This roasted sweet potato with parsley & walnut pesto dish is the first recipe I’m making out of Melissa Delport’s new cookbook Heal. I adore roasted sweet potato wedges and love how they are almost effortless to make. The parsley and walnut pesto which blends into a delicious and vibrantly green sauce takes them to the next level. The recipe is vegan.
Heal is Melissa’s second cookbook (her first being the bestselling ‘Whole’) and is packed from cover to cover with nutritious plant-based recipes for a full spectrum of eating occasions. Melissa’s philosophy starts with a balanced approach to food when on the path to health and wellness. This is in no way a diet book but rather a roadmap encouraging readers to listen to their bodies when making decisions about what to eat. Melissa draws inspiration from Ayurvedic practices, and the spiritual mind-body connection can be felt throughout the book. This along with nutritiously dense and high fibrous recipes makes you feel a little glowy even while reading it.
How people cook and eat is a language, and I love to learn new ones along with approaches to ingredients and flavour combinations. Melissa is not shy to add a large number of ingredients to a recipe adding so much flavour and texture. They are all very approachable and apart from certain seasonal ingredients and the odd superfood powder or elixir, are readily available. A trip to your local health shop will be required here and there but if you are not cooking with nutritional yeast by now you really should be. The recipes are vegetarian and Melissa gives options to make most of them vegan too.
I found the recipes in Heal very comforting and I can’t wait to make her Island salad in summer when stone fruit comes back. Her green shakshuka is firmly on the list for a brunch soon along with her spanakopita with dill and feta. There is a chapter with recipe ideas for children and one for snacking and indulgent desserts. Heal is available from all good bookshops and online.
*Cooks notes – I adapted Melissa’s recipe for pesto because I wasn’t sure how much parsley was in her bunch so I probably made a smaller quantity, but it was a good amount for this recipe (with a little leftover for sandwiches). My body doesn’t like raw garlic in sauces, so I used Zahav’s method for hummus where I soak the crushed garlic in the lemon juice for a bit to infuse then strain out the bits. I left off the lemon zest here out of personal preference and not wanting any more bitterness. I also sprinkled chopped walnuts over at the end because I love a crunchy element but this is optional. A sprinkle of chilli flakes, (or powder) or paprika could also be nice here to offset the sweetness and add a dash of fire.
I served this to friends on Friday night and it was equally nice at room temperature as a kind of a salad.
Recipe – serves 4 ish as a side (6 if there are other sides) – adapted from Melissa DelportPrint
Roasted sweet potato with parsley & walnut pesto
A delicious vegan dish or roasted sweet potato wedges with parsley & walnut pesto.
1 kg sweet potato (I prefer the orange sweet potatoes)
A generous glug of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Extra walnuts, roughly chopped for garnish (optional)
Fresh parsley or coriander leaves to serve (optional)
Juice of one lemon – about 2 Tbsp
1 clove of garlic crushed
15gms fresh parsley leaves (only)
40gms raw walnuts
6 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper or foil. Alternatively, just roast directly onto the sheet.
Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes, and then allow them to dry. Cut them into roughly similar sized wedges and toss in a large bowl with a large glug of olive oil. Spread the wedges out over the baking sheet and season with salt & pepper. Bake for 1 hour or a little longer if they are very thick.
To make the parsley and walnut pesto, crush the garlic and combine with the lemon. Either do this separately or bash them both in a pestle and mortar. Allow this to stand to infuse for about 20 minutes. Alternatively, if you like raw garlic, simply add the crushed garlic and lemon juice to the pesto.
In a bowl of a small food processor or blender add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper as required.
Serve the roasted sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts and fresh parsley or coriander leaves (whole or chopped).
Keywords: sweet potato, roast, wedges, parssely, walnut, pesto, Melissa Delport, Heal, Cookbook
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