This Delightfully Saucy Sweet Potato Bowl Is All I Want Right Now

updated Jan 27, 2021
Kitchn Love Letters
Saucy Coconut Collards with Crispy Sweet Potato Rounds

Roasted chickpeas combined with caramelized sweet potato, millet , and saucy, turmeric-spiced collards.

Serves4 to 6

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Credit: Grace Elkus

It’s become a running joke in my family that we can predict each other’s restaurant orders with impressive accuracy. My older sister always manages to pick the most expensive item, my mom will either get the crab cakes or the risotto, and my dad will order the house salad with the dressing on the side (plus bread for “the kids,” aka himself). My twin sister and I, unsurprisingly, always order the same thing — whatever most closely resembles a grain bowl with as many toppings as possible.

This kind of food — a big plant-based bowl packed with textures and colors and flavors — isn’t just my preferred menu item, it’s my preferred way of eating always. I’ll trade you a cheesy pasta casserole for a vibrant bowl of veggies any day, and I think you may feel the same after you try this gorgeous collards dish by the brilliant Lindsay Maitland Hunt. It’s delightfully saucy and incredibly satiating — the perfect meal for these dreary January days.

Credit: Grace Elkus

When I first saw the dish on the cover of Lindsay’s book Help Yourself: A Guide to Gut Health for People who Love Delicious Food, it was if she had read my mind: it’s exactly the kind of good-for-you food I crave. You begin by making the quick-braised collards: Cook them in coconut oil with turmeric until softened, then simmer in coconut milk until tender with a slight bite. The rich coconut milk and a handful of sweet golden raisins temper the bitterness of the greens, and a final squeeze of lime juice adds a fresh pop of acidity. For me, cooking collard greens this quickly (just 20 minutes!) was a revelation, and proved to be a great solution to the unwieldy bunch in my produce box.

Credit: Grace Elkus

When the collards are done, you’ll cook your grain of choice: Lindsay calls for millet, which I love for its mild, slightly nutty flavor, but any whole grain would work. You’ll also make the toppings: roasted sweet potato rounds, crispy chickpeas, and toasted coconut flakes. I’m a sucker for a deeply caramelized veggie, so the practically effortless sweet potato rounds impress me every time; after 30 minutes in a 400°F oven, they emerge deeply golden and crispy on the outside, with buttery smooth interiors.

Credit: Grace Elkus

But perhaps the real star here are the roasted chickpeas, which make for the most ridiculously delicious crunchy, salty topping. Lindsay’s method yields the crispiest ones I’ve ever made: She has you roast them until very dry, then toss them with oil, salt, and pepper before returning to the oven. Try not to eat them all off the sheet tray — I dare you.

Considering each component of this recipe is incredible as is, it’s perhaps no surprise that they taste great together. And yet I’m always blown away when I take my first bite — the millet soaks up all the sweet and earthy flavors of the broth, the crunchy toasted coconut and chickpeas contrast the silky greens and tender sweet potato, a dash of red pepper flakes adds just the right touch of heat — the whole thing just makes me feel good. I find myself dreading the moment of nearing the bottom of the bowl. I never want this dish to end.

Saucy Coconut Collards with Crispy Sweet Potato Rounds

Roasted chickpeas combined with caramelized sweet potato, millet , and saucy, turmeric-spiced collards.

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the quick-braised coconut collards:

  • 2 tablespoons

    coconut oil

  • 1

    large bunch collard greens (1 1/4 pounds), stems removed, leaves sliced 1/2-inch thick

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can

    unsweetened coconut milk

  • 2 cups

    water

  • 1/4 cup

    golden raisins

  • 1 tablespoon

    lime juice

  • 1/4 cup

    large unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    crushed red pepper

For the chickpeas and sweet potatoes:

  • 3 cups

    cooked chickpeas, or 1 (29-ounce) can or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans, drained and rinsed

  • 4 tablespoons

    preferred cooking oil, divided

  • 2 3/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 2

    long, skinny sweet potatoes (1 pound total), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

  • 1 cup

    millet, rinsed and soaked overnight, or sprouted

  • Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes and red pepper flakes, for serving

  • Flaky sea salt (optional)

Instructions

Make the quick-braised coconut collard greens:

  1. In a large pot or straight-sided skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the collards, turmeric, salt, and black pepper. Cook, tossing frequently with tongs, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, water, and raisins. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 10 to 14 minutes, until the greens are tender but with a slight bite. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt. Keep warm.

Make the the chickpeas and sweet potatoes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F with racks in the top and bottom positions.

  2. Spread the chickpeas in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the top rack until the chickpeas are very dry, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and drizzle the chickpeas with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Return the baking sheet to the top rack of the oven and bake, tossing once, until the chickpeas are crispy, 25 to 30 minutes more.

  3. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a separate baking sheet. Brush them on both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Roast on the bottom rack, flipping halfway through baking, until golden brown and you can easily insert a fork in the center, 25 to 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the millet and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender but with a small bite, 24 to 28 minutes. Drain.

  5. To serve, divide the millet among four serving bowls. Ladle the collards and sauce over the millet, then top with the sweet potato slices and chickpeas. Sprinkle with coconut, red pepper flakes, and flaky sea salt (if you want).

Recipe Notes

Excerpted from HELP YOURSELF © 2020 by Lindsay Maitland Hunt. Photography © 2020 by Linda Pugliese. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.