the Meat and Potatoes Question
While I'm a staunch advocate for vegetarian dinners that are more than just pasta and sauce, sometimes I daydream about the days when dinner simply meant quickly cooking meat and potatoes.
Dishes like roasted cauliflower steaks and mushroom loaf aim to take the place of a steak or chicken breast, and those dishes are fine. But stuffed sweet potatoes—cut in half, roasted, then showered with toppings—are the real key to a couldn't-be-easier, couldn't-be-more-delicious, couldn't-be-more-healthy weeknight dinner.
And it's endlessly riff-able. For my burrito-bowl version, I added cumin-and-cayenne-spiced beans, onion, and spinach to create a filling dinner, plus guacamole for that taco shop flavor. But you can easily turn the dish Middle Eastern with chickpeasand a tahini sauce, or go Italian-style with Tuscan beans and parmesan cheese. Want to go Indian? Think curried lentils and yogurt sauce.
The key is getting the right size potatoes. If they're too big they'll take forever to roast (and microwaving large potatoes to speed up the cook time results in mush). Then again, if the potato is too small, it won't really be enough for dinner.
After several rounds of testing, I found that 9-ounce potatoes are just the right size. In a 450°F oven, the halved potatoes roast in just 25 minutes, and create a "bowl" big enough to be filling. (And they are extremely filling, thanks to their high fiber content. Sweet potatoes are also low in saturated fat and a good source of vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as potassium, and manganese.)
Can't find 9-ouncers? Larger potatoes are fine, you'll just need to cook them longer. It will also mean you'll likely end up with leftovers. But when dinner is this healthy and delicious, leftovers are no problem.
KATHERINE SACKS EPICURIOUS