This was originally published in January 2010.
When it comes to white starches like pasta, rice, bread, and potatoes, I’m a bit like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. I’ll hoard it, possibly kill for it, and occasionally beat up Elijah Wood just to be in its vicinity. Somewhere, I like to think there exists a 60-minute VHS tape of me scurrying away from the buffet table at a family event. I’m cradling plates of spaghetti to my bosom, angrily hissing “The pasta is THE PRECIOUS!” over and over until I’m disowned.
But … what was I talking about? Oh yeah – starches. I like ‘em. Maybe too much. Subsequently, I’m attempting to A) cut back, and B) be more creative with what I do make. I have a feeling this will involve a lot of bizarre grains and unorthodox purees, but this is okay. After all, what is Brooklyn, if not home for the bizarre and unorthodox? (He agrees.)
Today, both recipes - Dijon-Roasted Potatoes and Sweet Potato and Chickpea Puree – are excellent departures from the norm. The first dish, adapted from Weight Watchers, is a sophisticated alternative to plain ol’ oven fries and baked spuds. The recipe asks you to coat small red potatoes in a tangy, savory marinade, and then roast them to tender-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside perfection. The result goes beautifully with frittatas or lean meats, and can be served with barbecue sauce or ketchup. Gollum would approve.
The second recipe comes from O Magazine, which I adore, despite being a childless, apartment-dwelling cynic. (Harrumph!) Many people accuse Oprah of many terrible things (like thoughtful discussion and creative empowerment), but the woman can produce a dang magazine. It’s nice to read a lady-oriented publication that doesn’t begin with the assumption we’re morons.
Tangent aside, the Sweet Potato and Chickpea Puree is sweet and savory, and another solid pairing for lean meat and produce. A little tahini could even turn it into more of a hummus-esque concoction, so go nuts with the experimentation.
(To know: the original recipe called for 1/2 cup of olive oil, which seemed Smeagol-level insane. So, using a trick from a pesto recipe, I subbed out half the olive oil for fat-free chicken broth. For comparison, I made the full-fat version as well. The Husband-Elect and I both agreed: the chicken broth adaptation was far superior. Sweet.)
That said, how’s everyone doing with resolutions so far? Any fun ideas for white starch substitutions? I’d love to hear, and the comment section is THE PRECIOUS. Er … I mean “open.”
If you like these recipes, you might also like:
Serves 3 or 4
Adapted from Weight Watchers.
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (like Grey Poupon)
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed in your hands
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-1/2 pounds small (3-inch) red potatoes, cut into eighths
1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
2) In a large bowl, whisk mustard, olive oil, paprika, thyme, salt, and pepper together. Add potatoes and stir until well-coated. Spread across baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Remove and stir. Drop oven heat to 350°F. Roast for 20-25 more minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Serve.
NOTE: The Dijon is pretty subtle here. You can double the coating if you want a more assertive flavor.
Sweet Potato and Chickpea Puree
Serves 6-8 (makes around 2 cups).
Adapted from Oprah Magazine.
1 medium sweet potato (about 14 ounces), scrubbed
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 425°F.
2) Prick sweet potato all over with a fork. Roast about 45 to 50 minutes, or until potato can be easily run through with a knife. Set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove flesh from skin. (It should slip right out.)
3) In a food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, salt, sweet potato, and a little chicken broth. Get it going, and slowly add olive oil as it’s running. When olive oil runs out, slowly add the rest of the chicken broth.
4) Pour into a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste, and add a little hot sauce if you’re in the mood.
According to O Magazine: “Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, and when ready to serve again, bring puree to room temperature and thin with extra olive oil."
Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber and Price for Potatoes
141 calories, 1.4 g fat, 3.1 g fiber, $0.71
Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber and Price for Puree
221 calories, 9.9 g fat, 5.1 g fiber, $0.33
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (like Grey Poupon): 30 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.27
1 teaspoon olive oil: 39 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.12
3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika: 4 calories, 0.2 g fat, 0.6 g fiber, $0.03
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed in your hands: 1 calorie, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, $0.03
1/2 teaspoon table salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
1-1/2 pounds small (3-inch) red potatoes: 490 calories, 0.7 g fat, 11.6 g fiber, $2.35
TOTAL: 564 calories, 5.4 g fat, 12.3 g fiber, $2.82
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 141 calories, 1.4 g fat, 3.1 g fiber, $0.71
1 medium sweet potato (about 14 ounces): 341 calories, 0.4 g fat, 11.9 g fiber, $0.69
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained: 500 calories, 4.6 g fat, 18.5 g fiber, $0.66
1 small clove garlic: 4 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, $0.05
1 teaspoon salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth: 4 calories, 0.3 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.10
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil: 477 calories, 54 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.46
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.03
TOTAL: 1326 calories, 59.3 g fat, 30.5 g fiber, $2.00
PER SERVING (TOTAL/6): 221 calories, 9.9 g fat, 5.1 g fiber, $0.33