Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fragrant Black Rice

Roasted sweet potatoes with ras el hanout, cumin and chili. Fragrant black rice with orange, dates + sesame dressing. Vegan + Gluten free. Serves 4.Roasted sweet potatoes with ras el hanout, cumin and chili. Fragrant black rice with orange, dates + sesame dressing. Vegan + Gluten free. Serves 4.Roasted sweet potatoes with ras el hanout, cumin and chili. Fragrant black rice with orange, dates + sesame dressing. Vegan + Gluten free. Serves 4.Roasted sweet potatoes with ras el hanout, cumin and chili. Fragrant black rice with orange, dates + sesame dressing. Vegan + Gluten free. Serves 4.

To say that I am a little hard on myself would be the understatement of the year, and I know that I am not alone in that either. I get it from my parents, and my sister is the same way. I wouldn’t go as far to say that we are a family of perfectionist,  but we’re not far from it either. We don’t really give ourselves much of a break. After a day of work, coming home, doing the dishes, trying to squeeze in a quick run, deciding not to go for a run and having a snack instead, making dinner, instagram-ing our dinner, prepping lunch, doing the dishes again, passing the vacuum cleaner, doing laundry, folding laundry and making something so totally un-necessary like kale chips, you know, for snacks, Matt often turns to me and says, ‘Ya about done yet?’ Right. Then I plop down on the couch and have passed out within 10 minutes. Not really giving my best self to him, but man did I ever get shit done. Checking things off the to-do list and keeping the house clean and tidy in case kinfolk magazine happens to drop in. Yes, I know, it’s not really working out for me.

The other day we went for a ski tour, and all the do the dishes – make the bed – leave no crumb behind – control EVERYTHING came crashing down on me. The climb got hard, I was far behind and it was windy and cold and icy and I was slipping everywhere and I just COULDN’T DO IT! I couldn’t get a grip, (actually literally and metaphorically), and I was frustrated and negative. I stayed in that place for far too long and it took me a moment, a couple deep breathes and cursing Matt a few too many times in my head to get out of the ‘you can’t do this‘ to the ‘hey, at least your out here.’

I said in my last post that I am not a big believer in new years resolutions, but as life would have it I think that one has presented itself to me. I am all about having integrity with your work and striving for improvement and for setting + achieving goals, but sometimes you just have to chill the hell out. So what, you’re not perfect? Ya, welcome to the club, there’s like 7 billion of us. Matt has made me promise him a few more days spent on ‘his terms.’ Wake up, grab a quick breakfast, toast and jam or just bread if that’s all we’ve got and we’re running late. Go for a ski of sorts. Come home, make lunch/dinner, pasta right out the pot most likely and then nothing. Do – Nothing. And while the idea of letting a pasta pot dry on the coffee table while I ‘do nothing’ makes me a little un-easy already, I think that’s exactly why it needs to happen. Maybe not everyday, but I know every now and then I just need to let it all go. He deserves more from me. And I owe it to myself.  To not let things build up and get lost in the I‘m busy checking things off the to-do list that I forget to just be and end up reaching a breaking point halfway up a mountain. So, (gulp), here is a promise. A promise to leave a few more crumbs on the floor, and every now and then, to just letting things be.

Roasted sweet potatoes with ras el hanout, cumin and chili. Fragrant black rice with orange, dates + sesame dressing. Vegan + Gluten free. Serves 4.Roasted sweet potatoes with ras el hanout, cumin and chili. Fragrant black rice with orange, dates + sesame dressing. Vegan + Gluten free. Serves 4.Roasted sweet potatoes with ras el hanout, cumin and chili. Fragrant black rice with orange, dates + sesame dressing. Vegan + Gluten free. Serves 4.Roasted sweet potatoes with ras el hanout, cumin and chili. Fragrant black rice with orange, dates + sesame dressing. Vegan + Gluten free. Serves 4.

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fragrant Black Rice, Orange + Dates

This is, in every sense, a very typical meal around here. Roasted roots, grains + greens with some spice, a few nuts and seeds and a good dressing. Plus the fragrant rice makes your house smell like mulled wine – happy days.

The recipe uses one whole orange, the zest goes in with the rice, then the juice and pulp get blended into the dressing. The dressing, (oops!) was a total after thought so it’s not pictured but definitely brings the dish together. Leftovers keep in the fridge for a day or two.

Vegan + Gluten Free. Serves 4.

