There are times when I can’t pinpoint exactly how or when I came up with a recipe idea, but I have no doubt about this one. It was a single quote that inspired the idea. A couple of weeks ago, I listened to an interview on NPR (National Public Radio, for those not in the U.S.), where Fresh Air’s Dave Davies was speaking to James Beard award winning chef, Michael Solomonov. Israeli-born Solomonov opened his first restaurant, Zahav, in Philadelphia in 2008 and just released a cookbook by the same name.
When speaking about the heart of soul of Israeli cooking, Solomonov said, “On the first day, God created tehina.” Tehina, meaning tahini (ground sesame seeds) for those of us in North America. He uses it in sauces and dips, for glazing vegetables and for many other purposes beyond that.
The tahini inspiration quickly turned into an idea for a tahini salad dressing of some sort, with lemon juice for a hit of acid and a drizzle of agave nectar (or honey) to balance with sweetness. Perfect to dress some peppery arugula.
When you have a flavor as lovely as tahini, why stop at a salad? Since it ’tis the season for all-things-sweet-potato, I quickly cooked up a sweet potato in the microwave (6 minutes or less!) and mashed it with ground coriander and paprika. I piled it all on top of a piece of toasted whole wheat country style bread, along with the dressed arugula. In about 15 minutes, you have a healthy, easy lunch or dinner that also happens to be vegan.
Sweet potatoes boast a list of healthy benefits as long as your arm. Not only are they one of the best natural sources of beta carotene, but they are high in calcium, potassium, and Vitamins A and C. They are also fat free and relatively low in sodium. Some of my favorite side and main dishes involve sweet potatoes – grilled, roasted and stuffed.
As for the tahini…well, I’m sold. I’ll be using it as far more than an ingredient for hummus from now on!
Other easy, healthy lunch or dinner recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Turkey Panini with Apple, Cheddar & Arugula
Cookin’ Canuck’s Light Curry Egg Salad with Greek Yogurt
Cookie + Kate’s Lebanese Lemon-Parsley Bean Salad
Naturally Ella’s Mediterranean Flatbread
The Cookie Rookie’s Chicken Avocado Pitas
Sweet Potato Toast with Tahini Arugula Recipe
- With a fork, pierce the sweet potato in several places. Place the sweet potato in the microwave, on top of a piece of paper towel, and cook for 3 minutes per side (about 6 minutes total), or until the sweet potato is tender when pierced with a fork.
- Let the sweet potato cool for several minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Cut in half lengthwise.
- Carefully scoop out the flesh of the potato and place in a medium-sized bowl. Reserve the skins.
- With the back of a fork, mash the potato flesh until most lumps are gone.
- Add the coriander, paprika and salt, and mix to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice and agave nectar. Toss with the arugula.
- Toast the bread, then divide the sweet potato mixture between the two pieces of toast. Top with the dressed arugula. Serve.
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