This new food trend can be a meal game changer — and teach a few lessons about experimenting in the kitchen.
Editor’s Note: This blog post is part of our team’s “Kitchen Tricks & Slips” series, where we offer suggestions on recipe modifications, helpful tips, and real-life challenges so you can avoid similar messes in your cooking experiments. As any recipe only offers guidance, not guaranteed results, we encourage you to play with these recipes, too, and find what works best for you. We’d love to hear what you cook up!
“Cook” is not a title I would ever claim for myself. I have no training whatsoever. Even though I’ve written about food, I would never call myself a food blogger. It all involves a lot more commitment in the kitchen, and to ingredients, and to education and training I’m not willing to undertake.
But I love to eat delicious, satisfying food, and I’d prefer to save money by eating at home more than I eat out. So how to reconcile these two desires?
Find simple, easy (and bonus: healthy) recipes that I can make in less than 30 minutes. Extra raves go out if I can clock in a recipe in 15 minutes.
This summer has been all about the new sweet-potato “toast” food trend. I’m seeing it everywhere on social media, and on blogs and healthy-living websites. So I decided to give it a try.
The premise is straightforward: Swap sweet-potato slices for toasted bread.
Some wellness bloggers like Lisa Bryan started by toasting slices in the oven, as she did for this recipe in MindBodyGreen in November 2015. Then last spring, blogger Kelsey Preciado posted on her Instagram a fast trick: She used her pop-up toaster for sweet-potato slices when she ran out of bread to make her morning avocado toast (which, if you haven’t been following the food trends, is mashed avocadoes on toast, with additional toppings like a fried egg, if you’d prefer).
I love the ease of Kelsey’s idea, so I gave it a try myself. I opted for the savory option, topping the toast with pea shoots, an over-easy egg, cayenne, and chives. With a few leftover slices, I also tried a sweet option, smearing almond butter on the toast and adding banana and cinnamon (this was my toddler’s favorite).
A few things I learned while cooking these meals:
- Buy a large sweet potato and slice it 1/4-inch thick. The larger the width of the potato, the easier it will be to top with ingredients — and to smoothly retrieve it from your pop-up toaster. Some of my slices were too small and I had to unplug the toaster to get them out. DO NOT put a fork or knife in the toaster with it plugged in! Heck, I’d even not do it with it unplugged. Grab a large baking sheet and dump the toaster out if you’re as paranoid as I am about inadvertent electrocution. Then pour the crumbs in the trash.
- Cook the slices twice — or three times a charm. Kelsey recommended cooking the sweet-potato slices twice, but I felt like mine were still too tough. Maybe my slices were too thick? Go for three (or four, even) if you prefer a softer sweet potato. It’s all about experimentation. Of course, they should be a bit firm still, depending on your ingredients.
- Pop-up toasters make this easy, but consider a toaster oven. If you’re prone to lose too-small slices of food in a pop-up toaster, perhaps a toaster oven, with its easy in-and-out tray, will better suit your sweet-potato-cooking needs.
Another unexpected lesson I learned from testing this trend: Taking the time to make my food look lovely for the camera translated to a more mindful experience. I thought about what spices would work well and look best, and how the flavors would combine. I slowed down to appreciate how my dish turned out, the way it smelled, how it tasted when I took a bite. Making the food look beautiful deepened my gratitude for fresh ingredients, the instruments I have available to cook them, and the quiet time I was able to reserve to enjoy the cooking process.
If every meal and cooking experience turned out this pleasant, I’d be open to do it more often. But this is a great way to start.
For more recipe ideas for sweet-potato toast, check out this roundup here.
Have a favorite way to enjoy sweet-potato toast? Share it with us in the comments section below, or on Instagram at @ExperienceLifeMag and @clewisopdahl. You can also tag us on Twitter at @ExperienceLife.
Photo by Courtney Lewis Opdahl