RECIPE: BBQ Slow Cooked Sweet Potato | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 4
How much does it cost? This BBQ slow cooked sweet potato recipe cost me less than 50p per person
What are the benefits? This dish is an amazing vegan alternative, easily provides two of your five a day, and is very low in fat.


When I ate meat, one of my absolute favourite things to order was a succulent serving of smokey BBQ pulled pork. Tender, falling apart and slathered in sauce, I’d pile that stuff into or on top of pretty much anything!

Obviously that’s a no-go these days, but I had to find a substitute to fill that piggy-shaped hole in my life 🐷 I’ve tried pulled aubergine, which is pretty tasty – you can check out the recipe here – but its unique texture didn’t quite fool my brain (or tummy) into thinking pulled pork was back on the menu.

I continued searching for more alternatives to try and, guys, I don’t want to be overdramatic here; but I think I’ve found the holy grail of pulled pork substitutes.

Who knew grated sweet potato would soak up that rich, sweet, tangy taste of BBQ sauce so well?! Slow cooked for hours until ludicrously soft, it just falls to pieces and is simply divine. It’s also made totally from vegetables so it’s full of crazy health benefits too!

Just a little tip before you go ahead and try this recipe: don’t be afraid to experiment with sauces! A classic BBQ sauce will do just fine, but I used a combination – from sweet whiskey to bourbon to steakhouse, there are so many variations to try – to create my perfect flavour.


INGREDIENTS
4 Sweet Potatoes, Peeled and Grated
2 Large Bell Peppers, Sliced
2 Onions, Sliced
1 tbsp American Mustard
4 tbsp BBQ Sauce
1 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
1 Mug of Water

SEASONING
With this recipe it couldn’t be easier to season – you just chuck it all in the pot and go! I used a good helping of garlic (dried or fresh, whatever you have), smoked paprika, cumin, dried chilli flakes, black pepper and salt. Remember, you’re relying on vegetables and store-bought sauces here, so you want to inject as much flavour as possible.

Slow cooker full of bbq sweet potato
Slow cooker full of bbq sweet potato

HOW TO MAKE BBQ SLOW COOKED SWEET POTATO

1. Grate the sweet potato into your slow cooker (watch out for your fingers!) and throw in the onions and peppers too. If you don’t have a slow cooker or aren’t using one for this recipe, you can pretty much follow the same steps using a large pan on the hob and cooking on a medium heat for around 30 minutes.

2. Add the mustard, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, stock cube, water and seasoning, and leave according to your slow cooker timings. I left mine on the high heat setting for 5 hours and it was absolutely fine, but your slow cooker manual will tell you how best to cook yours.

3. Serve, and enjoy!


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Slow cooked BBQ sweet potato
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RECIPE: Sweet Potato and Bean Stew | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 4
How much does it cost? This recipe cost me less than 75p per person.
What are the benefits? This sweet potato stew makes a brilliant vegan meal, provides three of your five a day and is pretty high in protein too.


I find it really weird these days to think I used to hate beans. Baked beans with a full English fry up, that’s the only time I’d stomach them; other than that, beans were a big no-no for me.

Something about the texture was too.. mushy? I don’t know, I think it was just yet another thing my weird, fussy, teenage brain decided it didn’t like.

Thankfully we’re over that now and beans have, once again, become my friend. They’re super cheap but packed with protein, so they help make wholesome, nutritious, satisfying food on a budget – like this!

This stew is honestly so lovely on a chilly evening or a lazy afternoon; it’s like a cosy, caring hug in a bowl. The full-bodied combo of sweet potato chunks and beans is a real winner, with sweet pepper slices giving just a touch of indulgence and elevation to that rich, earthy flavour.

I find a great way to sneak in extra veggies without really noticing is to create something so wonderfully delectable with them that it feels like comfort food, something I’d turn to when I want to look after myself, and before I know it I’ve hit my five-a-day with practically zero effort! This recipe is perfect for doing just that.


