I love the challenge that a lean pantry presents and will often postpone shopping to see just how far I can go with what I already have. But really, what most of us consider lean is hardly that, is it?
This past weekend, I spent some time creating a recipe for The Hunger Project's Below The Line Cookbook Challenge. The guidelines were simple. Each serving had to come well under $1.50 (equivalent to the global poverty line). I don't mind telling you that as a single mum to two young kids, I have to be careful how I spend my money. I am an old, experienced hand at stretching the budget to make meals that really count, or so I thought until I took on this challenge. Coming up with a recipe that was faithful to my basic philosophy on eating and cost so little, seemed harder than I had ever imagined. It was an incredibly humbling experience and by the end of it, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for our good fortune. Suddenly, my bare bones pantry looked anything but. Let's see.... miso, some baby spinach, bread, one sweet potato, assorted oils and condiments...if only everyone could be so lucky.
I like uncomplicated things. I rarely ever reach for very fancy ingredients or products that cost a premium. This recipe is very typical of me and how we eat - big flavours, bright, bold colours and starkly simple. I prefer to enjoy this salty, sweet, nutty salad as is but it makes a substantial sandwich or wrap - just perfect for school.
Asian Sweet Potato Salad Sandwich
1 large sweet potato, cooked and cubed or smashed
3 handfuls, baby spinach
2 Tbsp. miso paste
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar or lime juice
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seed oil (critical)
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 Tbsp. white or black sesame seeds, and/or chopped peanuts for garnish
1 generous pinch crushed peppers (optional)
Bread or wraps for stuffing
Combine the miso, vinegar, oil, garlic and peppers in a shallow bowl and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Just before serving, place the potatoes and spinach in a wide bowl, Pour in the dressing and give it a quick toss. Garnish with sesame seeds/peanuts and serve as a salad or stuff it into bread of choice.