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Baked sweet potato halves with smoky paprika chickpeas and herb tzatziki – makes 4 halves

I still can’t quite believe I only discovered sweet potatoes when I moved to the UK. Growing up in Switzerland we didn’t have them, I don’t think they even sold them in supermarkets back then (they definitely do now). They are a firm staple in my kitchen now and baking them halved in the oven cut side down until they are soft and creamy yet almost caramelised is my favourite way of cooking them. The smoky and slightly crunchy chickpeas add extra flavour, spice and texture, while the tzatziki is loaded with refreshing cucumber and the divine taste of fresh herbs. If the kids aren’t too keen on spice you can leave out the chilli and a little extra squirt of maple syrup on top of the chickpeas (once served) seems to increase their popularity quite a lot with my boys.

What you need:

For the sweet potato halves:

2 large sweet potatoes (or 3 slightly smaller ones) – washed and cut in half

A little olive oil

A sprinkle of sea salt

For the chickpeas:

2 tins of chickpeas (in water, no salt or additives if possible) – rinsed and drained

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp maple syrup

2 tsp smoked paprika

1½ tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp garlic granules

Pinch of chilli powder

Salt to taste

For the tzatziki:

200g unsweetened soy yogurt

Half a medium sized organic cucumber – washed and grated onto kitchen towel to absorb the excess water

1 tbsp olive oil

3 heaped tbsp of finely chopped mint and parsley – I aim for 2/3 mint and 1/3 parsley

1 garlic clove – pressed with a garlic press

1 tsp lemon juice – roughly a couple of squeezes if you use a fresh lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

A little extra olive oil to drizzle on top

How you do it:

Preheat the oven to 150C fan.

Give the sweet potatoes a rinse or brush off any soil and slice them in half.

Drizzle a little olive oil over them and rub it in (both on the cut side and on the skin), then sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Place them on a lined baking tray (cut side down) and bake for 45-50mins or until they feel perfectly soft when you insert a knife.

Meanwhile prepare your chickpeas.

Once drained and rinsed pour them into a bowl.

Add olive oil and maple syrup and give it a stir.

Now add all the spices, gently mix everything until the chickpeas are evenly coated, taste and add a little more salt if necessary.

Put the bowl aside for the time being, the chickpeas will go into the oven with the sweet potatoes once those are nearly done*

On to the tzatziki.

Pour 200g of unsweetened soy yogurt into a bowl.

Mix in your finely grated and dried cucumber (make sure to gently squeeze out the excess liquid first).

Give it a good stir until the yogurt and cucumber are well combined, then add olive oil, your finely chopped mint/parsley mix, lemon juice and the pressed garlic.

Mix everything and season to taste with salt and pepper.

*Once the sweet potatoes are nearly done, pour the marinated chickpeas onto the same baking tray and roast them together for the last 7-10mins.

Serve the sweet potato halves cut side up with chickpeas over the top, a healthy serving of tzatziki and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

While the kids love it with a side of sliced avocado, I tend to have it with some rocket or mixed leaf salad, topped with crunchy seeds.

credit to my 4 legged assistant for not eating it despite his love for sweet potatoes..



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