Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos add fiber, nutrients, and unique flavor to this classic appetizer!


I’m sorry/not sorry about how many sweet potato recipes I have here on the blog. I’ve got Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Galette, Sweet Potato Kale Curry, and even Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins. And you can add one more to the list: these delicious Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos.

What can I say? I’m crazy about tubers. They’re chock-full of potassium, fiber, and vitamin A–and it doesn’t hurt that they’re virtually fool-proof for roasting, mashing, and sautéing. They’re starchy but not too starchy, with an earthy, sweet taste that goes with everything from Mexican to Indian cuisine. What’s not to like?

I’ve (obviously) used these veggies in lots of recipes already, but have been wanting to sub sweet potato medallions for chips in nachos for literally years. Back when I worked at the American Heart Association’s children’s museum and did their social media, I’d post AHA recipes to the museum’s Facebook page every few days. One that always caught my eye was their heart-healthy sweet potato nachos. I have nothing against regular tortilla chips in nachos, but this seemed like an interesting twist.

Since then, I’ve seen nachos done with thin, super crispy sweet potato chips, but I far prefer tender over crispy. This version of loaded sweet potato nachos doesn’t cut the veggies too thin, allowing them to retain their starchy tenderness (but still hold up to lots of toppings). Twenty minutes’ baking time is all it takes to get them just right.

Once your sweet potato coins have softened in the oven, it’s time to top them with all your favorite nacho fixin’s! I used cheddar, salsa, avocado, and sour cream, but you could try jalapeños, shredded chicken, or fresh tomatoes.

Final verdict: Major noms! I’d never give up regular nachos entirely, but this more nutritious variation is going on my regular menu!

Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

Full of fiber from sweet potatoes and beans, these nachos are a healthy spin on a classic.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 4 medium, narrow sweet potatoes
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
  • 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 c. salsa
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1/2 c. sour cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with olive oil cooking spray. Peel sweet potatoes and slice into 1/4-inch-thick medallions. Spread in a single layer across both baking sheets. Spray tops of potatoes with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. Bake 20 minutes or until tender.
  • Transfer all sweet potato slices to a single baking sheet. Distribute kidney beans and black beans evenly over them, then sprinkle with the cheddar.
  • Broil 5 inches from heat about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • Top with salsa, avocado, and sour cream.

Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Frittata

For fans of smoked salmon, this Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Frittata is a delightful brunch or lunch!


I remember the first time I heard of smoked salmon. I was in junior high, and a bagel place had just opened up at the intersection nearest my house. That summer between seventh and eighth grade, my mom and I would walk over to Bagel Nosh and grab bagel sandwiches, then come home and watch movies to stay out of the punishing Arizona heat. Good memories.

What always seemed weird to me, though, was this bagel topping called “lox.” I had never encountered the concept of cured fish, and it definitely seemed bizarre that anyone would want to eat it on a bagel…with cream cheese…and something called capers? No, thanks. I stuck solidly to my tuna salad or turkey and cheese.

As I’ve become more open-minded about food through the years, however, I’ve come around to smoked salmon as one of my favorite proteins. I now love its smoky flavor and tender texture in dips (like this Creamy Smoked Salmon Dip), on sandwiches, or just with crackers and cheese. So a smoked salmon and cream cheese frittata? A big YES from me!

This frittata is a modification of a recipe in a cookbook I’ve especially been enjoying lately: Ellie Krieger’s Whole in One: Complete, Healthy Meals, which features meals you can make in a single pot, skillet, or sheet pan. (This also gets a big YES from me, for obvious reasons.)


This cookbook has so far been a total winner, and I’m sure you could cook anything in it exactly as written for a fabulous finished product. But to make this particular frittata, I took some substantial liberties! Like most egg dishes, this is one you can play with to tailor to your tastes–but the basic ingredients of smoked salmon, cream cheese, fresh dill, and chives are the primary non-negotiables. (Oh, and eggs, I guess.)

I made this for a quick lunch on a Lenten Friday and it was just perfect–light, herby, and fluffy. At least thought so. My preteen, non-smoked salmon-loving son was less convinced. So note to junior highers everywhere (my former self included): Get on the smoked salmon train ASAP. You won’t be sorry.

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5 from 1 vote

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Frittata

Smoky, creamy, and herb-y, this frittata is an ideal meatless brunch or lunch.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 7 large eggs
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • scant 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. green onions or scallions, sliced
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh dill (or 2 tsp. dried)
  • 2 oz. cream cheese (I used light, which tends to be easier to spread)

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large oven-proof skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. Add green onions and cook about 1 minute. Add smoked salmon and dill and stir to distribute evenly across the skillet. Pour whisked egg mixture on top and cook (without stirring) about 8 minutes over medium-low heat. The eggs should be set around the edges but a bit jiggly in the center.
  • Preheat broiler. Dollop the cream cheese by teaspoonfuls on the surface of the frittata, then broil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until the surface turns golden brown. Let sit a few minutes, then dig in!

