Sweet Potato Cups with Hummus and Walnut Pesto & Tamari Spiced Nuts

Happy Friday and happy weekend! I wanted to share two recipes I recently tried and love. Both come from the book The Vegan Cookbook: Feed Your Soul, Taste the Love: 100 of the Best Vegan Recipes by Adele McConnell, which Carina from the blog Carina's Running Career got me for my birthday when she visited last year.

Sweet Potato Cups with Hummus and Walnut Pesto

I made the Sweet Potato Cups last weekend when we had friends over. The recipe actually calls for making the walnut pesto, but you could sub a pre-made pesto if you want (it just wouldn't be vegan). The cookbook includes a recipe for Roasted Garlic & Hazelnut Hummus but I used store-bought roasted garlic hummus. I've never tried--or would have thought to try--a combination of sweet potato, pesto, and hummus, but it was really great! Everyone really liked them, and they're a fancier appetizer to trot out for guests. There's no easy way to cut the sweet potato into the tiny cubes the recipe calls for other than by doing it by hand, so there was a lot of prep time for this appetizer. But it was so worth it! We were all unsure how to eat them but in the end just bit into them. You could get a few bites in before they fall apart and had to be eaten with a fork. Next time I might try making mini versions of these in a mini-cupcake pan.

9 ounces sweet potato cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 zucchini, finely chopped (I used one small zucchini.)
3 flour tortillas
1 large handful of basil leaves
1 small handful of parsley leaves
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice or to taste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Put the sweet potato cubes in a bowl and add the oil. Mix well to coat thoroughly and tip onto a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper.) Roast 30 minutes, then add the zucchini to the baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes more, or until tender.

While the vegetables are cooking, cut each tortilla into quarters and grease six muffin cups lightly with cooking spray. Press 1 piece of tortilla inside a muffin cup and smooth into the edges to line the cup, then add a second piece at an angle and smooth in the same way. Leave the edges overhanging to create a cup. Set aside.

Put the basil into a blender or food processor and add the parsley and spinach then blend until well combined. Add the walnuts, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and blend into a smooth paste to make a pesto.

When the sweet potato is cooked, set the baking sheet aside to cool. When the veggies are cool, put them into a mixing bowl and combine with 2 tablespoons of walnut pesto.

Spoon the sweet potato and zucchini mixture into each tortilla cup and bake 15 minutes or until the tortillas are golden brown.

Top with a large spoonful of hummus and serve with the remaining pesto.

Tamari Spiced Nuts

I've made this about five times already! Even though there is cinnamon, allspice, and a little brown sugar in the recipe, it's not sweet at all. You can't really taste either the tamari or the spices--they basically just taste like really good nuts. I made this for Christmas Eve, for New Year's Eve, when we had friends over, and then just for myself. I can't get enough of them! The recipe calls for specific nuts and seeds, but I just used what I had (almonds, pecans, and walnuts).

1 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup soy nuts
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Prevent the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put all the nuts and seeds in a large bowl.

Put the tamari, oil, sugar, and spices in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the nuts and stir to combine until the nuts are thoroughly coated.

Arrange the nuts evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake 20 minutes total. I tossed them three different times while cooking to prevent them burning. Immediately remove after 20 minutes and put in a bowl to cool--do not leave on the baking sheet or they'll continue cooking and burn. Store in an airtight container up to 4 weeks.