3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
Salt and black pepper, to taste
8 sprigs fresh oregano
2 tablespoons butter*
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups long-grain brown rice
6 cups vegetable stock
8 sprigs thyme
5 ounces (6 cups) fresh baby spinach, stemmed
1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Have on hand a large rimmed baking sheet.
2. On the baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil, garlic, red pepper, salt, and 4 sprigs of oregano. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring twice, or until sweet potatoes are tender; set aside. Discard sprigs of oregano.
3. Meanwhile, in a large flameproof casserole over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until softened. Add the rice, vegetable stock, and sprigs of thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender and the stock is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Discard sprigs of thyme.
4. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the spinach and cook, tossing constantly, for 3 minutes or until it wilts.
5. In a large bowl, combine rice, sweet potatoes, spinach, salt, and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Set aside half the mixture (5 cups) for the fried rice.
6. Divide the remaining pilaf among 4 shallow bowls and garnish with the remaining oregano.
* Use vegan butter.