Looking for some healthy inspiration for your Thanksgiving meal? These creamy sweet potatoes feature fabulous fall flavors (like maple, cinnamon, cranberry, apple and pumpkin seeds) AND get an extra nutritional boost from the addition of protein rich quinoa. (Want to know more about the benefits of quinoa check out this post )
Here in the USA, sweet potatoes make an appearance on most Thanksgiving tables. It’s such a shame that most recipes call for drowning the sweet potatoes in gobs of butter, brown sugar and marshmallows, because the sweet potato is well…sweet! naturally ! (hence the name) and it’s not necessary to drown them in all those extra calories and fat. Don’t get me wrong, those versions are delicious, but here’s a way to stick to your healthy eating habits (or adopt some new ones) and not sacrifice on taste.
The sweet potatoes are peeled and boiled and then mashed into creamy perfection. A splash of pure maple syrup and a pinch of ground cinnamon give these a hint of sweetness and depth. Top it with healthy protein packed quinoa, tangy green apples and cranberries, and a bit of crunch from sliced almonds, pistachios and pumpkin seeds.
Bonus! If you’re trying to get a jump start on the Thanksgiving day feast, these can be made ahead of time (even the day before) and warmed up just before serving.
BUT! Hold on!… there’s no need to wait for Thanksgiving to try these Mashed Maple Sweet Potatoes and Fall Quinoa. You can whip these up in about 15 min. anytime. In fact, you don’t even have to reserve this recipe just for fall. The ingredients can be found pretty much year round.
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons milk (optional)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup quinoa (uncooked, any color) (I used Tricolor)
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 apple, chopped ( Granny Smith or other tart variety)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup sliced almonds (or nuts of your choice, like pecans or walnuts)
- ¼ cup pistachios, shelled
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, roasted (also called pepitas)
- ¼ cup green onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (more or less to taste)
- Squeeze of lemon
- Salt and pepper , to taste
- Place the peeled and cut sweet potatoes in a large pot, add just enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. (approx. 10-12 min.) Drain and return to the pot. Add milk, maple syrup and cinnamon. For a more rustic mashed potato, use a fork to mash the potatoes. (which is what I did) or for smoother consistency use an electric mixer on low.
- In a small sauce pan over high heat bring water to boil. Add quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let cook for about 10 min. until all water is absorbed and grain appears soft and translucent. Remove from heat and stir the quinoa to “fluff” it.
- Mix apples, cranberries, almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, green onion, olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper into the quinoa.
- Serve warm sweet potatoes topped with quinoa. Drizzle with additional maple syrup if desired.