Sweet Potato Alfredo Sauce
Last night we tried out a new recipe from my Integrative Nutrition course, and I was so pleasantly surprised by it, I just have to share. Cooking for a family with all different sort of likes and dislikes can be a challenge, as can getting my kids to eat more vegetables. I love recipes like this that hide all of the good vegetable punch in a sauce! I am happy to report, no complaints from my veggie hater. And during cold and flu season we need as much immune support as we can get ... and the very best way to get it is through diet.
Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable, which are plentiful in the winter, and often make hearty recipes that keep us warm on these cold winter nights. So what is so great about them? Antioxidants found in food are natural anti-inflammatory agents and immune system boosters, and sweet potatoes are full of them! Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, B, and C. Vitamin A helps our body fight infections and is important for maintaining hormone balance, protecting against free radicals which cause cell damage and aging, and for promoting eye health. B vitamins help keep the bodies nervous system and blood cells healthy, while vitamin C is key for cellular repair and immune system functions. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of choline, which is very important in taming inflammation, but it is also beneficial for a good nights sleep, learning and memory. When you gain antioxidants from natural sources, like nutritious food, they work better in your body than when you take supplements because they are balanced with other nutrients.
Just a few more fun sweet potato facts, and then we'll get to the recipe! Sweet potatoes have a good amount of magnesium which helps in nerve functioning, reducing anxiety, regulating blood pressure and blood sugar, and energizing the metabolism. Many people are deficient in magnesium but never know it, as it does not show up on any blood test. Sweet potatoes are also a low glycemic index food, which is not only important to people living with diabetes, but to those considered on the ‘normal' blood sugar scale too. White potatoes have a high glycemic index, which means the body converts them quickly into sugar, elevating blood sugar levels. In comparison, sweet potatoes are quite the opposite and can help our bodies to maintain healthy blood sugar levels for people both with and without diabetes. This in turn helps to balance energy, fatigue and weight gain.
1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
1 small white onion
2 cloves garlic
1 medium white sweet potato, cooked and peeled
1/2 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Optional: cherry tomatoes, spinach, broccolli, mushrooms, protein of choice
Heat oil in a saucepan and add chopped onion and garlic. Sauté for 4–5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to blender with milk and sweet potato. Blend and add seasonings. If too thick, add more milk as needed until the consistency is creamy, like an Alfredo sauce. Enjoy!
I served this over veggie pasta noodles, but if you are gluten sensitive, consider brown rice noodles, quinoa pasta or just cooked veggies ... really anything that sounds good to you! On the following night my daughter and I, both of whom are soup lovers, added a little bone broth to the left over sauce and enjoyed it as soup. Get creative!