Heavenly sweet potato and soy mince layer bake

The guest we were expecting today jokingly requested food that was “a taste of paradise”. Not sure what that meant, I decided to go into the kitchen and “feel” what to put together (no thinking, just instinct / inspiration), and this is the result.  An amazing, light yet filling dish which could be served for dinner or lunch, containing no meat, low in refined carbohydrates, and high in flavour.  Heavenly indeed!

Another great point about this dish is its ease of assembly – unlike many dishes where a mince type sauce is used, no pre-cooking is required before you put it into the oven. The seasoning is pretty foolproof too, because the crispy onion, stock cube and passata used all have the flavouring required, you don’t need to add anything – not even salt. Just layer it all, bake it, then eat 🙂 this sauce would also make a great fast vegan bolognese if you needed one.

This dish can easily become vegan, with the substitution of a vegan bechamel sauce and omission or substitution of cheese. For paleo you may do the same (or omit the sour cream if you wish) , but use a more paleo friendly (low in dairy) hard cheese like parmesan. Either way, this meal will fill you up without making you lethargic or giving you indigestion – even if you can’t stop yourself and eat a little more than you should have (like I did 😉 )

So what was the verdict of our guest? He said it really was the food of paradise.  we’ve packed the leftovers for him to take away too, so all in all I call that a good result 🙂

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Ingredients – serves 3-4
4 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (half a cm thick at most)
250ml plain passata (about 1 cup)
200ml flavoured passata of choice (just over 3/4 cup – I used pepper & chilli flavour, or if you wish use plain passata and add a teaspoon of your chosen flavouring or herbs)
1/2 cup of nice quality crispy onion pieces – preferably containing only onion, a little flour and salt (for true paleo/GF you can substitute for one medium onion, diced & fried til golden, & 1 tsp salt)
2 cups dehydrated soy mince of non gmo origin
1 vegetable stock cube
3 tbsp sundried tomato puree or chopped sundried tomatoes
Optional – 1/2 cup roasted red peppers in sunflower oil
4 tbsp dark soy sauce of choice
1/2 cup sour cream, or for vegan option 3/4 cup rice/almond/soy milk and 2 tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot/ other thickener for paleo)
Grated cheese to top

1. Place the stock cube, soy sauce & spy mince in a large heatproof bowl. Pour on boiling water in a slow, steady stream and mix well. Keep adding water until all the soy mince looks fluffed up, and there is a very small puddle of water at the bottom of the dish – the idea is not to drown the mince as many packet instructions call for, just rehydrate it slightly on the firm but not crunchy side. It’ll soften more once it absorbs the juices from the passata.
2. Mix in the sundried tomato paste and make sure the stock cube has fully dissolved – break it up well if it hasn’t.
3. Pour the passatas and crispy onion over the mince. Combine. This is your no-cook bolognese style sauce 🙂
4. If going vegan, stir the cornflour (cornstarch to americans, or other thickener) in a couple of tbsp cold milk of choice, in the bottom of a saucepan. Once the lumps have gone and it is smooth, add the rest of the milk. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until the sauce thickens like a white thick custard. Remove from the heat and add a pinch of salt.  If using sour cream, skip this step.

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5. In a large ovenproof dish, layer the bolognese, sweet potato and bechamel /sour cream much like you would some kind of amazing healthy lasagna. Start with the mince, end with the potatoes, and you should get another 2 bolognese, 2 potato and 1 bechamel /sour cream layers out of these quantities. If using the peppers, sprinkle the oil between the layers and place the peppers flat somewhere in the middle level of the dish.

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Instructions for the other half xD

6. Top with cheese then bake at 180 degrees c (325F – woo I knew that one) for 1 hour, or until the sauce bubbles and the cheese is melty and golden)
Serve with salad of choice. Enjoy!

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