Baked Yams with Za'atar Chickpeas, Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes Drizzled with Tahini

This recipe is not only beautiful, but a hearty, nutritious meal that the entire family will love. It can be enjoyed by itself or with simple green salad.

YAMS VS. SWEET POTATOES?  Yams and sweet potatoes are often confused so here is the breakdown:  

  • Sweet potato & Domestic Yam:
    •  Ipomoea batatas (genus)
  • Convolvulaceae family (Morning Glory)
    •  Not nightshade
  • Native to central/south Americas and Caribbean 
  • Higher carotenes 
    • Good source of fiber
  • Lower glycemic effect than potato 
  • Smooth and thin; yellow/tan to darker orange/tan, red and purple 
  • Short, blocky tapered ends
  • Moist, sweet
  • About 103 calories
  • Varieties:  sweet potatoes-Jersey, Japanese, Purple; papa doc yams- Beauregard, Covington, Garnet, Jewel 
  •  True Yam: 
    • Disocorea (genus)
  • Dioscoreaceae family
  • Native to Africa and SE Asia
  • Higher Fiber Lower carotenes
  • Lower total micronutrients  
  • Rough and scaly; the color is brown or brownish-black
  • Generally white; some varieties can have purple or red flesh
  • Long, cylindrical, some with "toes"; often sold in chunks since they can grow to 7 feet
  • Dry, starchy 
  • About 79 calories
  • About 500 species of this genus type 

PURPLE SWEET POTATOES: contain the HIGHEST source of anthocyanins out of all the potatoes 

Ingredients [serves 6]

  • For the yams: 

    • 3 jewel yams, halved

    • Avocado oil

  • For the chickpeas: 

    • 2 cans of chickpeas

    • 2 tbs. za'atar

    • 1 tsp. chili powder

    • 2 tbs. avocado oil 

    • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • For the roasted tomatoes and garlic:

    • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 

    • 15-20 garlic cloves, peeled 

    • Olive oil

    • Salt + pepper 

  • For the tahini drizzle:

    • 3 tbs. tahini

    • 1 tbs. lemon juice

    • 1-2 tbs. water 

  • Italian Parsley to garnish 

How To 

MAKE AHEAD! Preheat the oven to 250°. Halve the tomatoes and peel the garlic. Toss both with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs (if using). Spread the tomatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet seed-side up. Add the garlic cloves to the baking sheet, too. Note: The garlic cloves will likely be done before the tomatoes, so you may want to separate them before cooking to make it easier to remove them during cook time. Roast the tomatoes in the oven for 90 minutes. Check on the garlic after about 35-45 minutes. The cloves should be soft.

 Preheat the oven to 425°. Halve the yams. Using your hands, coat all sides with avocado oil. Roast the yams on a baking sheet with the skin facing up for about 45 minutes.

Drain and rinse both cans of the chickpeas. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the chickpeas, za’atar, chili powder, avocado oil and salt. Spread evenly over a parchment-lined baking sheet. After the yams have been in the oven for 25 minutes, add the chickpeas to roast for the remaining 20 minutes.

While the yams and chickpeas are roasting, mix together the tahini, lemon juice and water until smooth. Set aside.

Once the yams are out of the oven, gently mash the centers with a fork. Layer the chickpeas, roasted tomatoes and garlic on top of the yams. Drizzle each with the tahini sauce and garnish with Italian parsley. Serve immediately.

Health Perks

increased vegetable intake



immune boosting


excellent facilitator for digestion 

b vitamins (1,2,3, 5, 6), vitamin c

very high source of vitamin a (beta-carotene) 

Maintain water balance in the body 

aids in curing stomach ulcers

potassium (balances out sodium levels in the body)

HIGH IN DIETARY FIBER, phosphorus, manganese, copper 

supports blood sugar regulation 


Good for digestion

Supports weight loss 

Kid Friendly 

Antioxidants: anthocyanin 




LunchKatrina Kreimer