Not often thought of as a healthy food, sweet potatoes are actually packed with nutrients; when prepared correctly, they offer all sorts of great benefits. These orange-fleshed tubers are rich in antioxidants, may actually help control blood sugar levels and are particularly high in Vitamin A.

In this example, a kale basil pesto is served on top of baked sweet potato rounds, offering lots of nutrients, fiber and great flavor. Made with whole healthy ingredients, the bites are a uniquely tasty dish that can be an exciting change from the traditional holiday favorites. This dish is a great first step toward eating real for the holidays!

Sweet Potato + Kale Pesto Bites

Makes approximately 10-13 bites

Ingredients

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  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • bunch of Asparagus
  • 1 red onion

For the Pesto

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (I always use 5 but I love garlic)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves – about 1½ cups
  • 1 big handful of kale
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts – Or a mix! (Soak walnuts first for a few hours if you choose walnuts and rinse well)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt + pepper to taste

Preparation

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F degrees.

2. Wash the potato well and cut into 1/4 - 1/2-inch rounds, leaving the skin on. Cut them so they are uniform in thickness in order for them to cook at the same rate.

3. In a large bowl, combine the potato slices, coconut oil, and a generous sprinkle of sea salt and mix well. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. Make sure to flip them halfway through. They are done when they are golden brown.

4. Prepare the pesto by adding the pressed garlic, basil, kale, apple cider vinegar, and toasted pine nuts or walnuts to a food processor. Add nutritional yeast and olive oil and blend smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more oil or a little water if pesto needs more liquid.

5. Break the asparagus ends off and steam 6-7 pieces of asparagus. Place asparagus into cold water once steamed.

6. Finely dice the asparagus and a ¼ of the red onion.

7. When the potatoes are done let them cool. Top with as much pesto as you like, and garnish with asparagus and onion. Add any other topping that you desire. Red pepper pieces, finely chopped spinach or arugula are also great. Top with toasted leftover pine nuts for a crunch.

This dish makes for a perfect side, a great salad topping or even the base of a healthy eggs benny!

Recipe is contributed by Mikaela Reuben, a Culinary Nutritionist and Health Consultant fusing the science of nutrition with the art of healthy eating and food creation. She believes that prevention of disease through food is the most powerful option we have. Her philosophy is rooted in bio-diversity; the understanding that each body is unique and thus has a unique path to optimal health. After 10 years of studying the impact of nutrition, healthy food creation, and the physical body, Mikaela loves to share her secrets of health and happiness. She is also lending her support to Eat REAL for the Holidays, a campaign to promote nutrition, wellness and mindfulness around the holiday season. For more information, see the USHFC website. EAT TO LOVE.


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