For most of my 24 years of marriage, whenever I prepared a vegetarian meal for dinner, my husband would look at the plate and I could read dissatisfaction all over his face. He’d pause, then go to the fridge to hunt down some sort of meat to give the dish a flavor kick. He might slice up some hard salami or fry a few strips of bacon. I’d roll my eyes, raise an eyebrow or shake my head in disapproval. Neither of us would say a word.
Imagine my surprise when he announced a few weeks ago that he was going to explore a more plant-focused diet. I’m not sure what caused the eureka moment. Maybe it’s because he’s read enough literature about the health benefits of a diet rich in that which is gathered instead of hunted. It also probably has something to do with him getting older and seeing that it’s easier to pack on the pounds these days.
He wasn’t going to give up meat entirely, he said, but he wanted to consume less of it and to seek out flavor enhancers from non-animal sources. He calls it a “pragmatic plant-forward diet.”
All aboard the pragmatic plant-forward diet wagon!
When I flipped through Sally O’Neil’s new cookbook, “The Fit Foodie Meal Prep Plan: Easy Steps to Fill Your Fridge for the Week” (Tiller, $19.99), and landed on Sweet Potatoes with Baked Eggs, I knew that this time, my husband wouldn’t go reaching for bacon bits.
This loaded sweet potato dish is a winner on many levels. Like its Instagram celebrity cousin, avocado baked eggs, it is healthy, packed with protein and complex carbs.
It bursts with color: the orange edges of the sweet potato, the inner flesh scooped out to make room for the white of an egg and its yellow yolk (here is where a farm-fresh egg will make a difference), greenery from chopped spinach, and a few red radish batons.
It’s flexible. You can get creative with toppings such as scallions. You can experiment with seasonings, too — from a squeeze of Sriracha to a shake of the nutty North African spice blend dukkah.
And it comes together in 20 minutes — less, if you use small sweet potatoes. And, in that instance, since there will be less flesh to scoop out of the root veggie and thus less cavity space to fit the egg, just separate the egg white from the yolk, and reserve the whites for a different meat-free meal to serve to all your pragmatic plant-forward diet converts.
From “The Fit Foodie Meal Prep Plan” by Sally O’Neil, published by Tiller Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Copyright © 2019 by Sally O’Neil.
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