This sweet potato and tomato pasta bake with fresh basil is a beautifully simple, delicious and filling take on classic comfort food. You’ll love it. It is now officially winter, which gives me a great excuse to hide away in the kitchen playing with new warming recipes. This one is an old favourite and combines two of my favourite foods: sweet potatoes and tomatoes. I always say if I get stuck on a desert island with just five foods they’d be sweet potatoes, tomatoes, dates, avocados and almond butter! So this dish is right up my alley as it has the first two of my favourite ingredients! I’m also a huge pasta fan, always have been. It’s the perfect comfort food. I love how filling and satisfying it always is. And even better, when you use a wholegrain variety, like this brown rice version, it gives you lots of fibrous goodness and energy too.
The whole dish is just delicious. Baking the pasta really spices up a classic dish. Here the sweet potatoes are so wonderfully soft and tender as they are pre-baked with olive oil, meaning that they perfectly squish against the thick layer of fresh tomato, chilli and basil sauce and the layer of brown rice penne, which is then topped up with another two layers of sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Creating a delicious explosion of melt-in-your-mouth tanginess!
Cinnamon may sound like a weird choice of spice for this savoury dish, but it really enhances the natural flavours of the sweet potatoes. While the chilli and basil compliment the tomatoes, making them even more delicious too.
There’s so much goodness in this bake too – tomatoes and sweet potatoes are super foods! They’re both bursting with anti-oxidant goodness. One of the awesome things about tomatoes is that they’re so good for your skin as they contain the vitamin Lycopene, which is one of the main ingredients in beauty pills – of course it is a trillion times more effective to eat in through these tomatoes, rather than through a manufactured pill! Sweet potatoes are also great for your skin with all their vitamin E, as well as all their other health boosting goodies in the form of vitamins D & C, iron, magnesium, fibre and beta-carotene. So now you can enjoy pasta in a new, healthy way that will leave you glowing beautifully!
- 4 servings of wholegrain gluten free pasta (I tend to use brown rice pasta)
- 4 small to medium sweet potatoes
- 8 plum tomatoes
- a dozen cherry tomatoes
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 dessert spoon of tomato puree
- a handful of fresh basil
- olive oil
- chilli flakes
Start by pre-heating the oven to 190C. Next, chop the sweet potatoes into relatively thin slices, before placing them onto a baking tray. Drizzle them in olive oil, salt and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Cook for 20 minutes, until they become soft.
While the sweet potatoes cook, slice the plum tomatoes into small cubes. Place these in a frying pan and begin to heat them with olive oil and salt. As these start to simmer and disintegrate chop the jalapeño pepper into tiny cubes, adding them into the pan, as well as a sprinkling of chilli flakes. After about 10 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters and the tomato puree. Then tear the basil leaves into the pan.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta – don’t let it go soggy as it will cook for a minute longer in the bake. Drain the pasta and add a few spoons of the tomato sauce and a little olive oil to it.
Once the sweet potatoes are soft and the pasta is cooked, remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and layer half of them on the bottom of a suitable baking dish. Then add a layer of the tomato sauce on the top, followed by a layer of pasta. Then another layer of sweet potatoes and a final layer of tomato sauce.
Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes to let it all mix together.
Serve and enjoy!