An exuberant array of flavours and textures, perfect for a leisurely weekend brunch or a delicious vegan dinner. Crispy, baked sweet potato rösti provides the foundation for zingy smashed avocado, deeply umami soy-marinated smoked tofu, and crisp, minerally roasted kale, adorned with some fresh and sweet cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
Here in the UK, we are still in the midst of what feels like an endless lockdown. And while silver linings are few and far between, one that I have been taking full advantage of is the additional time at weekends for a leisurely and extravagant brunch. And even if you don’t find the cooking part as enjoyable as I do, the end result of this recipe makes it worth every minute.
Now, you may think that the photo above just looks like a pile of things on a plate, and in many ways you would be correct. But this pile is packed full of flavour, texture and general culinary excitement. The base is a sweet potato rösti, essentially a grated sweet potato patty, which has been slathered in smashed avocado, seasoned with salt and plenty of lime juice, and scattered with fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes. This provides a cosy bed for chunks of fried smoked tofu, marinaded in soya sauce and maple syrup. Some caramelised red onions add a little soft sweetness, and a scattering of dark and minerally roasted kale provides a crispy flourish, topped off by a sprinkling of chilli flakes.
It may sound like a lot going on, but you can prepare everything in the time it takes to bake the rösti, and it all works so, so well together. Add some freshly brewed coffee and maybe a mimosa and you will have officially won at brunch.
How to make sweet potato rösti with smoked tofu, avocado, and crispy kale
The most time-consuming part of this meal is grating the sweet potato, although if you have a food processor with a medium grater attachment it can be done in minutes, and there’s also the option of preparing the rösti the night before (see ‘Notes’ in the recipe below). If you use a fine grater then the sweet potato is likely to just turn to mush, and too chunky and it won’t cohere as a patty. Once you have a heap of vibrant orange shreds, tip them into a colander and use you hands to mix in some salt, rubbing it into the sweet potato gratings. This will help the sweet potato to release some of its liquid, for a crisper rösti.
Leave the colander in the sink while you turn to the tofu. In a shallow dish, mix together some tamari, maple syrup and toasted sesame oil. Slice the tofu into batons, somewhere between 1 and 2cm in width, and coat in the marinade. Leave aside, turning the strips occasionally, so the tofu can soak up all of that punchy umami flavour.
Next return to the sweet potato – you should notice that it feels much wetter than when you left it. You can either plonk all of the gratings in a clean tea towel or muslin and wring out as much liquid as you can, or to save a bit of laundry, take a generous handful and squeeze between your palms, until hardly any liquid is released. Put the squeezed sweet potato in a clean bowl, continue with another handful, and repeat with the remaining gratings.
Add a generous amount of black pepper and some crushed garlic to the sweet potato, and mix with your hands until the garlic is evenly distributed. Then take a handful of the grated sweet potato and press between your palms to flatten. Place on a greased baking tray and press down, with one hand, while pushing the edges in until you have a relatively flat and even patty.
Repeat with the remaining sweet potato. If you’re making this for brunch or a light-ish lunch, then the quantities in the recipe below makes three medium sized rösti to serve three people. If you’re after a more hearty dinner (or indeed a more filling brunch) then you can make two big rösti, or four smaller ones, to serve two.
Put the rösti in a hot oven and bake for 15 minutes. You’ll then need to flip them over and bake for another 10. Use the biggest spatula you have, or even a fish slice, but if they get a little damaged in the flipping process you can just squidge them back together.
While the rösti are baking, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Wash your kale, remove any larger stems, and cut into 5cm chunks (or there abouts). I used cavelo nero (aka black kale) but curly kale will work just as well. Transfer the kale in a bowl with a little oil and salt, and mix with your hands, massaging the leaves slightly, and leave to one side.
Slice a small red onion and fry on a medium-low heat with a little oil, until caramelized and starting to crisp. You can fry the tofu in the same pan, but at the last minute so it’s nice and hot when you serve up. Roughly mash the avocado with a fork, and season with salt, pepper, and a good squeeze of lime juice. Slice some cherry tomatoes (you could also use sun-dried tomatoes or slow-roasted tomatoes for an extra hit of flavour).
Once the rösti have been in the oven for 25 minutes, they should be starting to char a little around the edges. Spread the kale over the top of the rösti in a single even layer and return to the oven for 5 minutes (it’s usually at this point that I start frying the tofu). Remove from the oven and turn the kale leaves over, removing any that already feel crisp, and bake for another 3–4 minutes until all of the leaves have crisped up.
Then it’s simply a case of piling everything on a plate. I start with a rösti, then add a generous dollop of avocado and a scattering of tomatoes. I then try to artfully arrange some tofu batons, which is fairly pointless because it all gets covered in kale anyway, then top with the fried onions, a handful of crisp kale, and a little sprinkle of chilli flakes.
