Necessity is the mother of invention, and when you’re missing all of your kitchen equipment, you get creative. We’ve been living out of a single suitcase for some months now, and although I have found a couple of major necessities in the mountain of unpacked moving boxes, I haven’t been able to locate my silicon loaf pan. As someone who makes the Life Changing Loaf of Bread on the reg, it’s been a challenge living without, but a stellar opportunity to come up with bread alternatives that don’t involve a lot of ingredients or special equipment. As I was chopping up some sweet potato for a soup a couple of weeks ago, it dawned on me: what if I cut the sweet potato the other way and turned it into a slice of bread?! It was just crazy enough to work. And it did.
Ever since then, I’ve been roasting sweet potato slices once a week, keeping them in my fridge and having a sandwich-like-thing when the mood strikes. It’s delicious! Not to mention wildly satisfying and so easy to make. I’ve experimented with different herbs and spices on the sweet potatoes, using special salts, and even drizzling with flavoured oils once they’re out of the oven. So far, I’m digging smoked salt and garlic powder, but the cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom combo was a close second at breakfast, smeared with chunky hazelnut butter.
The spread I’ve come up with as a pairing to this sandwich sitch, is a horseradish and beetroot “schmear”. Partly because I like saying the word schmear, but mostly because it’s incredible in combination with the sweet potatoes. It’s earthy, spicy, and complex – a great counterpoint to the sweetness of the spuds. I also like the texture difference: the sweet potatoes are so smooth and creamy, while the beet schmear is chunky and toothsome. If you’ve never had fresh horseradish before, be prepared to be blown away! This stuff is so, so special and delicious, I have no idea why it’s such an under-utilized root veggie.
A part of the Brassicaceae family, horseradish shares ties with mustard, broccoli, cabbage, and wasabi. In fact, most commercially-available wasabi is made of horseradish (along with mustard, starch, and green food dye) since wasabi is challenging to grow and therefore much more expensive. But that familiar and addictive rush of sinus-clearing pleasure-pain? That’s the action of isothiocyanate, the compound found in wasabi, horseradish, and strong mustard that gives off heat when crushed, grated, or chewed. This stuff tends to mellow out once it hits the air, which is why horseradish snobs (they exist!) insist on grating it fresh. In the case of my schmear here, it will still taste delish a day or two after you’ve made it, but you may want to grate a little fresh over the top for a boost. It’s the best way to clear out those nasal cavities this side of a neti pot!
Horseradish has been used as powerful winter medicine for hundreds of years. Widely recognized for its expectorant capabilities, it is incredibly effective at removing mucus, and aiding with bronchial and lung disorders. Horseradish is a good source of vitamin C and zinc, two key players in immune system support, so consuming it in the colder months will help ward off the seasonal bugs flying around. For sore throats and coughs, combine one tablespoon of freshly grated horseradish with one teaspoon of raw honey, and one teaspoon of ground clove to some warm water. Sip the brew slowly, or use it as a gargle.
This is more of a concept than a recipe, and a chance to try out sweet potatoes in a new way. Cut them as thick or as thin as you like. Mine are around 1cm, but that is just my personal preference. Remember that the slices will definitely shrink a bit during cooking, so slice them a tad thicker than you would want the finished roasted slice to be. You can even make shapes with a cookie cutter – great for kids lunches! Let your imagine run with this one, and keep me posted on which spreads and seasonings you’re vibing on.
Sweet Potato Sandwiches
Makes 6-8 sandwiches
2-3 fat, stubby sweet potatoes (organic if possible)
coconut oil for rubbing (optional)
salt and pepper + other spices or herbs
1 batch Horseradish Beet Schmear (recipe below)
sliced fresh veggies: bell peppers, cucumber, avocado, sprouts, grated carrot etc.
1. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C.
2. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes well, then slice lengthwise into 1 cm-thick slabs (approximately .4 inches). Place on a baking sheet and rub with coconut oil if using, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, plus any other spices or herbs you’d like.
3. Place in the oven and bake until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and use immediately or store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
4. To assemble, spread one slice of sweet potato with the Horseradish Beet Schmear. Top with your favourite sliced veggies, sprouts, salt and pepper and another slice of sweet potato. You can also add mustard, vegan mayo, or any other condiment that you like. Enjoy!
Horseradish Beet Schmear
Makes 2 cups / 500ml
1 lb. / 500g beets (about 4-5 small)
coconut oil for rubbing
1 small clove garlic
3 Tbsp. freshly grated horseradish, or more to taste
3 Tbsp. tahini
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
½ tsp. fine sea salt, to taste
¼ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C. Rub beets with a little coconut oil, set on a baking try, and place in the oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes until you can easily pierce the beets with a sharp knife tip.
2. Remove baking tray and let cool until you can handle them. Slide off the skins, or use a vegetable peeler. Roughly chop the beets and set aside.
3. In a food processor, pulse garlic until minced. Add horseradish, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, then blend on high to combine. Add the chopped beets and pulse to chop. Blend as much or as little as you like – I like my spread a bit chunky. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Some may like more horseradish – go for it! Remember that the bite will mellow out when it’s mixed with everything in the sandwich.
4. Use immediately, and store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to five days.
Although the past few months of life limbo have been pretty frustrating, there are so many exciting things on the horizon that I cannot wait to share with you! First, my family and I are getting closer and closer to our new move-in date (you can watch house renovation updates on my Instagram Stories). Second, I’m heading to Palm Springs for an EPIC bloggers’ retreat organized by my friend Sasha Swerdloff at the end of this month. And I’m finishing up details on a sweet collaboration with one of my favourite juice bars in Toronto, that we will launch with a free public event! Stay tuned for more details on all the things.
Love you guys. Now go have a sandwich,