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Smashed Sweet Potato, Spinach and Avocado Tostadas

Normally I’d have some black beans heaped on, since they are part of my favorite Tex-Mex trinity which also includes spinach and sweet potatoes. But out of black beans I was, and please don’t tell them I said this, but I forgot about them after the first bite. Because you see, there was avocado. Plus a spoonful or two of chipotle cream on top of that, so the spicy/creamy collided head-on with the smashed yet still-crispy sweet potatoes and the chile-spiked spinach, and the whole mess doused with lime.

Hot spicy bright acidic creamy sweet.

It’s also vegan, but could we just keep that quiet for now? The chipotle cream has not one spec of dairy, and is, in fact, a slightly altered version of the Basic Cashew Cream I posted not too long ago (made with half blanched almonds instead of all cashews, resulting in a slightly less sweet flavor). I think I’ve made it four times in the last couple of weeks. God I love this stuff.

You may have noticed a healthy-ish trend going on here in Cowgirl world, and it’s because I’m trying to see if some small changes will make a difference in how I’m feeling — mainly when it comes to inflammation — and it has.

For about the last year or so, I’ve had trouble with my left hand, my thumb in particular, which has been painful and unable to grip anything — really bothersome when you think of all of the jars I open on a weekly basis.

Not too long ago I read about a chef who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and after he changed his diet to one that’s non-inflammatory, his symptoms all but disappeared.

So I decided to cut back on things that I knew were inflammatory. I’ve been  drinking my coffee forever with milk and a good amount of half and half. A big hot brown milkshake, basically. So I swapped out almond milk for most of the cow and still add a splash of half and half. I’ve cut back on sugar. Backed off on my daily baguette consumption, even.

About a month into this experiment, I noticed my thumb was no longer in pain and I could grip things again. I was opening jars without the little red bumpy rubber dealie that I’ve not opened a jar without in years.

I don’t do diets or hard-core regimes of any sort, but I can always do delicious, so I’m going to keep aiming for that, and if I can trim down or cut out some of what I know is inflammatory, I’m going to try. Working on what’s tasty, layering up flavors that combine and complement with textures that contrast, with an eye on simple.

And trying to keep it all in perspective and shoot for some balance. I’m not banning certain foods, but I’m eating less of them or with less frequency. Did I make chocolate chip cookies last week when I was stressed out and eat far too much of the dough?

Well of course I did.

Smashed Sweet Potato, Spinach and Avocado Tostadas with Chipotle Cream

Makes 4 to 6

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  1. Peel the sweet potato and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Toss these with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper, and spread them out on your largest baking sheet. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until browned on the edges, turning them once.
  1. While your sweet potatoes are roasting, whiz the Basic Cashew Cream in your blender with the chipotle.
  1. Slice and remove the flesh from your avocado. Slice into 1-inch pieces and mash slightly, so you still have chunky pieces.
  1. Put the corn tortillas directly on a rack in the oven for 5 minutes or until crisp.
  1. Because it takes the least amount of time, make your spinach last. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and spices, along with salt and pepper to taste. Cook just until the spinach begins to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  1. Assemble your tostadas. On your crisp tortillas, put 1 layer of roasted sweet potatoes, gently mashing them with your fork so they’ll stick. Top this with some spinach, avocado, and a spoonful of Chipotle Cream. Pass the limes. Eat.