The Lighter Side: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

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January typically signals a few things: A new beginning in a new year, cold weather (at least here in the Northeast), and, oh yes, resolutions. Like most everyone else, I’m trying to eat healthier and cook more. Now, that may sound odd because I obviously bake often, but I don’t always have time to prepare lunch and dinner, especially when my schedule is hectic (and that’s normally the case!). 

So, with the latest issue of Food Network magazine in hand, I started plotting out a strategy to cook a few things on the weekends for lunches and dinners during the work week. 

I’m happy to report that I successfully cooked up my version of FN’s Italian Wedding Soup (I used kale and turkey for the meatballs), Roasted Tomatoes stuffed with breadcrumbs, garlic and pancetta, and these fabulous Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes stuffed with kale and pancetta. (I was going for a “green” theme and trying to incorporate more dark greens, such as kale, into my diet. And, hey, if I need to use a little pancetta to make it taste even better, so be it). 

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Kale and Pancetta
(Original recipe adapted from Food Network magazine)

1/2 package of pancetta slices, diced
4 large sweet potatoes, skin thoroughly washed
1/2 of a large bunch of kale, washed, dried and cut from the stem
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 1-2 tbsp. for sprinkling

1. Over medium heat, cook the diced pancetta until crispy and brown. Carefully, remove from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a dish lined with a paper towel to drain residual grease. 

2. Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake in oven on 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until soft.

3. Add garlic to pan containing remaining pancetta grease and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add olive oil, kale, red pepper flakes and salt. Saute until kale wilts. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and let cool. Carefully unwrap, slice in half and scoop out the flesh into a medium-size bowl. Place sweet potato shells in a baking dish greased with olive oil. 

5. Add ricotta and parmesan cheeses to sweet potato flesh and mix. Fill shells with kale mixture topped with sweet potato mixture. Then, top with reserved pancetta and additional parmesan cheese. Bake on 375 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before serving.   


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