Ingredients

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 small sweet potatoes or 2 large, cut into chunks (if organic keep skin on!)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout (if on hand or make your own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, or more or less – depending how spicy you like it
  • Good dose sea salt + black pepper

Fragrant Black Rice

  • 1 cup black rice, preferably soaked overnight
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, about the size of your thumb, peeled
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A few large pieces of organic orange zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups water
  • Handful each flat leaf parsley + cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 3-4 dates, pitted and chopped

Dressing + Salad

  • Juice  + pulp of one orange
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cold pressed organic sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Water to thin, as needed
  • A few cups winter mesclun or mixed greens

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F / 200 C
  2. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and cover with spices, salt + pepper, toss to evenly coat and combine. Place in the oven and roast, flipping once, for about 35-40 minutes or until tender and soft.
  3. Meanwhile, place rice, ginger, cinnamon, orange zest, water + salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until all the water is absorbed and rice is tender. About 25 minutes if soaked, longer if not, about 40 minutes.
  4. Make the dressing, juice the orange and then tear at the pulp to remove and leave skin and membrane behind. Place orange juice + pulp, olive oil, sesame oil and a pinch of sea salt in a small blender and combine. Taste, season and thin with water if desired.
  5. Once the rice is cooked, toss with herbs, almonds, sesame seeds + dates
  6. Toss greens lightly with half the dressing, serve with rice, roasted potatoes and extra dressing on the side. Garnish with a little extra zest and any reserved nuts or seeds.

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  • I totally know what you mean when you say you get lost in checking things off your to do list. Sometimes I struggle with anxiety, but I am trying to be better about making myself take deep breaths so I can enjoy the moment instead of wallowing in my pit of negativity. It’s hard work- to check things off AND stay present and positive! These sweet potatoes sound delicious, and I love all things tahini! I could just stick a spoon in and eat it all day long. Hope you are having a restful and wonderful weekend!

    • It is really hard work! I think we put so much pressure on ourselves for no reason, but when you’re in it it’s hard to see out! So let’s grab a big spoonful of tahini and relax 🙂 Hope you have a good week, Genevieve! Thanks for the kind words x

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well

    WOW did I just feel like I was reading my own story (minus the awesome skiing, replaced with city walks for now). I feel like we would get along, you and I, but in order to do so someone would have to pry us away from trying to perfect and achieve everything around us. Cheers to a few more crumbs on the floor – I’ve been trying to do the same, for Scott’s sake more than my own. Good for you for trying to do so too! It’s SO HARD. But hopefully you’re 4 month adventure this summer will help – it always seems to once you get out of your normal element! Giving you a fist pump and hoping your weekend with your dude is leaving you feeling full <3

    • Fist pump right back at ya, girl! I do it for Matt’s sake too, but in the end I know it’s for my own good. Boys are sneaky like that. Hope you have a good week with a little (a lot) of sunshine x

  • Wow! This fragrant rice looks absolutely delicious! Love everything about this dish! And your evenings sound just like mine! Maybe try putting cuddling on the to-do-list? 😉

    • Love that, Grace! Pretty sure it should be top priority! Thanking you x

  • Jessica Kelley

    This dish looks fabulous! I stumbled upon your blog today and fell in love! It is definitely be one I follow regularly.I’m pretty new to blogging and your recipes and photographs are so inspiring! Keep up the great work!
    – Jess @ NourishedbyNutrition.com

    • Thank you ever so much, Jess! So happy to have you here and your little comment has made my day! Keep up the great work to you too xx

  • ’Fragrant rice makes your house smell like mulled wine…’ oh dear, I must invite myself to your house! I am a sucker for beautiful, wholesome bowls like this, your creation is so beautiful! Wishing you a relaxing and stress-free week, my friend!

    • It would be a pleasure to have you here! Maybe one day! Thank you, Rika xx

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  • ghainsom kom

    Had this for lunch today. Yummy and very filling. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Alexandra Sewell

    Would this be possible to make this with normal white rice? And, if so, what type of rice?

    – I have NO IDEA where would sell black rice near me!

    • Hi Alexandra! You could make this dish with any rice or grain really. The fragrance of black rice really works with the flavors going on here, but it’s not necessary. Cooking times will vary though so just follow package instructions. If you keen to try black rice it’s usually availabe at most health food stores or even online, often called forbidden rice 🙂 x

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  • Jana

    This dish was delicious, thank you! The rice, the dressing. I added a fried egg, it was so tasty! Great recipe. 🙂

    • Oh great! I’m so happy to hear that, Janna! Thank you for saying hi 🙂