Today’s featured veggie is a Hawaii-favorite, both for its color and versatility–the Okinawan sweet potato. These sweet potatoes are a basic brown/beige on the outside, yet the true beauty is found within–the Okinawan sweet potatoes are a deep, lovely purple color when cooked, adding a pop of color to your meals along with valuable nutrition.
For today’s recipe, I’m going to share a simple preparation for the potatoes–a delicious miso glaze–and combine it with some other recipes from our Oahu Fresh archives to show you how you can meal prep for a whole week of wholesome dinners. This miso glaze is adapted from my cookbook, published in 2016, and the recipe has not yet been published on my site!
See all my other Oahu Fresh recipes here (featuring eggplant, sweet potato, kale, zucchini, tomatoes, Kabocha pumpkin, breadfruit, and more). For the Instagram video archive, check out the Oahu Fresh Instagram TV. 🥕
Creating Recipes for Meal Prep
One of the questions that comes up frequently in conversations around food or in nutritional consultations is HOW to make sure there’s good food in the house for quick meals during the week. The answer is meal prep, and that can mean a lot of things to lots of people.
For me, meal prep means taking a few minutes each week to plan out which staple items and recipes you’ll need to have on hand AND spending a bit of time prepping. The idea is condense time in the kitchen on one day to make it easier throughout the week to make quicker, but equally nutritious, meals. Ideally, the goal is to have staple ingredients on hand each week that can, with a few additions, help you eat well the whole week through.
Most weeks, I’ll spend time on the weekend thinking about my work schedule, and figure out what days I’ll be able to cook a full meal. I’ll cook some grains, prepare some plant-based proteins (by soaking + cooking beans and marinating tofu or tempeh), and ensuring that I have piles of greens and other veggies in the refrigerator.
To show some of my best meal-prep tips in action, I’m going to combine this new recipe for Miso Glazed Sweet Potatoes with two other staple recipes from my house– the Perfect Kale Salad and anEasy Quinoa Pilaf– and combine them into a perfect bowl meal. Prepped ahead of time, these three recipes will last for days in the fridge, and allow you to create multiple meals from one prep session. You can use these three recipes (and whatever else is in the refrigerator) to create lovely bowls, which are colorful, nourishing and easy! Sometimes these are called grain bowls or Buddha bowls.
If you’re interested in learning more about meal prep and how I plan ahead to build my meals for each week, check out these related articles:
- Cooking in Bulk: How to Feed your Freezer
- How to Bulk Prep Hummus
- Stock a Plant-Based Pantry
- A detailed list of pantry-building basics including sauces, condiments, sweets, and spices
Miso-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
¼ cup miso (red or white miso is best here)
¼ cup mirin (or white wine or sake)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1 Tablespoon olive oil or toasted sesame oil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 medium-sized Okinawan sweet (purple) potatoes
- Whisk together glaze ingredients until totally creamy and smooth. Set aside.
- Wash and peel the potatoes, then chop roughly into ½-inch pieces.
- Add the potatoes into the marinade.
- Let marinate for an hour (if possible).
- Scoop out potatoes from the marinade, and layer onto a baking dish lined with parchment paper (this is important, as the sweetness of the ingredients will make it sticky). You’ll have a bit of marinade left over–save it!
- Bake the potatoes at 375ºF for 30 minutes. At the end of cook time, toss with some of the leftover marinade, toss to combine, and broil for five minutes longer. Alternatively, you can sauté the potatoes with just a bit of olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add marinade once potatoes are soft and browned, and let them cook until marinade has absorbed (watch the potatoes closely so that the marinade doesn’t burn).
- Eat potatoes as is, or store for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Tips for Building Healthy, Beautiful Bowls with your Prepped Foods
- Consider TEXTURE: Soft-cooked grains pair well with crunch nuts or seeds, and leafy greens need a creamy sauce to round it out. I like to build bowls focused on a whole grain (like quinoa, plain brown rice, or something heartier like spelt or farro). To make the bowl above, click here to watch the video for the Quinoa Pilaf (skip the part where I stuffed it into the red pepper!)
- Include RAW, COOKED, & FERMENTED Ingredients: As much as possible, consider adding these three types of foods. Above, you’ll see I made a big pile of greens with shaved carrots and sliced red cabbage: click here to watch the video for how to make a Perfect Kale Salad (no need to include the grains if you’re serving with a side of quinoa, and play with whatever veggies you have, and if you’re saving for the whole week, keep the dressing separate). Fermented condiments are great too: add lots of pickled veggies, homemade sauerkraut or kim chi–all of these can help improve the flavor and boost the nutrition of the meal.
- Add CRUNCH & FATS: Build the bowls with balance in mind, and adding the healthy crunch nuts or seeds helps bring depth to the bowl. Likewise, adding a creamy, flavorful dressing (like the tahini dressing in the Perfect Kale Salad recipe above!) Both add healthy, whole-food fats to the meal to make it more satisfying. In this meal I also added dry-toasted sunflower seeds.
- Make it BEAUTIFUL! We eat with our eyes first, so anything that you can do to make the bowl more colorful or prettier is welcome: lovely bowls, lots of color in the ingredients, and fresh green garnishes go a long way towards a feast for the eyes (and making it totally Instagram-ready!)