The Mediterranean diet is ranked high year after year as a delicious, easy-to-follow, and incredibly healthy eating plan. It’s hallmarked by lots of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and seafood. People following a Mediterranean-type eating plan are more likely to consume enough fiber, heart-healthy fats, and important vitamins and minerals most Americans miss, like potassium and magnesium, and less sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes help you align your meal with the Mediterranean diet for a well-rounded and delicious experience!
The stuffing for these sweet potatoes borrow tons of flavor from tabbouleh, which is an Eastern Mediterranean salad, usually comprised of bulgur wheat, and finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, and onion, dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice. Many variations exist, and it was the inspiration for this stuffing! Instead of bulgur, I use riced cauliflower. This adds important cruciferous vegetables, while keeping calories a little lower. The sweet potato it taking the place of the bulgur’s starch. I also added some spinach chopped up with the parsley and mint for a little extra nutrition.
Don’t be deceived by all that nutrition, though! These babies are delicious! They are perfect for guests, or a simple weeknight meal. They are easy to make ahead and assemble when you’re ready. And, since you can make them ahead, they are a perfectly packable lunch for work! They are awesome warm or cold, so no matter how you eat them, they’re sure to be a hit! The creamy sweetness of the sweet potato plays amazingly with the tangy herbyness of the filling. The cucumber salad has a delightful crunch and the tahini dressing is creamy and nutty and perfectly complementary. A must-make!Jump to Recipe
How to Make Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Don’t be scared by the ingredient list. This recipe is easy. The thing that takes the longest is baking the sweet potatoes, and that is totally hands-off. I recommend medium sized sweet potatoes. Big ones are fine, if that’s what you like. They’ll just take longer to cook, that’s all. Medium sized sweet potatoes should take about an hour in a 425 degree oven to become soft and caramely.
You can cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave, too! I cook them that way when I’m in a rush and don’t have an hour to devote to them. Just scrub them clean, poke holes with a fork all around them, and pop them in the microwave on high for about 10 – 20 minutes. Check them every so often to make sure they’re not overcooking. That’s the one potential issue with cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave. They can overcook quickly, and then they’ll become shriveled and hard. They will take much longer to over bake in the oven, affording you some leeway when you’re multitasking.
While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make the stuffing. I use riced cauliflower that I found at Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find that where you are, take a head of cauliflower and cut it into pieces, and toss it in your food processor. Pulse it until it resembles rice. You won’t need the entire head, so even if you have a veggie tray with some florets on it, that will work!
First, saute the onions and garlic. You’ll start layering in the rest of the ingredients, and sauteing each until they’re soft: bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower rice, chickpeas. At this point, turn off the heat. You’ll be adding the greens and lemon juice next, and you don’t really want to cook them. The stuffing is done.
Next, make the Tahini Sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl. Done. Easy!
Finally, make the Cucumber Salad. Same instructions! Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl, and you’re done. See? I told you this recipe was easy!
Now assembly! With a sharp knife, cut through the sweet potatoes about halfway. If you cut them all the way through, you won’t be able to stuff them – which is totally fine if it happens! Just pile everything on top! Mash the inside of the potatoes a little, and create a little indentation where you can spoon the filling into. About 1/4 – 1/2 cup should fit in there. Add more if you like! It’s fine for it to overflow! Drizzle with the Tahini Sauce, and pile the Cucumber Salad on top. A mountain of Mediterranean goodness!
Heart Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Man, are these things packed full of good stuff! Check out the nutrition facts below for more!
I use sweet potatoes a lot here at Being Nutritious. Why? Because it’s one of the highest potassium foods out there, and it’s readily available at almost all grocery stores year round. Not to mention it’s budget friendly!
They’re also incredibly tasty, and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Most people like them, too!
Besides being high in potassium and fiber, sweet potatoes are exceptionally high in vitamin A. Specifically, they are high in a previtamin A carotenoid called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant, and is responsible for the color of sweet potatoes (and carrots and pumpkins). Diets rich in beta-carotene have been linked to lower overall rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke (1), and coronary heart disease (2). Just one sweet potato has close to 400% of your daily value! Woot!
If you try Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, let me know in the comments!
Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Sauce and Cucumber Salad
With flavors borrowed from the Eastern Mediterranean salad, tabbouleh, these stuffed sweet potatoes are perfect for guests, or a simple weeknight meal. They are easy to make ahead and assemble when you're ready. And they're excellently packable lunches for work! They are awesome warm or cold, so no matter how you eat them, they're sure to be a hit!
- 6 Medium Sweet Potatoes
For the Filling
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- ¼ Red Onion chopped
- 1 Clove of Garlic minced
- ½ Red Bell Pepper chopped
- ½ Carrot shredded or chopped
- 1 ½ cups Riced Cauliflower (or finely minced cauliflower)
- 1 ½ cups Chickpeas (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
- ¾ cup Parsley minced
- ½ cup Spinach minced
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Mint minced
- Juice of ½ Lemon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Tahini Sauce
- ¼ cup Tahini
- ¼ cup Water
- Juice of ½ Lemon
- 1 Clove of Garlic minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- Pinch of Cayenne Pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
For Cucumber Salad Topping
- 1 Seedless cucumber quartered lengthwise, and chopped
- 1 Large Tomato chopped
- 2 Tbsp minced Red Onion
- Juice of ½ Lemon
- 2 tsp dried Dill
- Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Scrub the sweet potatoes with a brush and remove and extraneous roots. Place on a baking sheet, and pierce each one a few times with a fork or knife.
Bake for about 60 minutes, until very soft.
While potatoes bake, make the filling:
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic, and saute over medium-low heat until soft.
Add peppers, and continue sauteing until they are soft. If you have chopped the carrots, add them with the peppers.
Once the peppers are soft, add the riced cauliflower, carrots (if shredded), and chickpeas. Continue sauteing for a few minutes, until the cauliflower softens. Turn off the heat.
Add the minced parsley, spinach, mint, and lemon juice to the skillet, and stir to combine. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed.
To make the sauce:
Combine all ingredients for the Tahini Sauce in a bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and add salt, pepper, or more cayenne if needed.
To make the Cucumber Salad:
Combine all ingredients for the Cucumber Salad in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper only if needed.
Cut each sweet potato along the top lengthwise, cutting about ½ of the way down through, and most of the way across. Delicately pull the two sides apart a little.
Using a fork, mash some of the sweet potato flesh, and hollow out a little bowl to put filling in.
Spoon about ¼ cup (or however much you like!) of the filling into each sweet potato. You may have extra filling.
Drizzle with Tahini Sauce, and top with Cucumber Salad.
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