In the words of the great cookbook author Deborah Madison: “Every time I bite into a roasted sweet potato, I can’t imagine anything more delicious.” Too true, Ms. Madison! I recently experienced this phenomenon with my first whole-roasted sweet potato experience of the year when I spread half of a perfectly tender orange tuber with a dollop of tahini. Love at first bite; I urge you to try your own version of this impeccable snack.
In any case, now that autumn is in full swing, I certainly wouldn’t 0bject to devouring a sweet potato with every meal. Thus was my goal at last night’s dinner for which I had planned to prepare a twice-baked sweet potato based on The Ordinary Vegetarian’s recipe for stuffed acorn squash (incidentally, her post occured during last year’s Vegan MoFo! Glad to see it’s still going strong). Needing to eat at 6:00 in order to arrive at my nightly gymnastics practice on time, I popped my aluminum foil-covered whole sweet potato into a 400°F oven at 4:45, assuming that 45 minutes of heat would sufficiently cook the tuber before hauling it out of the oven, scraping out the sweet tender flesh, mashing it up with the rest of the stuffing, and sliding it back into the oven for another 20 minutes. Sigh. My culinary endeavor did not pan out as I had originally contemplated.
Who knew that a large sweet potato required an hour and 30 minutes to cook? You can imagine my dismay after a mere half of this time when I reached into the oven, poked the jewel-toned skin with a fork, and found an unyielding mass of hard sweet potato for which mashing was completely out of the question. Well…plan B. I had already prepared the filling, so I decided to bulk it up a bit and serve it alone as my dinner. And you know what? It didn’t turn out half bad!
I employed one of my favorite vegetebles, Romanesco broccoli, in this recipe. In case you’re not familiar with the broccoli-cauliflower hybrid, you should get to know it! Its florets spiral into points for a striking appearance while it tastes like the perfect cross between broccoli and cauliflower.
Millet Stuffing with Romanesco Broccoli (Gluten Free, Nut Free, Soy Free if using nut milk)—loosely based on The Ordinary Vegetarian.
- 1/4 cup uncooked millet
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 4 oz Romanesco broccoli, finely chopped (can substitute either broccoli or cauliflower, but I’d earnestly recommend trying out the unique wonder of Romanesco!)
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1 tbsp non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Combine the millet at broth/water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on lowest heat for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let rest for another 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and thyme and saute for 5 minutes or until transluscent. Add the Romanesco, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas to warm them, the add the frozen peas and stir just long enough to thaw them. Stir in the millet and remove from the heat.
While the Romanesco cooks, combine the non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, and paprika in a small bowl. Mix into the millet-Romanesco mixture when it is finished cooking until evenly coated. Stir in parsley just before serving.
I served this plain alongside some tiny roasted brussels sprouts, but you could certainly stuff it into a squash, sweet potato, eggplant, zucchini, or whatever else your heart desires. For a twice-baked squash/sweet potato, roast a squash/sweet potato until completely tender. Scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1/2-inch of skin to hold its structure, and mash the flesh with the milk through paprika. Stir the mash into the millet-Romanesco mixture and stuff the squash/sweet potato skins with it. Bake at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes until heated through.
Recipe submitted to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.
Meal Checklist: Protein–chickpeas. Whole Grain–millet. Vegetables–shallots, garlic, Romanesco broccoli, and peas. Leafy Greens–brussels sprouts.
Comment Provoking Questions: Have you ever encountered Romanesco broccoli? What is your favorite stuffing for squash/sweet potatoes/whatever? How long do your sweet potatoes usually take to cook?
Until next time, Ali.