Healthy Baked Sweet Potato with Moroccan Lentils

This healthy baked sweet potato with Moroccan lentils is a nutritionally-balanced one dish vegan meal that’s also drop-dead delicious.

Healthy baked sweet potato with Moroccan lentils

Meet our friend Gena. Some of you may remember her writing a post on A Couple Cooks a few years ago called 5 Tips for Balanced Eating. It started like this: “My name is Gena. I’m a food blogger, a vegan cookbook author, a nutritionist, and an RD-to-be. I’m also recovering from thirteen years of on-again, off-again anorexia and orthorexia.” Powerful words. In the years since then, Gena Hamshaw has become a dear friend. She’s the face behind the food blog The Full Helping, and author of three vegan cookbooks. Today we’re sharing a delicious recipe from her latest book, Power Plates: this healthy baked sweet potato with Moroccan lentils.

Related: Easy Healthy Dinner Recipes | Best Gluten Free Dinner Recipes

On disordered eating & healing

Gena works as a nutrition counselor and is completing her master of science degree in nutrition and education. I admire so many things about Gena: her ability to excel in so many things, her generous spirit, and her grit to persevere through professional and personal trials. (And of course her fabulous healthy baked sweet potato recipe!) But one of the things I admire most: her fearlessness and vulnerability to speak out about important topics to help others heal. Gena’s courage to talk about issues with food in a gentle and constructive way has touched the lives of thousands of people across the world. In the post she wrote for our site, she went to to say:

“Usually I say that I’m ‘recovered,’ not recovering. In a lot of ways, this is true: I’ve been weight-restored and physically healthy for many years now. I no longer engage in disordered eating patterns, I don’t have “fear foods,” and I don’t use restriction or dietary manipulation as a means of trying to exert control over my life. I love food—it’s probably my greatest passion—and I love to eat. 

But I couldn’t help but think that the word “recovered” may be a little too neat and tidy to describe the before-and-after of eating disorders. In a lot of ways, we’re always recovering from the struggle—even if recovery takes us to places where we feel more freedom and pleasure and peace than ever before. Part of embracing the ongoing journey of recovery, I think, is understanding that balance doesn’t just happen—it demands effort and consciousness, at least for some of us.”

When Gena and I met, I was struggling with my own issues of viewing food in a healthy way and understanding balance. Many times in the evenings I’d find myself raiding the pantry for anything made of sugar, stuffing myself and then falling into a cycle of guilt and shame. In Gena I found a champion of the cause of balanced eating: eating where food is both a source of pleasure and a source of nourishment, indulging when it feels right, and eating until you’re satisfied but not beyond the point of comfort.

Related:15 Best Lentil Recipes

Power Plates | Gena Hamshaw | Healthy baked sweet potato with Moroccan lentils

About the book: Power Plates

What a pleasure it is today to share a recipe from Gena’s new cookbook, Power Plates: 100 Nutritionally Balanced, One-Dish Vegan Meals! The concept of this book is unlike any other I’ve seen and I’m very excited about the concept! Every recipe, including this healthy baked sweet potato recipe, contains the key macronutrients of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and proteins, which together make for a complete meal in one dish. So, you don’t need to worry about cooking up any side dishes or snacks: these recipes are complete meals altogether. This speaks right to Alex and my sweet spot of pretty simple cooking, since most nights it’s all we can do to make one main dish recipe. Gena’s book makes sure that each recipe is nutritionally balanced on its own.

Healthy baked sweet potato with Moroccan lentils

Making this healthy baked sweet potato recipe

Of course we would pick a recipe with sweet potatoes…and this healthy baked sweet potato recipe with Moroccan lentils is exceptional! The sweet potatoes are baked until moist and tender. They’re layered with lentils that are mixed with Moroccan flavors: cumin seeds, cinnamon paprika and harissa, and veggies. To top it all off: a creamy lemon tahini sauce brings it all together. (Because we have a similar tahini sauce here on A Couple Cooks, we’ve used that instead for this recipe!) The vibrant sweet potatoes against the savory spiced lentils are the perfect match: drop-dead delicious! This recipe is similar in style to things that Alex and I make on the regular, and we loved this new take on one of our favorite vegetables.

Another lovely thing about this cookbook is that it was photographed by our dear friend, Ashley McLaughlin. We couldn’t be happier to get our hands on the fantastic work of two of our very favorite people. Congratulations, Gena, on an incredible book: we know it will be dog-eared for years to come!

