Hi friends, I've got another budget-friendly meal idea for you today. If you missed the first post in this $2 Lunch Series, click here to learn the rules of the game.
As a follow-up to the Ginger Sesame Black Lentil Bowl, I wanted to switch it up with a dish that's even MORE colorful and nutritious, but still simple to prepare. So today we have baked sweet potatoes topped with sautéed shallot, garlic, lemon, kale and white beans. Even though this recipe uses more produce than the lentil bowl, it still costs just $2 per serving! And that's if you use canned beans and organic produce.
To save even more money, you could cook a big batch of beans while the sweet potatoes bake. Use the extra beans in soup or white chili, or make a delicious white bean hummus to snack on during the week. Hummus would be a great way to use the other half of the lemon called for in this recipe.
Before I get to today's cost breakdown, I wanted to quickly mention how easy it is to make your own tamari (or soy sauce) pumpkin seeds, which we're using to add some crunch to our dish. You can always use plain pumpkin seeds to top your sweet potatoes, but if you're feeling like a salty, rich treat, you can't go wrong with tamari pumpkin seeds! My mom used to make these when I was a kid, and they were always one of my favorite snacks. You've probably seen them in stores (individually packaged and at a ridiculous price), but it's SO easy to make your own. They're great by the handful and as a salad topping, too.
How to Make Tamari Pumpkin Seeds
Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, add ¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas). Stir frequently to prevent burning. When they start to pop, continue stirring and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat, drizzle in 1 Tbsp tamari, and quickly stir to combine. Voila! You've got tamari pumpkin seeds. Try this with almonds and sunflower seeds, too.
See how some of them have popped and puffed up?
Now for the cost breakdown of our Sweet Potatoes with Lemony Kale and White Beans...
The sweet potatoes and kale are obviously the most expensive ingredients in this recipe, but I have a feeling you agree they're totally worth it. I mean, just look at the gorgeous colors! You know what that means, right? NUTRIENTS.
- Organic sweet potatoes - I bought these at Trader Joe's and they were $1.50/lb. or about $.65 each. Conventional sweet potatoes cost MUCH less. (I wish I could've made it to the farmers market today, but it just wasn't in the cards.)
- Organic kale was on sale at Whole Foods 2 for $4. But since one bunch usually costs $3, I'll use that number for my calculation below.
- Canned cannellini beans are always $.79 for conventional and $.99 for organic at Whole Foods. Trader Joe's and other stores' prices are similar.
- Organic shallots are $2.99/lb. at Whole Foods. I purchased three shallots today for $1.26. So, the one needed for this recipe was $.42.
- Garlic, as I mentioned last week, is difficult to estimate. My best guess is that 1 or 2 large cloves cost no more than $.10. I'm probably overestimating here.
- The price of lemons varies a lot. Since lemons keep for an extended period and can be used in almost everything, I don't mind buying larger amounts to get a better price (just be sure not to hide them in the back of the produce drawer where they're easily forgotten). I bought a bag of seven organic lemons at Trader Joe's for $3. So, that's $.43 per lemon.
- Red pepper flakes cost about $.20 per teaspoon.
- Pumpkin seeds in the bulk bins at Whole Foods cost $5.99/lb. I bought just under a third of a pound, which turned out to be a very full cup. So, the ¼ cup needed for this recipe costs about $.44.
Grand total = $7.98 for four servings! And be sure to check out the nutrition label below. This meal is packing!
One thing to note...
When you eat whole plant foods, often the calories are lower than you expect. So, if you're an active person and think you'll need more calories to make this a satisfying lunch, try adding diced, extra firm tofu to the sauté, increasing the amount of pumpkin seeds on top, or adding a sauce. You could also just eat more and call it a $3 or $4 lunch. 😉
I hope you'll give these stuffed sweet potatoes a try and leave a comment or tag a pic @myquietkitchen on instagram. Cheers to practical, affordable, and healthy eating!
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Sweet Potatoes with Lemony Kale and White Beans
- 4 medium/large sweet potatoes For organic I spent $2.70
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, optional
- 1 shallot or other onion, chopped $.40
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced $.10
- 1 tsp lemon zest cost included in the lemon listed below
- ½ to 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
- 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, chopped (can substitute collards, baby kale, chard, spinach, etc) $2 to 3
- 1 (15 oz) can Cannellini beans (about 2 cups cooked beans) For organic, $.99; otherwise $.79
- ½ to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional $.20
- juice from half a lemon cost varies; one small lemon = approximately $.50
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, raw or pan toasted with a splash of tamari or soy sauce $.44
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry sweet potatoes. Prick the tops a few times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake until soft, about 45 to 60 minutes depending on size.
- Preheat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil, if using. Add the shallot and cook for approximately 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, lemon zest, and salt, and cook for 1 minute. Add the kale, beans, and red pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and deep green. Add the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Remove from heat.
- Allow sweet potatoes to cool slightly. Top each one with the kale and bean mixture and pumpkin seeds. Or if this is meal prep, allow everything to cool. Store the potatoes and bean mixture separately in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.