Loaded Baked Sweet Potato

My struggle to find healthy lunch options has been well-documented here. My favorite lunch foods to make at home are anything but healthy, things like grilled cheese and mac and cheese from a box. I actually love salads too, but only when someone else is in charge of preparing them for me. They just taste better when I don’t make them myself (aka I’m lazy at lunch time)! I’ve even resorted to trying those frozen microwaveable meals, and while there are a couple I like, they contain quite a bit of salt and never leave me feeling satisfied for very long.

When I turned over a new leaf and started trying to make better choices a few months ago, I was on a mission to find ideas that (a) were simple enough that I wouldn’t be able to find an excuse not to prep them and (b) so tasty that I wouldn’t mind eating them multiple days a week. I’m up to about three or four go-to recipes that I rotate through, and while I’d like to add a few more, I’m on the right track. I’m definitely not a picky eater, but when it comes to lunch, I guess I’ve realized I sort of am…

Loaded Baked Sweet Potato

These loaded baked sweet potatoes became a fast favorite here as soon as I tried them. The potatoes are stuffed with a trio of veggies – mushrooms, onions and bell peppers – as well as black beans, all of which have been seasoned with Mexican spices. A little bit of cheese, salsa, and fat free Greek yogurt (infused with more Mexican flavor via taco seasoning) top it all off without adding a ton of calories. This recipe serves four, so I make the veggie/bean mixture at the start of the week, and then simply reheat it and microwave a potato for a fast and easy lunch on subsequent days. The grocery stores around here only sell monster-sized sweet potatoes lately so I often just use half of one to keep the portion size reasonable. It’s delicious and super filling!

What are your favorite quick, easy and healthy lunch ideas?

Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes
barely adapted from SkinnyTaste.com

{Note: you can use store-bought taco seasoning, or make your own. I’ll be posting a homemade recipe soon!}

4 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
4 oz mushrooms, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
pinch of salt
1 1/3 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup salsa
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Wash the potatoes, scrubbing them thoroughly. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork, then cook in your microwave until the potatoes are fork-tender. My microwave has a “baked potato” button which comes in handy, but about 10 minutes should do the trick for all 4 potatoes. (If you don’t have a microwave, you can also bake the potatoes in the oven.)

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and taco seasoning. Add the oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pepper, onion, mushrooms, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies have softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the black beans and continue cooking until warmed through.

Cut an opening in each potato that goes nearly from end to end (leave a little room on each end). Press on the ends of the potato to open it up. Fill each potato with 2 tablespoons of the cheese, a heaping 1/3 cup of the veggie mixture, 2 tablespoons of salsa, 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture, and then garnish each with 3/4 of the scallions.

To make ahead: prepare the yogurt sauce and veggie mixture, then transfer to separate airtight containers and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, just cook the potato and reheat the veggies.