In these uncertain financial times, sometimes it can be a real struggle to put food on your family’s table. How do you balance providing your family with delicious, nutritious meals with staying on budget? If you’re like me, sometimes you have to get a little creative. Using readily available and seasonal ingredients, this recipe for Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potato is both budget-friendly and delicious! And, the flavorful combination of sweet potato, black beans, corn, avocado and nopales really packs a powerful nutrition punch!
As I’ve previously shared with you, to save money, I belong to a Farmer’s Market Co-op. The Farmer’s Market is a great source for buying seasonal, local fruits and vegetables. And, if you’re buying in bulk, it can really save you money. For example, I recently purchased an entire case (40 lbs) of sweet potatoes for $15.00 at my local farmer’s market. Whereas, the price at my local supermarket averaged about $1.25 per pound. Prices can, and do vary depending on where you live. But, any way you slice it, you’ll almost always come out cheaper when you’re able to buy in bulk.
If you choose to buy in bulk, make sure you are actually able to use up the produce before it goes bad. According to www.EatbyDate.com, “Sweet Potatoes last about 3-5 weeks in the pantry and about 2-3 months in the fridge.” Because I belong to a co-op, I’m able to get the bulk price because we divide the produce among our members. If you’re not in a co-op, you might want to consider going in with a neighbor or friend. You want your produce to be fresh and at it’s best for all your recipes. After all, what’s the use of saving money on your purchase if you’re going to waste the food in the end?
Sweet Potatoes are the star of this easy and delicious meal. Sweet potatoes are fat and cholesterol free. Low in sodium, they’re also high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A.
Because sweet potatoes have a high concentration of carotenoids, they are believed to protect against carcinogens and preserve night vision. Vitamin A, found in high concentrations in sweet potatoes, helps keep eyes and skin healthy. The high concentrations of Vitamin C are believed to help fight cancer and boost the immune system.
And, the black beans are no nutritional slouch either! Black beans are a filling source of calories, are high in carbs and fiber, are a good low fat source of protein and an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals. A 1/2 cup serving of calories has only 113 calories. Adding black beans is a great way to boost fiber intake and energy levels. And, the presence of essential vitamins and nutrients help the body function properly.
Nopales are another major ingredient in this dish. Nopales or nopalitos are thick, oval, flat, modified stems of the cactus plant eaten as a vegetable. They are often used in salads and stir-fry dishes. Nopales are one of the chief components of Mexican cuisine and are rapidly gaining popularity in the United States and Europe many health benefits. It is believed that eating nopales lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol and fight cancer cells. According to LiveStrong there are also many nutritional benefits to eating nopales. Saying of nopales, it is ” Low in calories, with only 14 per 1 cup serving, it makes a good addition to any diet. The predominant vitamins in cactus leaf are the antioxidant vitamins A and C and trace amounts of folate and vitamin K. Minerals include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorous.” In my area, this versatile vegetable is easily found in many stores.
Sweet corn is a good source of niacin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C. And, according to Avocado Central, with nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients per 50g serving, avocados are a good nutrient choice.”
The Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potato is healthy, delicious and easy to make!
With just a few ingredients and time, you bring a little Southwestern flair and flavor to your family table.
Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potato
A super nutritious sweet potato is baked, split and stuffed to the brim with a creamy mix of black beans, corn, avocado and nopales in an citrusy southwestern dressing. Delicious!
4 sweet medium sweet potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups of cooked and black beans (or 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed)
- 2 ears fresh corn, sliced off cob (or 8 oz. frozen corn kernels, thawed)
- 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
- 1 avocado, medium dice
- 1/2 cup nopales, drained, rinsed and chopped (These are pickled prickly pear cactus pads and are readily available in Latin grocers or even at Walmart. I prefer DONA MARIAÂ® nopalitos brand because they aren’t in vinegar and sour like some brands are. If you want to make your own, pickled nopales/nopalitos, this seems to be a good recipe, However, I’ve not yet tried this recipe myself. It’s on my to do list for my pickling and canning week. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂 )
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or other mildly flavored vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (may be omitted if desired)
- 1/4 – 1 jalapeno (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
Prepare the Sweet Potatoes:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Prepare your sweet potatoes. (I usually batch cook several sweet potatoes at a time. This way, we always have some on hand for breakfast, a quick snack or to give me a headstart on awesome recipes like this.) I have three favorite ways to cook my sweet potato. In the InstantPot. In the microwave (Don’t hate. The microwave is a legit timesaver and a useful tool.) or in the oven. Cooking in the oven, I can cook a lot of potatoes at one time for my weekly meals.
- This is how I oven-bake my sweet potatoes: Wash sweet potatoes and dry well. Line a baking sheet with foil. Prick your sweet potatoes each 2-3 time with a fork, then place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes for sweet potatoes that are 2-3 inches in diameter. For sweet potatoes that are up to 4 inches in diameter, bake for an hour. For those gigantic sweet potatoes, bake for an hour and 15 minutes. After the projected time has passed, don’t open the oven but turn it off. Let the sweet potatoes sit in the oven for at least 30 minutes but up to an hour. Remove from the oven. If not using right away, store in a container in the refrigerator.
- Split potato lengthwise and top with the vegetable stuffing.
While the sweet potatoes are baking. Prepare the salad dressing.
- Peel, seed, and dice avocado and place in blender or food processor. Add garlic, salt, lime juice, water, vinegar, jalapeno, cumin and cilantro leaves. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in oil until a creamy emulsion forms. Oil can be omitted if desired. Just make sure the ingredients for the vinaigrette are well combined. Transfer vinaigrette to a small bowl or squeeze bottle. Use immediately or refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.
Preparing the Vegetable Stuffing:
Put all the ingredients for the vegetable stuffing in a large bowl. Add about 1/2 cup vinaigrette. Gently mix all ingredients, making sure the vegetables are evenly coated in the vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning, adding more vinaigrette, salt and pepper as desired.
Bringing it all together: Place about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of vegetable stuffing into pocket of each of the four sweet potatoes. Grab a fork and enjoy!
Refrigerate any leftovers.