Kumara are full of vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fibre.
Kumara are full of vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fibre.

Winter: time for comfort food

WINTER always makes me think of slow-roasted meat dishes but there's no reason why vegetarian dishes can't be just as comforting. When I had house guests on the long weekend I made a huge pot of minestrone in the pressure cooker. We sat by the fire with huge steaming bowls of vegie goodness and it was just as satisfying as a roast dinner.

It's a challenge for some who choose a vegetarian lifestyle to keep their diet balanced; you can't just omit the meat. Legumes are a great substitute. I use kidney beans in my minestrone and in today's dish, roasted whole sweet potato. I roasted chickpeas for a satisfying vegetarian meal with a bit of crunch. I topped the sweet potato with a spicy yogurt dressing; if you are vegan just use soy yogurt. You can omit the chilli if you don't like a bit of heat.

Roasted whole sweet potato with chickpeas



2 medium-sized or 4 mini sweet potato (gold sweet potatoes) - about 500g

3 tbs olive oil, divided

sea salt and black pepper, to taste

440g can chickpeas, drained

1/4 tsp smoky paprika

1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

1/4 tsp each ground coriander seed, cumin and ground chilli

chopped fresh coriander leaves, to garnish.


METHOD: Preheat oven to 210C. Scrub sweet potato under running water until skins are clean. Line two baking sheets with foil. Place the sweet potato on one of the trays and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Place on middle shelf of the oven and roast, turning once, for an hour if you're using medium-sized tubers. Cook the mini variety for 45 minutes. Remove and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pat chickpeas dry with paper towels and place in a small bowl. Drizzle with remaining oil, sprinkle with paprika and toss to coat. Spread on the second baking sheet and place on top shelf of oven when the potatoes still have 20 minutes to cook. Roast the chickpeas for 10 minutes then turn. Cook for a further 10 minutes or until golden. Combine the yogurt, ground coriander seed, cumin and chilli in a small bowl.

If the sweet potato is large, cut into serving-size pieces. Smaller sweet potato can be left whole. Place on a serving dish and surround with chickpeas. Top with yogurt and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serves 2.

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