No matter how long you’ve been cooking or how extensive your cooking repertoire is, there are always those dishes that if all else failed, you could just whip together. If your brain’s kinda fried or the new experimental dish bombed, there’s a recipe tucked in your back pocket you could save a meal with. If nothing’s super inspiring at the grocery store for a new an exciting meal, you’ve got the basic rundown of ingredients of that back pocket recipe in your head.
While you would think the classic back pocket dish could get boring, this is where you would be mistaken. Just because you’ve got the cook times and general ingredients down, doesn’t mean everything has to stay the same, does it?
Stuffed sweet potatoes is one of my favorite back pocket dishes. It’s very simple—cooked sweet potato (in a microwave! because it’s faster! and why not?) with a great filling with beans, sometimes topped with cheese, yogurt, or maybe now my new favorite tahini on top. To keep it more interesting, I change the filling most of the time. It follows the same structure: greens, beans, maybe tomatoes or another vegetable just for fun or if it’s hanging out in the fridge. It’s in the new combinations where I have fun and play.
This time I decided to mix it up even more and add in cauliflower, one of my favorite vegetables. I decided to turn it into the ever-trendy cauliflower rice so it can easily tuck inside the sweet potato. Adding the cauliflower rice to the filling can also turn the filling into a great side for another meal if you’ve made more filling than you have sweet potatoes.
Stuffed sweet potatoes are also pretty quick to throw together, an important qualifier for a back pocket dish. Like I mentioned earlier, I cook the sweet potatoes in a microwave. You can cook a small to medium sized sweet potato in the microwave for 8 minutes rather than 20-30 minutes in a conventional oven. As much as I love my oven, I’ll take 8 any day, especially on a weeknight.
All the vegetables and the beans make this meal extremely satisfying. You won’t miss any meat or worry about being too hungry later. You could also make this a side dish, just find some smaller potatoes and use half of the cauliflower to make less filling.
Next time you’re thinking about making your back pocket dish, ask yourself how you can bring something new to it. Do you have a different vegetable in the fridge or is there one in season you think would go great with the rest of the dish? What other things in your kitchen could you add to make it something different? A back pocket dish can be so much more than the same old thing, and I challenge you to make it something new.