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Vegetarian Delight Kale Pesto Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes

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This recipe reminds me of my alma mata (the U), University of Miami (green and orange). A bit proud to be a Miami Hurricane!!!! 

Okay on to the recipe and this post that was a side note. Vegetarian meals are so beneficial to a well rounded diet. We need make sure that we are eating balanced, which I know that makes everyone confused. Balanced means a little bit of everything, but more vegetables than anything else. When it comes to vegetables the more we eat the overall better state of health we are in. I know it can be difficult to always by fresh vegetables and keep your fridge stocked with them through out the week. First off they go bad if we don't eat them soon enough. Second you don't know that many recipes of vegetables. The recipes you do know you get bored of. 

Kale has had a very popular surge lately, and well I wish all vegetables had this kind of attention and media because they are all extremely healthy and beneficial to ones diet. 

Here are the health benefits of kale and why we should be eating it on a regular basis in our diet. 

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable which means it is in the family of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. These vegetables have a strong correlation based on many studies to their cancer fighting abilities. 

There are 3 nutritional benefits that makes kale really stand out as a vegetable. 

1. Anti-oxidant nutrient - If our body doesn't take in enough anti-oxidants we can seriously harm out metabolism. If we compromise our metabolism we can compromise our health. We want our metabolism to be efficient and fast, when we eat foods that help to boost our metabolism such as foods rich in anti-oxidants than we increase our state of well-being.

2. Anti-inflammatory- Inflammation is a major factor in the decline of ones health and on set diseases. When we eat foods on a consistent basis that reduce internal inflammation we reduce our risk of many diseases. 

3. Anti- cancer - Because of kales strong dose of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties there is a strong connection in the reduction of cancer cells and ones ability of get the disease. 

So overall kale isn't just popular because it is the "cool" "new" vegetable that has gained popularity, but because it really does boost our health and nutritional value of regularly eating kale in a balanced diet is so beneficial. 

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Recipe 

Yields 4 servings 

Time (for the kale pesto 10 minutes) (to roast the sweet potatoes (1 hour) 

Ingredients 

6 cups (roughly 3 handfuls) curly kale - washed and dried 

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil  + more if necessary 

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese  + more if necessary 

8-10 fresh basil leaves

3 TBLS toasted raw walnuts - chopped  + extra for garnish 

1/2 tsp sea salt 

2 pinches black pepper 

1 TBLS lemon juice 

2 large sweet potatoes or jewel yams 

Method

To roast the sweet potatoes 

1. Preheat the oven to roast at 400 degrees. Wrap the sweet potatoes and foil. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray and roast for about one hour. You want them to be tender and soft. Once the sweet potatoes have roasted carefully remove them from the oven. Carefully open the foil and cut them in half. Watch out for the steam from the potatoes. 

Let the potatoes cool for 10-15 minutes before topping them with the kale pesto. 

To prepare the kale pesto

1. Clean and dry the curly kale well. Place half of kale in a food processor. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, basil leaves, and Parmesan cheese. Process until it is smooth. Add another half of the curly kale and pulse for about 30 seconds.  Add the walnuts and the remaining curly kale and pulse until it is slightly chunky not completely smooth. 

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. 

Once the sweet potato halves have cooled slightly plate them with the kale pesto on top, garnish with some chopped toasted walnuts, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

Enjoy! 

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