Sweet potato pasta with vegan walnut ‘chorizo’

Lauren Lovatt is a vegan chef and a pioneer in the mood food movement, who specializes in plant-based meals to nourish both body and soul. This sweet potato dish is a great mid-week meal from her cookbook Mind Food.

Lauren says: “You can make the ‘chorizo’ and serve it with any pasta at all – but the sweet potato version is a great way to enjoy the benefits of bold and bright sweet potatoes in your day. The walnut ‘chorizo’ is packed full of flavor and gives great texture to this ‘smoky’ pasta dish, but it can also be used in tacos, salads and as a topping to baked potatoes.”

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, washed, dried and spiralised or peeled into long thin ribbons
1 Tbsp plant-based butter

For the walnut chorizo

1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
200g walnuts, soaked for at least 1 hour and rinsed
100g carrots (about 1 medium), peeled and chopped
100g sun-dried tomatoes, in oil (or soaked if dried)
50g black olives, pitted
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp brown miso
2 Tbsp rosemary oil
2 Tbsp smoked paprika

For the crispy capers

3 Tbsp capers, rinsed and patted dry
3 Tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (180°C/350°F/Gas 4). Line a small baking tray with baking paper.
  2. For the walnut ‘chorizo’: Toast the cumin and fennel seeds in a small frying pan over a low heat for 1 minute until they are lightly toasted, to enhance their flavour.
  3. Place the soaked walnuts in a food processor or blender with the rest of the ingredients and the toasted spices and process into a crumb-like consistency, so there are no large pieces remaining.
  4. Spread the walnut mixture onto the lined tray, about 1cm (1/2in) thick and fairly tightly packed – if the mixture is too spread out it will dry out too quickly. Bake for 30 minutes until it looks gooey and darker in colour.
  5. For the crispy capers: Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium–high heat until hot. Add the capers and cook for 3–4 minutes until crispy. Place on a piece of kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  6. For the sweet potato pasta: Fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to the boil with a pinch of salt. Add the sweet potato ribbons and cook for 1 minute until slightly soft, then drain the water.
  7. Heat butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the crushed garlic for 20 seconds, followed by the sweet potato pasta. Cook until coated in butter and hot but not too soft.
  8. Turn the heat off the pasta and add a few tablespoons of the walnut ‘chorizo’. Twirl the sweet potato pasta onto your plate and sprinkle with crispy capers. Enjoy with some plant-based parmesan, if desired, and extra ‘chorizo’.

Edited extract from Mind Food by Lauren Lovatt, published by Ivy Press. Photography by Sara Kiyo Popowa. RRP $45

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