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Load up sweet potatoes with chickpeas and tahini for a new favorite dinner

Ingredients popular in Middle Eastern cooking – tahini, sumac and pomegranate seeds – take roasted sweet potatoes to a new level. (Tom McCorkle for The Washington / Washington Post)
Ingredients popular in Middle Eastern cooking – tahini, sumac and pomegranate seeds – take roasted sweet potatoes to a new level. (Tom McCorkle for The Washington / Washington Post)
By Joe Yonan Washington Post

If there’s one thing better than a baked potato, it’s a twice-baked potato. You know the drill: You scoop out the cooked flesh, mix it with some cheesy-fatty goodness, spoon it back into the shells and bake again until it’s bubbling hot and browned, maybe even crispy on top. Retro and good.

This recipe, from BuzzFeed’s brand Goodful, takes the idea in a different direction, with sweet potatoes treated to ingredients popular in Middle Eastern cooking. The flesh gets mashed with garlicky tahini sauce, but instead of baking them again, you top them with roasted chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, mint and parsley for pops of protein, flavor and crunch.

In true Mediterranean style, the potatoes can be served warm or at room temperature. But if you wanted them hotter, and sent them back under the broiler for a few minutes before topping, I sure wouldn’t argue.

Spiced Tahini Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from “The Goodful Cookbook.” Rodale, 2019.

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds total), scrubbed

One (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons vegetable oil of your choice

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, or more to taste

1/2 cup tahini, well stirred

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

2 to 4 tablespoons water, as needed

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground sumac (may substitute finely grated lemon zest)

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 fresh mint leaves, torn

Place a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and place them on the baking sheet along with the chickpeas.

Drizzle with the oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt, tossing the chickpeas and rubbing the oil on the sweet potatoes to ensure even coverage.

Turn the potato halves cut side down and roast 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender and the chickpeas are a little crispy, stirring the chickpeas once halfway through.

In a small bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. It should be the consistency of ranch dressing; stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons water to thin it out, if needed.

Place the sweet potato halves cut side up on a plate. Sprinkle the chickpeas with the pepper, cumin and sumac and toss to coat.

Leaving a 1/2-inch border intact around the edges and bottom, scoop the remaining flesh out of the sweet potato halves into a bowl. Mix half of the tahini dressing with the flesh of the sweet potatoes, then, using a fork, mash the potato until smooth. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Spoon the seasoned potato flesh back into the skins.

Top with the spiced chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, parsley and mint. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings

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