Fresh Take On Baked Potato To Celebrate National Cholesterol Awareness Month.
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Did you know that September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month? It's a good time to get your blood cholesterol checked and take steps to lower it if it's high. National Cholesterol Awareness Month is also a good time to learn about food and lifestyle choices that help you reach personal cholesterol goals. You can lower your cholesterol levels through lifestyle changes like eating low-fat and high-fiber food (more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grains). For adults, getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week. For those aged 6-17, getting 1 hour or more of physical activity each day. Maintain a healthy weight. Interesting fact, a clinical study showed Mazola® Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see Mazola.com.
To celebrate National Cholesterol Awareness Month I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potato. Simple, 30-minute baked sweet potatoes topped with roasted chickpeas, a simple garlic-herb sauce and a parsley-tomato salad. Delicious, fresh, vegan and gluten free. I love how the sweetness of the sweet potatoes blends perfectly the chickpeas and garlic sauce, and the lemony parsley-tomato salad provides a zesty fresh finish. Friends, I’m in love. I also will be sharing tips on how to swap some of the ingredients you might usually use in your baked potato recipe with the lighter, better-for-you options.
I've been craving baked potatoes for a while. With some butter, sour cream and crumbled bacon on top. Yum! Since I've been following mostly a plant-based diet lately I came up with the recipe that replaces some of these ingredients with lighter, plant-based options. For example, I replaced white potatoes with sweet potatoes. You get the benefits of fewer carbs and calories while getting more vitamin A and C. I also swapped butter with corn oil. Butter is high in saturated fat, which can raise your cholesterol. It can also increase your chance of heart disease. Instead of topping my potatoes with sour cream and bacon I topped them with nutritious chic peas, light hummus based sauce and parsley-tomato salad.
My oil of choice is Mazola® Corn Oil . Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for your family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health. It has a variety of uses including baking, grilling, sautéing, stir frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing.
4 medium (~1/3 lb each) sweet potatoes
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1/2 Tbsp Mazola® Corn Oil
1/2 tsp each cumin, coriander, cinnamon, smoked (or regular) paprika
1 pinch sea salt or lemon juice (optional)
1/4 cup hummus (or tahini)
1/2 medium lemon, juiced (1/2 lemon yields ~1 Tbsp juice)
3/4 - 1 tsp dried dill (or sub 2-3 tsp fresh per 3/4-1 tsp dried)
3 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp or 9 g)
Water or unsweetened almond milk (to thin)
Sea salt to taste (optional // I didn’t need any)
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (diced)
1/4 cup chopped parsley (minced)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a large baking sheet with foil.
2. Rinse and scrub potatoes and cut in half length wise. This will speed cooking time. Otherwise leave whole and bake longer (approximately double the time (45 min - 1 hour).
3. Toss rinsed and drained chickpeas with olive oil and spices and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
4. Rub the sweet potatoes with a bit of olive oil and place face down on the same baking sheet (or another baking sheet depending on size).
5. While the sweet potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, prepare your sauce by adding all ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisking to combine, only adding enough water to almond milk to thin so it’s pourable. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more garlic for more zing, salt for savoriness, lemon juice for freshness, and dill for a more intense herb flavor. I found mine didn’t need anything else.
6. NOTE: If you don’t have hummus, tahini will make a great base substitution for the sauce - just adjust the seasonings to accommodate the lack of flavor tahini provides.
7. Also prepare the parsley-tomato topping by tossing tomato and parsley with lemon juice and setting aside to marinate.
8. Once sweet potatoes are fork tender and the chickpeas are golden brown - roughly 25 minutes - remove from oven.
9. For serving, flip potatoes flesh-side up and smash down the insides a little bit. Then top with chickpeas, sauce and parsley-tomato garnish. Serve immediately.
10. Additional side ideas might include Hummus, Pita Chips, Baba Ganoush. Enjoy!