I really love this combination of ingredients – there’s loads of contrast in the flavours and textures, so every mouthful is a little different. It’s made up from a strange mix of culinary traditions (East Asian for the tamari-marinated tofu, South American for the rough guacamole, Swiss for the rösti) so you can draw on any one of these for a bit of variation.
I already mentioned replacing the fresh tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes or slow-roasted tomatoes, for even more flavour. If baby vine tomatoes are in season sometimes I roast these with the rösti, though on a separate tray. You just need a drizzle of oil and they take about 20-25 minutes.
You could add some finely diced raw red onion to the avocado and a generous quantity of chopped coriander, and even a little sweetcorn for more of a Mexican twist. You could lean a bit further to the East Asian side of things with a scattering of salted peanuts and a generous squirt of sriracha. You could swap the sweet potato for regular potato for a more Swiss take, or the tofu for tempeh, vegan sausages, or vegan bacon. This recipe is really just a template, so experiment away!
If you give this a try I’d love to hear now you get on, and any variations you come up with! You can comment below, or tag me on Twitter or Instagram @greedybearbakes.
Vegan Sweet Potato Rösti With Smoked Tofu, Avocado and Crispy Kale
Crispy, baked sweet potato rösti, with zingy smashed avocado, soy-marinated smoked tofu, and crisp, minerally roasted kale, adorned with fresh and sweet cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
Vegan, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free
For the rösti:
- 550–600g (5-5½ cups, grated, loosely packed) sweet potato
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the tofu:
- 280g (10oz) Smoked tofu (I use Tofoo brand. Substitute with plain tofu)
- 3 tbsp tamari (or soya sauce if not gluten-free)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup / agave syrup / brown rice syrup / soft brown sugar
- 100g (1½ cups) whole-leaf kale
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 lime
- 100g (⅔ cup) cherry tomatoes
- light oil for roasting and frying (vegetable / sunflower / olive / coconut)
- salt and black pepper
- chilli flakes
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C fan. Scrub your sweet potatoes clean, and grate with the skin on using a medium grater (either a box grater or food processor). Transfer the grated sweet potato into a colander and use your hands to mix in ½ tsp salt. Set aside over the sink.
- In a shallow dish, whisk together the tofu marinade ingredients (3 tbsp tamari, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tbsp maple syrup). Slice the smoked tofu into 1–2cm wide batons, roll in the marinade and leave them to soak up the flavour, turning them every so often.
- Return to the sweet potato, and either using a tea towel or your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can, transferring the squeezed gratings to a clean bowl. Add a generous grind of black pepper and 2 crushed garlic cloves, and mix with your hands until the crushed garlic is evenly distributed. Grease a baking tray, then take roughly a third** of the sweet potato and press it between your palms to form a rough disc. Place on the greased baking tray and press down with one hand, while pushing in the sides with the other until you have a roughly even patty. Brush the tops of the rösti with a little oil, and bake for 15 minutes, before flipping with a large spatula and baking for another 10 minutes.
- While the rösti are baking, wash your kale and trim away any large, tough stalks. Chop into roughly 5cm pieces and transfer to a bowl, with ¼ tsp salt and 1 tbsp oil. Massage the oil and salt into the leaves slightly, then set aside.
- In a non-stick frying pan, heat another tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Finely slice the red onion and add to the frying pan with a pinch of salt. Stir, then turn the heat down to medium low, stirring occasionally, until the onions have caramelized and are starting to crisp, about 15 minutes, then transfer to a small bowl.
- Roughly mash the avocadoes with a fork, and mix in a pinch of salt and pepper along with 1½–2tbsp lime juice, to taste. Halve 100g cherry tomatoes.
- Once the rösti have had 25 minutes in the oven, remove the tray and spread the kale over the top of the rösti in a single layer. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, then turn over the kale leaves, removing any that already feel crisp. Return to the oven for another 3–4 minutes until all of the leaves have crisped up.
- While the kale is in the oven, fry to tofu over a medium heat in the same pan you used for the onions, adding a little more oil if necessary, turning every minute or two until every side is a beautiful golden brown.
- Put a rösti on each plate, and pile on the avocado and cherry tomatoes, then arrange the fried tofu batons. Add the caramelized onions, and scatter over the crispy kale, and finish with a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
*If you’re making this for breakfast/brunch and don’t want to do quite so much work in the morning, you can prepare the sweet potato rösti the night before. Grate and squeeze the sweet potato and form them into patties on a baking tray, then cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight, ready to bake in the morning.
**For a brunch or light-ish lunch then this recipe serves three, but for something more substantial you can make the sweet potato into 2 big patties, or four smaller ones, to serve two.