Sweet Potato/Yam

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Lentil Salad & Lemon Tahini Dressing

October 25, 2018
17 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
Author Notes

When testing a stuffed sweet potato dish for my cookbook, Power Plates, I decided to dress up my go-to combination of sweet potatoes, lentils, and greens a bit. I seasoned the lentils with onions, tomato, and Moroccan-inspired spices—a favorite flavor profile of mine—so that the dish would smell heavenly and taste bold. And I topped it all off with my favorite lemon tahini dressing, which is a recipe that I’ve kept in my repertoire for a decade or more. When making this dish, it’s important to cook the lentils just right; since all lentils cook differently, I like to taste them for doneness as they're cooking. The lentils should hold their shape well, but also be tender. —Gena Hamshaw

Watch This Recipe
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Lentil Salad & Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes 4
Ingredients
  • For the sweet potatoes:
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 cup (200 grams) dried brown or pardina lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste (or 1 teaspoon ground chili powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups firmly packed baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (optional)
  • 1/2 cup lemon tahini dressing (below)
  • Optional toppings: chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh cilantro, snipped fresh chives, or chopped scallions
  • For the lemon tahini dressing:
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. For the sweet potatoes:
  2. Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the sweet potatoes on the lined baking sheet and prick each several times with a fork. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until fork-tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the lentils according to their package instructions. Drain well.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the seeds start to pop. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
  5. Decrease the heat to low and stir in the lentils, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, harissa, and salt, then stir in the spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted, adding water by the 1⁄4 cup if needed to prevent sticking. Stir in the pomegranate molasses. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  6. Cut each sweet potato in half and use a fork to coarsely mash the flesh, still in the skin. Place two halves on each serving plate and top them with a generous scoop of the lentils. Serve right away, with a drizzle of the tahini dressing and the optional fresh herbs.
  1. For the lemon tahini dressing:
  2. Combine all the ingredients, plus 1/4 cup warm water, in a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk until evenly blended. If the dressing is thicker than you’d like, whisk in water by the tablespoonful to achieve the desired consistency. (Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the dressing will keep for 1 week.)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Raluca Tate
    Raluca Tate
  • Jessie Chen
    Jessie Chen
  • Nicole
    Nicole
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.

10 Reviews

Raluca T. February 23, 2021
I generally love F52 recipes, but this hurt my stomach really badly, which is strange, because I use harissa, tahini, and everything else quite a lot in my recipes. Made it again with a batch of new lentils, potatoes, etc., but the result was the same: painful indigestion. The taste overall was all right, but not the best take on middle eastern I have ever had.
 
Tinaindenver December 23, 2020
Great recipe and we had enough of the lentils for two meals. I forgot to add the pomegranate molasses and it was still great, but I would like to try it next time.
 
Jessie C. December 7, 2020
I accidentally used too much cinnamon but other than that it was quite good.
 
Diana52 May 2, 2020
I’ve made this twice and it’s absolutely delicious. The first time I didn’t have any greens so I added green beans instead. It was wonderful! The second time I used chickpeas instead of lentils and it was equally delicious! I always increase the garlic and spices, but that’s me. Definitely a keeper! Thanks!
 
Loren January 2, 2020
This recipe was amazing. I did the sweet potatoes in the instant pot and they turned out so moist and creamy. The whole family loved it. The combination of sweet potato, spiced lentils, and lemony tahini sauce was perfection.
 
Sylvia September 15, 2019
This has become one of my favorite recipes. I bake the sweet potatoes when I have time during the day or even the night before and reheat gently in the microwave. And I cook a large batch of lentils with the spices, onion and garlic and some tomato paste and freeze some for later. Just remember to remove ginger slices, cinnamon stick, etc from the lentils after you cook them. Lemon tahini is always made fresh.
 
bette February 20, 2019
This was a great meal..used red lentils - all directions said bring to boil then to barest of a simmer...lots of prep/work tho. this was not a 1-2-3 recipe. testing to see if can freeze the filling.
 
Nicole January 16, 2019
This was delicious. I added only one tablespoon of pomegranate molasses instead of two. Any more than that amount might take over the dish, which is delicious even without it.
 
Simon K. November 27, 2018
Such a great recipe team but you may want to check the link to "Power Plates" in the Author Notes
 
Taylor S. November 10, 2018
Delicious! I could eat these lentils by themselves every day. Tahini sauce is bomb but so is mixing in vegan cheese sauce (recipe from Veganomicon) :)