SERIES: SECRETS OF A TRADER JOE’S GROUPIE
by Catherine Spinley
I’m no chef. I’m not even in the Rachel Ray “30 Minute Meals” cooking category. You want evidence? Exhibit A: I owned a George Foreman grill for a longer than acceptable. Exhibit B: I ate the same dinner nearly every night for many years (2008-2012, Lean Cuisine pizza and a Granny Smith Apple). Exhibit C: I used to be an avid runner and routinely plotted my route to end at Doughwhere I stuffed my face with a glazed doughnut while still sweating. Go ahead and judge - I’ve already survived major side-eye from the hipster doughnut mongers so, to me, your ire means nothing.
It wasn’t until I moved to San Francisco that I became more in-tune with whole foods and ingredients, local farmers and overall nutrition. I lived near the Ferry Building and enjoyed spending Saturday mornings wandering the Farmer’s Market stalls. I signed up for a weekly CSA box and became acquainted with kale, brussel sprouts, heirloom tomatoes and even began making my own hummus. This is the basic blueprint for San Francisco life.
Now back in New York, my desire to eat healthy is still strong but my hatred of cooking is stronger. The only bright spot is my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, although even that isn’t without its own issues. I suspect the produce department is on the cusp of persona-non-grata-ing me for dramatically sulking when the shredded brussel sprouts or Green Goddess salad dressing is sold out. The employees assigned to Joe’s Cafe (the name of the bar that serves product samples) are very quick to warn me only one sample is allowed per customer. I have also been known to crack a can of Spindrift before paying for it….
But, woman’s gotta eat and I’ve spent some time developing a handful of recipes that are healthy, quick, utilize relatively inexpensive and minimal ingredients and can be made in larger quantities because I like to cook once and eat twice. I’ve also mined my friends for recipes that meet these requirements. This Sweet Potato Avocado Toast is the brainchild of my friend Erin. It’s healthy, easy and full of flavor - you won’t miss the meat or the bun (I’m talking about food here - I promise)..
Moral of this food story: people can change - slightly. I still love a good nose dive into a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos or toasting up two Pop Tarts at a time (show me an animal who unseals that foil wrapper to only eat ONE Pop Tart and I’ll show you a sociopath), but I also like to make some good decisions once every so often.
Read on, get to your local TJ’s and get cooking!
SWEET POTATO AVOCADO TOAST
TOTAL TIME: 50 mins PREP TIME: 10 mins SERVINGS: 3 to 4
2 medium to large sweet potatoes
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pink himalayan sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 small lime
non-stick cooking spray
SWEET POTATO TOAST SLICES: Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Thoroughly wash sweet potatoes to ensure skin is clean and slice horizontally to create long slices.
Brush both sides of sweet potato slices with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with pink himalayan sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Place sweet potato slices on baking sheet prepped with non-stick cooking spray. Place thicker slices at center of baking sheet and thinner slices around the perimeter for even baking.
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and crisped.
AVOCADO SPREAD (TWO WAYS): While baking sweet potato slices, prep both avocado spreads.
Cube avocados and evenly divide into two small bowls.
Squeeze lime juice into each bowl - half of lime’s worth in each mixture.
Sprinkle approximately 1 Tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning into one avocado mixture. Continue to season to taste.
Sprinkle approximately 1 Tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Seasoning into the second avocado mixture. Continue to season to taste.
Add pink himalayan sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Separately, mix each avocado spreads to blend ingredients.
Remove baking sheet from oven and cool sweet potato toast slices for approximately 3-5 minutes. Apply Everything But The Bagel Avocado Spread to half the sweet potato toast slices and Chili Lime Avocado Spread to the other half of the sweet potato toast slices and serve.