Notes

Inspired by a recipe in Ellie Krieger's Whole in One.

Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprout Hash

Is it a breakfast? A lunch? Or a dinner? This Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprout Hash is perfect for any meal.


Foodie trivia: Is it Brussel sprouts or Brussels sprouts? It’s okay, take your time, I’ll wait.

Got your answer? Did you say Brussels like the smarty pants you are? Well, you’re correct. Although three-fourths of English speakers get it wrong, this veggie is, in fact, named after the city of Brussels. The compact little green balls were cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century. And here’s a really deep dive fun fact: In Belgium, they’re not called Brussels sprouts at all. (Because in Belgium they don’t speak-a the English.) Instead, the Dutch word for these veggies is spruitjes.

I didn’t grow up eating Brussels sprouts, so they’ve been kind of a fun discovery for me as an adult. Although I know many people seem to think they’re the stuff of hideous vegetable nightmares, I find them delicious, especially roasted or pan-sautéed…and particularly in this Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprout Hash. When the sprouts’ exterior leaves sear to crispy brownness, it turns them into irresistible bites of veggie candy, if you ask me. Add to that the soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside texture of the sweet potatoes, onions, and sausage slices and you’ve got a tasty no-brainer of a meal any time of day.

I’ve made this hash twice now and both times it’s been the easy, satisfying one-dish dinner I’ve needed on a weeknight. With just six ingredients and minimal prep, it doesn’t get much simpler than chopping a few veggies and meat, sautéing, and topping the whole thing with fried eggs. (DON’T skip the fried eggs. They bring an extra richness that makes the hash feel downright indulgent.)

The other bonuses of this tasty, all-purpose meal? It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo-friendly, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Still, for me, the biggest draws of this hash are its delicious taste and easy-peasy prep. Who couldn’t use more of that in their life?

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5 from 1 vote

Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprout Hash

A hearty meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with plenty of flavor from simple ingredients!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (or more as needed)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced 1/2-inch thick
  • 3 c. Brussels sprouts, halved and/or quartered
  • 1 12-oz. package smoked sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 large eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In your largest nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and sweet potatoes and sauté about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to soften.
  • Make room in the skillet and add the halved Brussels sprouts and sausage slices. (You can add more olive oil, if needed.) Sauté another 3 to 5 minutes or until the sprouts and sausage slices begin to brown.
  • With a large spoon, press four divots into the sausage-veggie mixture. Crack an egg into each divot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover the skillet and cook until eggs have just set, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Notes

A Love Letter to Food original recipe.

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Even if you’re not gluten-free, you’ll love the rich, chocolatey flavor of this Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Torte. Serve with fresh whipped cream! 

Ready for Christmas yet? I’ll admit, even though it’s only three days away, I’m not exactly prepped for the big day. I still have a couple of gifts to buy and wrap and I’m still not 100% sure of my Christmas dinner menu. What can I say, it’s been a crazy year, right? (If there’s one upside to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s the fact that we can all point to it as an excuse for just about anything…including not being ready for Christmas. At least that’s the story I’m sticking to.)

Even in the midst of this surreal year, I’m fortunate that my family’s Christmas won’t look too much different from our norm. We’ll celebrate Mass the afternoon of Christmas Eve, where I’ll be singing soprano in the choir (in the parking lot because #socialdistancing). Then we’ll go out to dinner at our favorite seafood restaurant, come home, and snuggle by a fire watching A Muppet Christmas Carol. Singing Muppets never get old.

However you’re celebrating the holidays this year, it’s entirely possible you’ll be eating with folks with food restrictions. (Or perhaps you have some yourself.) Among my own family and friends, I can count dozens of people who don’t eat one thing or another–and the most common no-no seems to be gluten. Fortunately, for those living the GF life, there are plenty of tasty ways to get around gluten, even when it comes to my favorite course of the holiday meal: dessert.

I made this gluten-free flourless chocolate hazelnut cake back at Thanksgiving for my GF sister-in-law–and, who am I kidding, for myself because it’s DELISH. It was definitely a hit among all the eaters gathered at my husband’s family’s holiday dinner. With 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, it’s super dense and rich, meaning a little bit goes a long way. I also love that it’s flavored with liqueur (chocolate liqueur or hazelnut, like Frangelico, does the job). Fresh whipped cream on the side is optional, but I’d say more or less necessary, as its fluffiness helps cut the cake’s rich texture.


Regardless of your food allergy or sensitivity status, this dessert is sure to please. Hazelnuts are, in my opinion, a totally underrated nut with plenty of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B-6, plus a little iron. (And, yeah, ok, quite a bit of fat…but at least it’s mostly the healthy monounsaturated kind!) Besides, they’re always an excellent flavor match with chocolate. Check out their full nutrition facts here.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas filled with delicious food! Tell me if you make this Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake as a last-minute dessert!

