It’s no secret that one of my favorite foods is sweet potato. It’s up there with rice and bread for me – I just have to have it (in some way) in my diet. On a recent flight from Nigeria to the States, I was served a creamy rice dish that got me craving risotto…
I immediately started thinking about a calorie-conscious way to makeover the dish with complex carbohydrates and heart healthier fats. Then, I realized that done correctly, risotto could make for a pretty satisfying post-workout meal…so, sweet potato to the rescue!
The baked sweet potato acts as an additional thickener to the recipe, making it creamier while boosting the flavors, not compromising them. The sweetness of both the potato and the coconut cream/milk balances out the savoriness of the risotto and gives your body a dose of complex carbohydrates for lasting energy and muscle rebuilding. I really like this meal after a workout, but it also makes for a satisfying lunch or comfort food makeover.
SWEET POTATO RISOTTO RECIPE
Ingredients for 5 servings:
- 1 1/2 lb raw chicken breast, cut into chunks (OR your choice of lean veggie or animal protein)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced/chopped garlic
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup short-grain brown rice (or regular long grain brown rice)
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium veggie broth or chicken broth
- 300g baked sweet potato, no skin
- 1/3 cup coconut milk (**see steps below)
- 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- Garnish for meal prep containers
- raw kale for salad
- diced red bell pepper
- Set oven to 410F. If you do not have leftover baked sweet potato from your meal prep, then you’ll need to bake a large sweet potato. Wash it, poke a few holes in it using a fork, then place it on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the outside is so tender you can easily pierce it with a fork. Set it aside once it has been baked.
- Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray it with olive oil. When the skillet is hot, toss in the chicken chunks. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the pieces of chicken are no longer pink and there is a slight sear on the outer edges. Remove the chicken (set it aside), then put the skillet back on the heat.
- Add olive oil and garlic and red onion. Sauté until the red onion turns slightly brown and translucent and be careful not to burn the garlic, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the uncooked brown rice and only 2 cups of the low sodium veggie/chicken broth. Reduce the heat to a simmer – low-medium heat, then cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked and no longer crunchy. Monitor the skillet to make sure there is adequate liquid in the skillet and add tablespoons of water or broth as needed.
- Once the rice has finished cooking, add the baked sweet potato WITHOUT the skin to the skillet, along with coconut milk. ** Scoop from the top of the can to get mostly coconut cream. For best results, open the can and let it sit for about 20 minutes before scooping out the milk – this will allow for the majority of the cream to rise to the top. Stir everything together until the consistency is smooth, then add the cooked chicken and 1/2 cup broth to the mixture. Season to taste with sea salt & pepper, then cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add frozen peas to the skillet and fold everything together. Cover and cook for an additional 6 to 8 minutes.
- Enjoy immediately or add to meal prep containers. If you are adding to meal prep containers, remember to allow the food to cool before adding the lid to prevent further cooking from the steam.
Approximate macros for 1 of 5 servings (without garnish):
394 calories, 46g carbohydrates, 8g fat, 38g protein, 6g fiber, 8g sugar