Sweet Potato Bowl with Pecan Cilantro Pesto

Submitted by:

American Pecan Council | Ellie Krieger, RD

All of the elements for this bowl can be prepped up to three days ahead. The mashed sweet potato can be reheated in the microwave and everything else can be served room temperature. If you’d like, you can make a double batch of sauce as it’s delicious as a dip for steamed or raw vegetables or drizzled on grilled chicken, pork or tofu.


  • Sweet Potatoes
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds) peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pecan Cilantro Pesto
  • 2/3 cup pecan pieces, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups cup packed fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • For Assembly
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (1/2 breast of a medium rotisserie chicken)
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 large scallion, thinly sliced


  1. Place the potatoes in a pot and add water to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 13 minutes. Reserve some of the potato water, then drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the orange juice, butter, salt and 1 tablespoon of the potato water and mash until smooth. Add more of the potato water by the tablespoon as needed.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, make the pesto: Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Place 1/3 cup of the pecans into a food processor along with the cilantro, water, lime juice, garlic, ginger, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and the sesame oil and process until chopped. With the processor running, drizzle in the pecan oil and continue to process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl once or twice.
  3. Divide the mashed sweet potatoes evenly among 4 bowls. Arrange the chicken, beans and cabbage on top. Scatter the scallion and the remaining pecan pieces on top. Serve with the sauce on top or alongside.

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