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

This gluten-free dessert is nutty, chocolatey, and super rich! Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c. butter, cut into chunks
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. hazelnut or chocolate liqueur
  • 1 c. hazelnuts, ground in the food processor
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Optional: Fresh whipped cream, for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch-diameter springform pan with cooking spray, then line bottom with a parchment paper round. Wrap the outside of pan tightly with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil.
  • Combine chocolate and butter in a medium metal bowl or double boiler. Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer and place the bowl on top. Whisk until the mixture is melted. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, chocolate or hazelnut liqueur. Whisk in the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in ground hazelnuts and salt.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Fill a roasting pan halfway with boiling water and carefully place the pan in the center (so that water reaches about halfway up the sides of the springform pan). Tent the top of the springform pan loosely with foil and bake about 90 minutes. The top will still look shiny but should be dry to the touch.
  • Remove the springform pan from the roasting pan and cool. Refrigerate about 3 hours before serving, then enjoy with fresh whipped cream!

Notes

Adapted from Epicurious.

Popped Sorghum Protein Balls

Crunchy and sweet, these healthy Popped Sorghum Protein Balls make a super-easy vegan, gluten-free snack!


Whaddaya know about sorghum? You may have heard of this grain as the base for syrups or food flavorings, or maybe you have a vague association of it with endless Midwestern fields of grains–but have you ever tried it all by itself? If not, you’re in for a treat, both eating it all by its lonesome and using it in these tasty, nutty Popped Sorghum Protein Balls.

What is sorghum?

Like most Americans, I haven’t exactly thought of popped sorghum as a go-to snack throughout my 38 years of life. In fact, I had never given the stuff a second thought until I attended a nutrition conference last year and was introduced to it as not just a ho-hum grain that flavored cereals (maybe? or something?), but a snack in its own right.

Sorghum is an African ancient grain that has found a home on American soil. It’s not only gluten-free, vegan, high in fiber, and rich in antioxidants, its growing practices are pretty darn good for the environment, too. According to the presenter at my most recent nutrition conference, 90% of American sorghum farmers do not irrigate, saving valuable water. Plus, three-quarters of them use conservation tillage practices, which conserves soil by reducing erosion. A sorghum habitat even protects and increases wildlife! I don’t claim to be a soil expert (I’ll leave that to my uncle Scott in Quincy, Illinois) but it’s nice to know the majority of sorghum grown in the U.S. has a top-notch environmental profile.

Okay, but what is popped sorghum?

All well and good, I hear you say, but I’m here for the food.

Me too!

I recently had the chance to try out Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum, which takes sorghum grains and pops them to create itty-bitty bites of salty deliciousness that are, essentially, like shrink-rayed popcorn. 

Look how cute! So tiny!

So far, I’ve tried the Avocado Oil and Sea Salt, Coconut Oil and Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, Rosemary Garlic, and Organic Ghee Butter flavors. In terms of taste, I’d say popped sorghum is like a slightly nuttier popcorn, with a somewhat softer texture. Bonus: There’s no giant, tooth-cracking kernel in the middle just waiting to throw you under the bus for dental work.

My 13-year-old son is our family’s biggest popped sorghum fan. After school, he sits on the couch with a large bowl. My only complaint is, being a teenage boy, he pretty much always leaves the bowl (and the crumbs) for me to clean up.

I digress.

With savory flavor, scoopable size, and crunchy (but not too crunchy) texture, popped sorghum makes for great snacking. But, as a recipe developer, my mind is always churning out thoughts of how else I can use a food. (You know, ’cause eating something all by itself just isn’t exciting enough.)

I’m a fan of energy bites, which always seem tastier with a hint of crunch. So I figured the Avocado Oil and Sea Salt Popped Sorghum from Nature Nate’s could be just the thing to add to a quick batch of peanut buttery protein balls. Sure enough, the little crunchies brought a unique, salty twist (and a boost of fiber and nutrients) to these snacks.

With just six ingredients and one bowl, these bites came out sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy. They also formed up nice and easily into portable, poppable balls. (I’m now trying to convince my 13-year-old to eat them instead of just popped sorghum to save on crumbs.) If your afternoon snacks have gotten a little boring lately, give them a try!

Other ways to use popped sorghum

Got some extra popped sorghum left after you make protein balls? Here are some creative ways to eat this unique grain:

  • Sprinkle some in a trail mix
  • Use it as a salty topping on ice cream
  • Scatter some throughout a chocolate bark
  • Add crunch (and extra fiber) to oatmeal

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Popped Sorghum Protein Balls

Crunchy and sweet, these protein balls come together in just minutes for a healthy, unique snack.
Prep Time10 mins
Servings: 12 balls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. Nature Nate's Avocado Oil and Sea Salt popped sorghum
  • 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. flax seed
  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined.
  • Using your hands, form into golf ball-sized balls.
  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week.

Notes

A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe.

Disclosure: This post sponsored by Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum. All opinions my own.