Order the book

Power Plates: 100 Nutritionally Balanced, One-Dish Vegan Meals by Gena Hamshaw

Looking for vegan recipes? 

Are you looking for vegan dinner recipes? Outside of this healthy baked sweet potato recipe, here are a few of our favorite simple dinner vegan recipes:

This recipe is…

This healthy baked sweet potato recipe is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, plant based, dairy free, naturally sweet, and sugar free.

Print
Moroccan Sweet Potatoes | A Couple Cooks via Power Plates

Healthy Baked Sweet Potato with Moroccan Lentils


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This healthy baked sweet potato with Moroccan lentils is a nutritionally-balanced one dish vegan meal that’s also drop-dead delicious.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 cup dried brown or pardina lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste, or 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups firmly packed baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Tahini Sauce, to serve
  • Fresh cilantro, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes and slice them in half. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and rub lightly with olive oil, just enough to coat. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake until tender and lightly browned on the edges, about 25 to 35 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. (Alternatively, use our Instant Pot sweet potatoes method.)
  3. Meanwhile, cook the lentils according to the package instructions. Drain well.
  4. Dice the onion. Mince the garlic
  5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the seeds start to pop. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Decrease the heat to low and stir in the lentils, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, harissa, and salt, then stir in the spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted, adding water by the 1⁄4 cup if needed to prevent sticking (about 1 to 2 minutes). Stir in the pomegranate molasses, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  6. Make the Lemon Tahini Sauce.
  7. Use a fork to coarsely mash the flesh of the sweet potatoes, still in the skin. Place two halves on each serving plate and top them with a generous scoop of the lentils. Serve right away, with a drizzle of the tahini sauce and torn cilantro leaves.

Notes

Reprinted with permission from Power Plates, copyright © 2018 by Gena Hamshaw. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Moroccan

Keywords: Healthy baked sweet potato, Sweet Potato Recipes, Moroccan Recipes, Tahini Sauce, Vegan Dinner Ideas, Vegan Dinner Recipes, Plant Based Dinner Ideas

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Gena
    January 22, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    What a lovely, generous post, Sonja. It means so much to know that my reflections on my own process with food spoke to you at a moment when you were making peace with food in your own way. These issues are so much easier to face with each other’s love and support.

    And speaking of support, thank you for a beautiful review of Power Plates! I’m thrilled that you like the recipes and that this one in particular called out to you :-) Of course you made it look pretty and simple and delicious!!!

    xoxo

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 28, 2018 at 11:50 pm

      I couldn’t agree more about love and support in the journey; you’re such a beacon of light for so many! We’re so happy to have Power Plates as part of our cookbook collection, and we couldn’t pass up Moroccan OR sweet potatoes :) Love you, friend! xxoo

  • Reply
    eb
    January 22, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    this is such an inspiring post. i have been struggling with eating disorders for so long but this gives me some hope that there is a life after this. one day, i’ll be able to eat like this without thinking about it. thanks to you and gena for sharing.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 28, 2018 at 11:48 pm

      Thank you for sharing about your journey! Gena’s work is so important and has given hope to me and many others. The post I referenced that she wrote about balanced eating has some very helpful guidance — let me know if you check that out too. Sending big love to you today.

  • Reply
    Kari
    January 23, 2018 at 12:57 am

    Yum! Sounds delicious!
    Kari
    http://sweetteasweetie.com/superfood-beet-chips/

  • Reply
    Kristen
    January 26, 2018 at 2:36 am

    The recipe sounds delicious but one question… What are pomegranate molasses??

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 28, 2018 at 11:36 pm

      It’s reduced pomegranate juice; you can buy it online or you may find it in an international aisle. We omitted it and the recipe was incredible without!

  • Reply
    Village Bakery
    January 28, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe – especially for the dressing. Can’t wait to give it a try!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      January 28, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      You’re so welcome! Hope you enjoy it.

  • Reply
    Caroline
    February 14, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    I just made the Moroccan Sweet Potato with Tahini dressing and it was delicious. Thanks?

    • Reply
      Sonja
      March 14, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you for letting us know! Gena is such a fantastic recipe developer!

  • Reply
    sabrina
    February 19, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    had missed this recipe until now, love sweet potatoes and this one is really different than the sweet potatoes I’ve made (usually just a substitute for russet potatoes, whole or scalloped), love all of the other stuff like lentils and tahini, a meal unto itself, thank you!

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