INGREDIENTS
4 Sweet Potatoes, Cubed
2 Onions, Chopped
1 Bell Pepper, Chopped
400g Tin of Black Beans
400g Tin of Kidney Beans
400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1tbsp Tomato Purée
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
1/2 Mug of Water

SEASONING
I find paprika goes really well with the sweet peppers and potatoes in this recipe, giving a nice, mellow spice without any actual heat. If you do want heat, a few chilli flakes wouldn’t go amiss either. Also throw in some dried garlic flakes with the onion (fresh if you’ve got it), a pinch of salt and pepper, and dried thyme at the end (again, fresh if you’ve got it).


So, this is how I did it…

1. Heat up a large pan and cook down the garlic, sweet potato and onion for a few minutes until the onions begin to soften.

2. Add to the pan the chopped tomatoes, sliced peppers, kidney beans and black beans with a spoonful of tomato purée, a crumbled stock cube and half a cup of water. Season everything with a good dose of paprika, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.

3. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes, throwing in the thyme for last minute or two of cooking. Serve with a delicious slab of crusty bread for the ultimate cosy comfort dish.


Tips & Tricks

  • The longer you leave things like this, the more scrumptious they become! Try leaving to simmer on a low heat, topping up with water every now and then, or chuck in a slow cooker and slowly warm.

 

  • Black beans and kidney beans are my favourite, that’s why I’ve used them here. But you could swap them out for any other kinds – even a value tin of baked beans with the tomato sauce rinsed off will do!

 

  • For me, a big bowl of this on its own, with a lovely dollop of sour cream, is perfect, but you could also serve with fluffy rice, thick slices of bread, crispy jacket potatoes or in a well of creamy mash if you wanted.

 

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RECIPE: Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Jambalaya | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 2
How much does it cost? This cost me less than £1 per person.
What are the benefits? This recipe provides at least two of your five a day, is full of fibre and a great vegan meal.


Apparently, I’m going through a “rice phase”. Since discovering how cheap it can be, how long it lasts and how versatile it is, I’ve realised it’s the perfect ingredient for creating a bunch of budget meals, so a lot of my recent recipes have been bulked out with brown rice. I think the other people in my house are getting a little sick of it, actually… 🍚

But who cares when you can make brilliant dishes like this with it?! Jambalaya is something I wasn’t all that familiar with if I’m honest, but my limited experiences with it have always been amazing. The flavours, textures, sights and smells of this gloriously exciting meal are a real pleasure, and I enjoyed experimenting with different jambalaya recipes until eventually coming up with my own take on it.

This meal is really great if you’re trying eat more healthily – there’s no dairy, barely any fat, very little sugar… basically, it’s just rice and vegetables! Sweet potatoes and brown rice are excellent ways of getting energy into your system without the sugar rush and inevitable crash of processed carbs. On top of that, you’ve got Vitamin C from the onion and pepper, fibre from the sweetcorn and antioxidants from the chopped tomatoes – who says nothing good can come from a tin?!


INGREDIENTS
2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
1/2 Cup of Frozen or Fresh Sweetcorn
1 Large Onion, Chopped
1 Mug of Vegetable Stock
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
140g Brown Rice

SEASONING
There’s a really lovely, mild spice to this recipe, and it’s very rich in warm flavours but still fresh and not too heavy. This balance comes from using just the right seasoning; dried garlic flakes are added at first with the sweet potatoes, while paprika, cumin, dried chilli flakes, dried basil, pepper and salt (or onion salt, if you’ve got it) go in with the stock, tomatoes, etc..


So, this is how I did it…

1. Heat a large pan or stove-top dish and throw in the sweet potato, onion and garlic and fry on a medium heat for around 10 minutes, but make sure the potato doesn’t stick to the bottom – keep stirring! 🥄

2. Once the onion has softened, add the red pepper, stock, chopped tomatoes, spices and rice. Simmer on a medium heat (and cover if possible!) for 30 minutes. Check on the rice – if it’s still crunchy, it needs more time! If your rice takes a while to cook you may need to add a little more liquid so it doesn’t dry up.

3. For the final 5 minutes of cooking, add the sweetcorn and stir through so all flavours are well-combined.

 

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RECIPE: Sweet Potato Skins with Bacon & Cheese | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 1
How much does it cost? This cost me less than 75p per person.
What are the benefits? It counts towards one of your five a day, is high in fibre and high in antioxidants.


I’m not exaggerating when I say that stuffed potato skins are one of the greatest things to come out of America.

