I know instant pots are all the rage now. I have heard of people who own these in various sizes! Not me…at least not yet. I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet – and even if/when I do, I am quite confident I will not be owning more than one. So, for now, I do own an air fryer (have been for maybe a year now).
You may wonder what I have used it for. In all honesty, my husband has used it more often than I have – and definitely it is not to make anything meal worthy! He has only ever made frozen fries in them. They taste great, but I figured there should be other applications of the gadget than just for crisping up frozen food. So, I started experimenting, first with vegetables seasoned with salt and ever so slightly drizzled with oil. My favorite…eggplant slices and broccoli! Yum! Then, I got to thinking…and googling.
Damn! You can even make desserts in an air fryer! Wow! Anyway, I wanted to attempt a main dish, and hence was born this chicken and sweet potato recipe.
Honestly, you can use any seasoning for the chicken thighs (or drumstick or cut up breast). I happened to stumble upon harissa seasoning at a local TJMaxx (love the store for the interesting finds) and decided to try it. Harissa seasoning has complex spice notes with good amount of heat, so use it according to your taste. I needed to add salt because the bottle I bought did not have any.
After about 30+ minutes in the air fryer, the chicken thighs were super crispy on the outside (thanks to the skin) and juicy and delicious inside. Sweet potato took on a nice flavor from the chicken as well. The best compliment was “Hon, I am sorry, I don’t think I can eat the bone!” So, if you own an airfryer, you have to try this recipe. If not, either buy one or try the recipe in a 450F oven.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato
4 chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed, but with skin
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon harissa seasoning
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 medium sweet potato (or regular potato)
2 tablespoons oil, divided
- Preheat the air fryer to 375F.
- Score the skin side of the chicken thighs deeply with a sharp knife. Season with a blend of 1 tablespoon harissa and 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste). Make sure seasoning gets into the cut slashes. Drizzle both sides with a tablespoon of oil.
- Place chicken thighs, skin side down in the air fryer and cook for 10 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, peel and cut the sweet potato into large chunks, about 1″ wide. Toss with remaining salt, harissa and oil.
- Remove the chicken thighs from the fryer and set aside on a plate.
- Add the sweet potato to the air fryer and top with the chicken, this time with skin side up.
- Cook for another 25 minutes or more till the chicken and sweet potato are cooked through and the top of the chicken is browned and crispy.
- Transfer to serving plates and serve with other sides or vegetables for a wholesome, delicious dinner.
I am glad to admit that I am not a purist. There is something a bit more personal and exciting about bending the norms a little. At least in the food we enjoy! Think about it…if you always followed the same cake or casserole recipe, won’t you be bored? That’s when we get creative with tossing in a little bit of this and that or “wing it” along the way.
These falafels are the result of going with the flow and keeping my fingers crossed that they won’t be a crumbly or horrible tasting mess. Inspiration for this recipe, which uses cauliflower, sweet potato and black beans came from watching the recent trends with cauliflower everything, including pizza crust! PIZZA CRUST! If cauliflower could be a pizza crust, it better be a darn good falafel. And it delivered!
Honestly, these falafels are a winner not not because they have a good doze of veggies, but also because they are oven-baked with a light drizzle of oil and not deep fried like the traditional ones. What is not to love about it, right?! These delicious bites held their shape, stored well for few days refrigerated and made a perfect match as a salad topper or filler for a pita. So, go ahead and make a batch! You can drop a thank you note later! 🙂
Blackbean and Veggie Falafels
Note about Prep Time: Prep time is about 20 min, refrigeration for about 30 min and cook (bake) time about 45 min.
1 1/2 cups grated cauliflower
1 1/2 cups grated sweet potato
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
Salt to taste
1 14.5oz black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds for 5 min over low heat and grind to a powder in a dry grinder or in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
- In a saute pan, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and saute the vegetables, including onion and garlic. Add the ground spices, salt, paprika and cayenne. Let cool.
- In a medium bowl, mash the drained blackbeans. Add the vegetable mixture and chickpea flour and thoroughly mix in. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Take the refrigerated falafel mixture out and form into about 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls.
- Arrange on a parchment lined baking tray and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
- Bake for about 25 min. Turn over and continue to bake for another 20 min till firm and golden.
- Serve immediately in a salad or as a wrap. Refrigerate remaining falafels.
If you give me a choice between pumpkin and sweet potato pies, I would definitely pick the latter! Not that I don’t like pumpkin, but more like I have a little more love for sweet potato. I enjoy them so much that I can happily enjoy a bowl of plain roasted sweet potato – with absolutely nothing added in!
Sweet potato takes on a whole new flavor dimension and sweetness when you roast them in the oven. You simply scrub and wash them, wrap them in pieces of foil and bake for about 45 minutes at 375F. Voila! You have divinely flavorful bright orange spuds with caramelized sugars oozing out of them!). Roasted sweet potato can be used in soups and other dishes, but I chose to make a quick bread using them. Yes, you can certainly substitute canned version, but as you can imagine, oven roasted spuds taste far superior!
This quick bread has notes of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Next time, I will also add a bit of ground cardamom for an exotic flair. I replaced half the butter with pureed prunes. This not only reduced the amount of fat, but also added a rich color to the finished product. Also addition of sour cream in this recipe makes the bread very moist.
Although my kids usually turn up their noses for roasted sweet potato, they devoured this bread. Certainly a keeper recipe!
Sweet potato pie bread
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup pureed prunes
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cut pureed roasted sweet potato
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, optional
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray a loaf pan and set aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk together butter, pureed prunes and sugar.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine. Stir in vanilla.
4. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and ground spices.
5. Add the sweet potato and sour cream to the butter mixture.
6. Stir in dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in pecans if being used.
7. Scoop the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out the top.
8. Bake for about 45 minutes, till toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9. Let cool and slice.