Roasted sweet potatoes are delicious on their own without any help at all. But when you add a little real maple syrup and sea salt, they're amazing.
I've been working on a bunch of recipes for the holidays and wanted to come up with something as an alternative to sweet potato casserole or sweet potato pie. More importantly, I wanted to make a healthier side dish that had less white sugar. Both casserole and pie tend to be quite high in the white stuff.
I also wanted to make something that was fairly easy. As much as I like to cook and bake, I also like to spend a little time with my family. These roasted sweet potatoes take about 40 minutes to make, including only 10 minutes of prep time. Not bad.
Roasting sweet potatoes is a natural way to bring out the sweetness. Boiling sweet potatoes, the first step in making sweet potato casserole, really mutes the flavor of the potato, increasing the need for more added sugar and fat.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes 101
I really like making sweet potato fries - yet another version of roasted sweet potatoes - but putting out a dish of sweet potato fries on a holiday table doesn't exactly scream "festive," does it.
I've also made roasted sweet potatoes with parsnips. If you haven't tried this, you should. Parsnips are a close cousins to carrots, just white with a bit of a woodier flavor. They go well with sweet potatoes, so keep that in mind if you're ever looking for a little vegetable variety.
You can get a really nice caramelization on the roasted sweet potatoes without adding any maple syrup or sea salt at all. The sea salt does help to pull the moisture from the sweet potatoes, but it's not an absolute requirement. A good olive oil and sweet potatoes is really all you need to get them roasted nicely. Just an option if you're not looking to add any sweetness to this side dish.
Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
These roasted sweet potatoes come with a pretty big nutritious bang for your buck. Here are a few reasons you should keep sweet potatoes in a bowl on your counter at all times.
- Bone Health and More: Who would have guessed that sweet potatoes have a over 350% of the daily value of Vitamin A. Vitamin A can help vision, skin and bone health. This nutrient also helps support our immune system, which is perfect over the cold season in the winter months. Pairing sweet potatoes with a little fat, like the olive oil in this recipe, significantly helps your body absorb this nutrient.
- Antioxidant Protection: Some vegetables are better than others at protecting our body from all the damage it endures - both on the inside and out. Sweet potatoes are no exception. Think of antioxidant foods are soldiers that hep fight off the enemy, aka: free radicals, that harm our body on a cellular level.
- Inflammation & Obesity: Another really valuable quality of sweet potatoes is in what gives this tuber it's beautiful orange color. Anthocyanins are a compound found this vegetable that have a very powerful effect on controlling inflammation. The correlation between obesity and inflammation is quite strong. When we can control inflammation in our own body, we stand a better chance of combatting obesity.
Regardless of how you prepare them, sweet potatoes are a great addition to any diet - and certainly make for a great side dish on any table.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple & Sea Salt
Yields: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peel and cubed (about 3 cups total)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp sea salt + 1/4 tsp sea salt
(See notes for scaling this recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel and cube sweet potatoes
- Toss sweet potatoes in a bowl with maple syrup and 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Roast sweet potatoes on a sheet pan for about 30 minutes, or until the tops of the sweet potatoes are brown.
- Remove from oven and add to a serving bow. Sprinkle with remaining sea salt and serve.
- Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon maple syrup for each sweet potato. If your sweet potatoes are exceptionally large (and they can be), then add a little more maple syrup and olive oil. Add about 1/8 of a teaspoon of sea salt for every sweet potato. If you're looking for a more savory flavor, then simply salt to taste, but wait until it's out of the oven. The moisture is drawn from the sweet potato in the roasting process, bringing out the flavor of the salt even more. Be careful not to over salt.
- Use real maple syrup, not maple flavored syrup. Maple syrup is a little more expensive, but you'll end up using a lot less and the sweet potatoes will caramelize nicely. You also won't pick up any other flavor that might be present in the maple flavored syrup.
Let me know what you think of this recipe. I'd love to read your comments below.
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