Whether they’re served as a wicked restaurant appetiser or a “Mum’s-gone-to-Iceland” picky tea, potato skins are always a winner 👌

The idea behind this one is to elevate these little pockets of heaven to a more nutritious place where your body can reap the benefits as much as your tastebuds. My sweet potato twist with low fat cheese is still totally satisfying, I guarantee you, but it also helps count towards your five a day too.

Honestly, these are SO tasty and well worth a try. Cheese and bacon is a pretty tried-and-tested flavour combo – believe me, it works! – but the bacon can easily be swapped for onion, chives or black beans for a veggie alternative. Also, give it a try with some chilli flakes or fresh jalapeños for a feisty kick.

These sweet, crispy skins are packed with salty bacon and strong cheddar cheese to bring out the fantastic flavours of the USA 🇺🇸


INGREDIENTS
1 Sweet Potato
1 Slice of Unsmoked Bacon
Handful of Low Fat Grated Cheese (approx 30g)
2 tbsp BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp American Mustard

SEASONING
Before the potato goes into the oven, rub a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper over the skin. When your combining the flesh with bacon and cheese, make sure to add a squeeze of BBQ sauce and American mustard to the mix, as well as some more salt and pepper to season. These are simple flavours, but they all work really well together.


So, this is how I did it…

1. Sweet potatoes can be a bit gritty, so wash and prick them properly. Then rub a teeny drop of oil, salt and pepper on the skins, wrap very loosely in foil and pop into the oven at 220°C. I had an absolute BEAST of a potato so it took ages in my rickety old oven, but usually they take between 45 – 60 minutes to cook.

2. For the last 20 minutes of cooking, add a slice of bacon to the tray and oven cook this as well, flipping over halfway until it goes all crispy 🥓

3. Remove the potato and bacon from the oven. Cut the bacon into small pieces and add to a bowl, then scoop the potato flesh from the skins and chuck it in there too. While you’re combining this all together, stick the skins back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

4. Mix together the bacon, sweet potato, almost all of the cheese (leave a little!) as well as a squeeze of BBQ sauce, American mustard and salt and pepper for seasoning. Remove the skins from the oven and scoop the mixture back into them.

5. Switch on the grill, sprinkle what’s left of the cheese on top of the skins and stick them under the grill for a few minutes, until the cheese bubbles and the skins are crispy 🍠

potato skins angle EDIT

RECIPE: Oven-Cooked Sweet Potato Fries | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 1
How much does it cost? This cost me less than 50p per person.
What are the benefits? These fries are 1 of your 5 a day, are low fat, and make a great vegan side dish.


I’ve always assumed I don’t like sweet potatoes. It’s just sort of always been a thing for me, like, “Sweet potatoes? No thanks.” It’s an instant reaction. But they seem like something I should like. So this week I tried making sweet potato fries at home as a last-ditch attempt to jump on the foodie bandwagon – and LOVED them!

It depends how you wanna serve these – I had them on their own for lunch, so I just cooked up a whole sweet potato for myself. I was ecstatic to find there’s a way to essentially just eat a big bowl of fries for lunch and feel great afterwards.

You can get a sweet potato for around 35p and you’re pretty much sorted, so it’s a definitely cost-effective option. Not only that, but sweet potatoes are, of course, a vegetable, so you’re now using a side of delicious fries as one of your five a day!

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INGREDIENTS
1 Sweet Potato, Sliced into Chips 

SEASONING
For me, seasoning is key for this recipe, adding a healthy dose of flavour helped me scoff down with delight something I would’ve previously avoided. Coat the fries with a sprinkle of salt (try onion salt for an extra burst of flavour!) and pepper, a pinch of garlic flakes and a handful of rosemary, dried or fresh.


So, this is how I did it…

1. I’m not really familiar with cooking sweet potato, on account of inexplicably not eating them for most of my life, but hacking away until it resembled chip-shaped chunks. Seemed to work out fine.

2. Lay the fries out on a baking tray, cover with a small amount of oil (I was afraid cooking spray wouldn’t crisp up properly – but feel free to try it!) and season with salt, pepper, garlic flakes and rosemary.

3. It was a complete guess, but I cooked on 220°C for 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through and they turned out fine. Crispy and, to my surprise, utterly delicious!

sweet potato fries
Crispy, tasty, oven-baked sweet potato fries