Are sweet potatoes the perfect blank canvas of foods? One could argue that a good ole’ classic Yukon or Russet owns the title, but a regular potato just doesn’t have the same depth of flavor and versatility that sweet potato has. The orange variety can jump between sweet and savory, simple and complex, with such ease that it’s almost eye-rolling kind of annoying when I see another sweet potato recipe because I think, aren’t we done with this vegetable yet? Then I try said recipe—grilled sweet potatoes with chimichurri, samosa chaat sweet potato fries, chermoula roasted sweet potatoes—and then I must admit, you win sweet potato, you win.
Especially this time of year when our consumption of orange foods seems to double and we all lean on the familiar cozy flavors of autumn and winter, the sweet potato becomes an even more regular staple. Personally, I like a little char, salty over sweet, and lots of fun textures with a sweet potato. I had fun in the kitchen pulling together different components and flavors, and voila! Sweet potato flavor explosion! Whether you add this to your holiday dinner menu line up, or use it as a weeknight dinner, these roasty toasty sweet potatoes with the perfect accouterments will be your new favorite cozy meal.
So what’s the best way to cook a sweet potato? After some research, I’ve recently landed on Nik Sharma’s method that utilizes both steam and then a roast that gives us that delicious char. According to Nik (whose scientific background lends such great knowledge to the why behind flavor and methods), the steam allows the sometimes stringy texture of sweet potatoes to breakdown, and the char helps caramelize the sweet potato which releases the flavor we all know and love. So by combining methods, you get the best of both worlds.
Once your potatoes are done cooking, it’s just about assembly. Spread out a layer of whipped feta—just toss feta into a food processor with some lemon zest, salt, and pepper—place the potato on top, and sprinkle on the toasted coriander, pom seeds, green onions and cilantro, and hot honey. OMG, this hot honey! Is hot honey the ultimate sweet and spicy topping? I think so. I use my favorite honey, and then mix in my favorite red chili powder from Diaspora, and wow. It’s the perfect punch while highlighting the delicious caramelized sweetness of the potato. Add a generous squeeze of lime and you’re in for a treat. It’s a blend of salty from the creamy feta, savory, spicy, a burst of tang from the pomegranate seeds and lime, and the heat and sweetness from the honey make this whole meal a perfect *chefs kiss*.
- 3 sweet potatoes, cleaned and cut lengthwise
- 1 tbsp ghee, melted
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder (less for less heat)
- pinch of salt
- 8oz block feta
- 1 1/2 tbsp sour cream
- zest of 1 lemon
- black pepper to taste
- for topping: hot honey, cilantro, chopped green onions, crushed and toasted coriander seeds, pomegranate seeds, lime juice, chili powder, finishing salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Add the sweet potatoes to an unlined oven pan.
- Mix the melted ghee, red chili powder, and salt together. Brush over the sliced sweet potatoes and place open face down onto the pan.
- Tightly cover the pan with foil and bake in oven for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, uncover the pan and flip the sweet potatoes over. Bake for another 25 minutes uncovered.
- While the sweet potatoes bake, add the feta, sour cream, lemon zest, and black pepper to a food processor. Whip until smooth and adjust taste as needed.
- To assemble, remove sweet potatoes from oven. Layer the whipped feta on the bottom, top with sweet potatoes, and desired toppings. Salt to taste. Enjoy!
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