We’re all students. It can be near to impossible to squeeze vegetables into our diets when we’re on a budget, have minimal free time, and absolutely no clue how to even cook in the first place. Generally the go-to is a pack of twenty cent noodles or a few waffles thrown in the oven. This one time I cooked a spaghetti with chicken and veg stir-fried in and christened myself Domestic Goddess (for like three months…)
Anyways, it can be hard to get nutrients in. But that skin and shiny hair needs it! Not to mention scurvy. I know that’s fruit, but still. Scurvy.
Sweet potato is an intimidating vegetable. Unfamiliar territory, you could call it. We’re Irish, we have our potato mashed, not sweet. Unless, of course, you’re a McCambridge’s frequenter. Then you’ll know it well.
However, it’s actually a really easy thing to pop into a meal. Plain pasta goes from blank to Gordon Ramsey real quick with one. Also, they’re extremely cheap; 39cent for a loose one in Aldi, 99cent per pack. No excuses.
- The first way to cook some good old sweet potato is the golden beam most of us know. Sweet. Potato. Fries. Food that tastes like takeaway but is good for you? Please. Just cut some up, drizzle a mixture of olive oil and piri-piri over them, throw them in the oven and bake for ten minutes at 180 degrees. Turn them over for another ten and wolah, donezo. Easy as.
- Another delicious sweet potato dinner is close to home, and by home I mean real potatoes. Fill up the sweet potato like you would a regular jacket one. Bake it in the microwave for eight to ten minutes, until it’s tender, scoop out the insides and fill to your heart’s content. My personal favourite is burrito-style with guacamole, sour cream, cheese, pinto beans and some chicken. If you feel like cheating, steal a few scoops out of a Boojum burrito bowl. After all, we are still students.
A definite plus of the potato filling method is that you’re left with scoops of sweet potato. You can mix it into the filling, liquidise it into some soup, have it as mash on the side of your dinner, use it as part of a salad… the options are endless.
- My third and final way to cook sweet potato is the method I can only refer to as courgetti. Most people by now are familiar with the phenomenon that is courgette spiralized into fabulous spaghetti-like goodness. But most of us don’t realise, sweet potetti (doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?) is just as good. Although this method does involve the extra cost of a spiralizer, it’s worth it. They’re more like noodles than pasta, but have the exact comfort-food feel that we so often crave. Add some red pepper cream sauce and you’ve a low calorie dinner that’ll beat the fresher pounds and satisfy that craving. Win, win.
If I haven’t swayed your preconceived notions of sweet potato, I don’t know what else I can do. It’s fabulous. Please enjoy it with me.
-By Orla Carty
Photo from Stacy Spensley