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Cinnamon Sweet Potato Stew with Grains + Greens

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Why we love it:

The combination of cinnamon with sweet potato is amazing. Served over chewy grain (whatever type you've got on hand!), this dish is a super simple and beautiful meal. If you’re an InstantPot fan, check out the substitutions note for cooking it that way! If you have or prefer meat, that works too.


  • 12 Yellow Onion (small dice)
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (divided, possibly more to taste)
  • 14 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 14 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 12 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Quinoa (or grain you have! farro, rice, lentils, can't go wrong)
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 cups Stock (chicken or veggie, or do all water)
  • 12 pound Sweet Potato (garnet yam, about 1 large)
  • 1 15-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 12 pound Baby Spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (optional)
  • 1 Lemon (juiced, optional)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. ONION

    Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot (do you have a Le Creuset or cast iron enamel pot? Use that!) over medium high heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, add the onion, and ½ teaspoon of salt.

  • 2. SPICES

    Add the dried spices: thyme, garlic powder, cinnamon. Sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally so it cooks on all sides and letting it pick up a little bit of color.

  • 3. QUINOA

    While the spices cook, combine the quinoa, water and about ½ a teaspoon of salt in a small pot. Bring to a simmer and stir. Then, reduce the heat to low and partially cover. Return to stir it occasionally and cook for about 15 minutes total, covering for the last 5 minutes, then let it rest to steam off the heat for another 5 minutes before serving

  • 4. STOCK

    Add the stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape off any bits sticking to the bottom. Bring to a simmer while you prep the sweet potato.


    Peel and dice the sweet potato into ½ inch chunks. Add to the pot, along with the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes, returning occasionally to stir and you can gently mash the potatoes as they cook to get a thicker consistency.

  • 6. SPINACH

    While the stew cooks, wash the spinach. Add the spinach to the pot once the sweet potatoes are completely tender, after the 12 minute cooking time. If a little water clings to the leaves that is ok. Stir in with the butter and lemon juice (start with half of the lemon juice and add more to taste) until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat. Taste the stew - depending on your preferences, you may prefer a bit more salt.

  • 7. SERVING

    Plate a scoop of quinoa into a large shallow bowl and top with a spoonful of stew.

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    simply omit butter
  • PALEO:
    leave out the tomatoes and add an extra ½ cup of water or stock. Consider adding the chicken thighs to the pot and serve over cauliflower rice or zoodles sautéed with butter and garlic
    start on sauté and follow the instructions and ingredients except reduce the stock to just 1 cup. When you add the broth, tomatoes and sweet potato, close the lid and cook on “stew” for 10 minutes. When it’s done, quick release, but then let it sit for another 5 before opening. Once opened, stir in the spinach, butter and lemon juice and serve!
    serve without any grain underneath or over steamed rice. Try farro, lentils, polenta, couscous, pasta. I can't think of a grain that wouldn't work.
  • STOCK:
    if you don’t have it, use water. If you have leftover, freeze it for another day!
    if your kids prefer things separate, serve potatoes and quinoa separately. Consider adding chicken or broccoli to the stew or whichever vegetable your kids will eat (maybe peas, cauliflower, or even frozen corn or edamame)
    russet or yukon gold potatoes are a good alternative. Butternut squash would be as well (peeled and diced)
    If you prefer it, add meat. Chicken thighs, or anything on the bone can go in the pot first and braise the whole time. Shred that before serving. If you have chicken breast, cut it into cubes and leave it cubed to serve.
    If you have pork loin, bacon, ham - dice and add those at the beginning. Stew beef would be good too but you'll have to braise the whole stew for more like 2 hours to tenderize it enough
    sausage meat, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef - all good, saute with the onion at the beginning
  • LEMON:
    season at the end with a tiny splash of vinegar, orange or lime juice to brighten
    Any leafy green - cabbage, chard, kale, arugula, escarole. Frozen spinach works. Frozen peas. Chopped brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans - all perfect just give them ample time to cook or roast them separately then stir in
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