Hi. It’s been a while. Before we get into today’s grilled sweet potatoes recipe, I want to share an updated version of a message that I originally posted on Instagram last week. Like many creators that show their work online (and many people just in general), this accelerated and overdue movement for equality has had me stepping back, focusing on education, and rethinking how I’ll be doing things here (and in my everyday life) going forward.
Typical content will resume, but things will not be the same. Know this: the lifelong mission of anti-racism work will inform and guide my actions and choices, moving beyond this moment.
I need to acknowledge that my work has gone against this in the past. No attribution for cultural ingredients and cooking techniques that I have profited from in some way. Partnering with brands that I haven’t done even the base level of homework on. Upholding a system of white privilege by not questioning pathways of inclusion or accessibility in this line of work. Not sharing the knowledge and creativity of my BIPOC peers in food that have inspired me. Always keeping things light in an effort to maintain the flow of clicks.
Saying things on social media is easy. With every decision, we must ask ourselves if what we are doing helps to dismantle an unjust system that extends to healthcare, healthy food accessibility, community structures, and career opportunities. This process can be messy and uncomfortable, but it must lead to change.
Relating this back to the content that is presented here (primarily food), going forward I’ll be focusing on the following actions in addition to sharing recipes: consistently using my platforms to amplify BIPOC-owned food businesses and food creatives, placing more emphasis on context, education, and credit for regional ingredients and cooking techniques, being much more selective in the realm of paid partnerships, committing a percentage of the monthly ad revenue from this site to organizations that actively combat injustice in marginalized communities (we supported Food Empowerment Project this month), and discussing topics like food justice and accessibility in our weekly link roundups.
A lot of the reflection I’ve been doing, specifically relating to how I will continue with this site, has me thinking back to why I started in the first place. Ultimately, I just want everyone to be able to experience the vibrancy of plant-based cooking in their lives, to connect over a meal, to feel amazing because they’re eating more vegetables. After my book came out, I could feel those goals wavering. I went on autopilot in a lot of ways and phoned it in to keep the income flowing. Part of my going forward is going back and asking why. Focusing on the “we” rather than the “me,” you know?
So in sum, thanks for being here and for helping to form community around plant-based cooking. This is at the heart of what I do and I am open to suggestions on how to move it all forward. Emailing me through the contact form on this site is always the most direct way.
And to our recipe! This is the longest lead for one of the simplest recipes I’ve ever posted I think. We par-boil and grill sweet potatoes all the time when the weather is right. They usually fit into some sort of grain bowl, as a side for grilled veggie burgers, or just as a meal-prep kind of thing to have on hand for a snack. Recently we finished them with a simple drizzle made with tahini, adobo sauce, lime, and garlic. Sweet, spicy, tangy, so lovely.
You might know adobo as the thick sauce that surrounds canned/jarred chipotle chiles (large jalapeños that have been dried and smoked). The origins of adobo can be traced to the Phillipines, where Spanish colonizers witnessed the preserving/marinating of protein in vinegar and seasonings (pre-refrigeration times!) around 1565. The Spanish word adobo comes from the verb adovar, which means “to marinate,” so when the Spanish originally witnessed this preservation method at work, the term was applied from their own point of reference. Adobo has been translated across Latin America in varying formats (dry seasoning salt, a spice mixture, condiment/sauce, a vinegar-based braising liquid, a cooking method in and of itself). For a very quick explainer, check out this article.
The adobo that we’re using here is the one typically surrounding preserved chipotles found in North American grocery stores. It’s made of vinegar, tomato, spices, garlic, onions, and herbs. The sauce is deep red, super savoury, a little bit spicy, and just right with the creamy tahini base used here (we’ll talk about tahini another day–learning a lot about its wide array of applications in Sami Tamimi’s brand new Falastin cookbook). I use canned chipotles from time to time, so I essentially always have a bit of the sauce leftover for other cooking adventures, and it honestly lasts seemingly forever in the fridge.
GRILLED SWEET POTATOES WITH CHILE LIME TAHINI SAUCE
CHILE LIME TAHINI SAUCE:
- ¼ cup tahini, well stirred
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a jar/can of chipotles in adobo
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- sea salt, to taste
- ¼ cup ice water, plus extra
GRILLED SWEET POTATOES:
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- oil spray of your choosing (I like avocado)
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- any garnishes you like: chopped herbs, sliced fresh chiles, chopped toasted nuts/seeds
- Prepare the chile lime tahini sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, adobo sauce, lime juice, and salt. Then, add the ¼ cup ice water. Slowly whisk to combine and then speed up your whisking. The sauce should become slightly pale and be fluid enough to drip off of your whisk. Add more ice water by the tablespoon if necessary. Check the sauce for seasoning, adjust, and then set aside.
- Slice the sweet potatoes crosswise into ½ inch thick slices. Place the sweet potato slices in a large pot and cover with water. Put a lid on the pot and bring the sweet potatoes to a boil. Let the sweet potatoes boil until they yield to the prick of a paring knife with minimal pressure, about 4 minutes.
- Drain the sweet potatoes and allow them to dry off a bit. Preheat your grill to high.
- Lay the par-boiled sweet potato slices out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Spray the sweet potatoes with your oil spray and season them with salt and pepper. Flip the slices over and repeat with the other side.
- Grill the sweet potatoes until char marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the grilled sweet potatoes to a serving platter. Drizzle the chile lime tahini sauce over top and garnish with fresh herbs, sliced chiles, toasted nuts/seeds etc! Enjoy immediately.
- Spray oil is preferable here in terms of ease and efficiency, but if you don’t have any, simply pour your oil of choice into a small bowl and brush it over the slices of par-boiled sweet potato.
- I find the sauce alone is quite flavourful and really nice with the simply seasoned grilled sweet potatoes. That said, if you want to go in with some other complementary spices: I say go for it :)
- Make sure your tahini is fluid and well-stirred! Makes whisking the final sauce much easier.
- Leaving the skin on the sweet potatoes helps the slices hold their shape on the gril (and adds a little extra fiber to your life, yay)