Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos Recipe

sweet potato and black bean tacos | pamela salzman

Serious question:  Is anything considered a taco if it all goes into a corn tortilla?  Because if that’s the case, I have eaten A LOT of tacos, some typical and others not so obvious.  And my son, even more than I have.  Have I ever told you my idea for a book about feeding picky children?  I would title it, “Finding Your Child’s Corn Tortilla.”  This is because my son, aka Mr. Picky, loves corn tortillas and is much more likely to eat something if it’s in or with a corn tortilla.  Eggs, steak, roasted carrots, whatever.  The kid is probably the foremost expert on cutting edge taco combinations.

sweet potato and black bean tacos | pamela salzman

I, on the other hand, love corn tortillas for the same reason I love food in bowls — I love bringing all my foods together in one complete bite.  I have been buying sprouted worn tortillas by Food For Life for many years.  Sprouted grains are more digestible and the nutrients more assimilable than non-sprouted.  The texture isn’t exactly like standard corn tortillas, but I prefer the cornier flavor.  But if I’m feeling like I need to eat a little more lightly, I will use a big lettuce leaf instead.  Although with this recipe, I have a hard time getting the sweet potatoes from the pan to my plate since I have been known to devour them straight from the baking sheet.  You can even roast these as written for a simple side dish with roasted chicken or fish or put an egg on top.

sweet potato and black bean tacos | pamela salzman

Sweet potatoes are loaded with caretenoids, fiber and Vitamin C.   I think they could be classified as a super food.  They’re much more nutrient-dense than regular potatoes.  And they pair swimmingly with protein-rich legumes, whether it’s black beans or lentils.  Here I just doctored up some cooked black beans with some tasty spices and lime juice to boost the flavor of the beans, but still kept everything quick and easy.  I personally love to add hot sauce and cilantro to this mixture and my husband likes to add cheese of some sort.  Avocado and/or radishes would also be great here.

sprouted corn tortillas

I originally taught this recipe a few years ago in my breakfast class as an alternative to typical breakfast fare.  In a few classes, I served it with scrambled eggs and lots of hot sauce.  A lot of my students have been telling me that they’ve been making breakfast for dinner lately and their kids love it.  Great idea!  In the same vein, why not make less complicated savory dishes for breakfast?

sweet potato and black bean tacos | pamela salzman

I still don’t have my super bowl menu planned out, but if I do a taco bar, I will for sure have a platter with these sweet potatoes and black beans side by side for a vegetarian option.  And I’ll stash away a little bit so I have some leftovers for a breakfast taco the next morning!

sweet potato and black bean tacos | pamela salzman

5.0 from 4 reviews
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes or 2 large russet potatoes (1 ½ - 2 lbs), peeled (if desired) and cubed
  • ¼ cup unrefined coconut oil (if using sweet potatoes) or unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil (if using russet potatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 ½ cups of cooked black beans, or 2 14.5 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 sprouted corn tortillas or tortillas of your choice
  • accompaniments: sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, hot sauce or salsa, shredded Monerey Jack or crumbled Cotija, fried egg, julienned radishes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Scrub, peel, and cube the potatoes into 1-inch cubes.
  3. If using sweet potatoes, melt coconut oil and combine with salt, chipotle powder, garlic powder, paprika, and chili powder. If using russet potatoes, combine olive oil with same spices.
  4. Toss the potatoes with oil-spice mixture.
  5. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender and crispy.
  6. Meanwhile, place drained black beans into a saucepan. Combine with cumin, salt, and lime juice. Heat through.
  7. Warm tortillas on both sides on a griddle or skillet over medium heat, until pliable, about 1 minute total. Keep warmed tortillas in a thin kitchen towel.
  8. Serve potatoes and black beans with warmed tortillas and desired accompaniments.

 

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Muffins Recipe

whole grain sweet potato and date muffins | pamela salzman

I don’t know if you cooked a little or a lot for Thanksgiving (or maybe not at all), but were you like me wishing even a little that everyone would eat a bit more slowly?  I mean, that’s a lot of cooking just to be inhaled in less than 30 minutes.  I whispered to my husband during dinner, “please slow down the pace a little.”  And it’s not just Thanksgiving day that I wish wouldn’t fly by.  I would have loved to relax and enjoy the weekend a little more.  But the holiday energy can be kind of overwhelming.  Regardless, I had a really nice few days with my family, including my daughter who was home from college.  She actually was my assistant for the KTLA segment on Friday morning.  So sweet.

whole grain sweet potato and date muffins | pamela salzman

I almost posted these delicious sweet potato muffins last week, but I just couldn’t swing it.  Even though I have been making them for years during every season, I just realized that they would be a good vehicle for leftover sweet potato casserole.  They would also be delicious for a brunch, breakfast or after school snack.  My kids all love them, as does my husband who is not much of a sweet potato guy, but doesn’t seem to notice here.  I am a big sweet potato pusher with the family since they are incredibly nutritious.  They are so so rich in antioxidants, and so versatile.  If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed I even eat sweet potatoes for breakfast with a drizzle of almond butter and whatever fruit is in season.  Of course, they make great baked fries, are terrific in stews, stir-fried and roasted.  I love them.

whole grain sweet potato and date muffins | pamela salzman

When I taught these in my breakfast class a few years ago, I made lots of improvisations.  The most popular was adding chopped, cooked turkey bacon to the mix!  I’m not big on bacon, but it was the most popular variation that month.  Smoky, salty bacon is pretty perfect with the sweetness of sweet potatoes and the dried fruit.  As you know I am a huge fan of dates, but sometimes I’ll use dried cherries, cranberries (so fall!), raisins, currants, or diced prunes (so underrated!)  Once I added the zest of an orange which was a nice change.  Otherwise, these are a lightly sweetened, almost dense muffin with fragrant spices and little nuggets of dried fruit and ginger.  Heaven.

whole grain sweet potato and date muffins | pamela salzman

I think most muffins are best the day they are made, these included.  But they also freeze well, individually wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a container or a resealable bag.  One variation I haven’t tried yet is to make this into a loaf or in a cake pan and cut into squares.  I’ll try that next.  But not too soon since apparently I’m already behind on my holiday shopping.  Jeez.

whole grain sweet potato and date muffins | pamela salzman

whole grain sweet potato and date muffins | pamela salzman

4.0 from 1 reviews
Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Muffins
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
Adapted from Kim Boyce
Ingredients
  • 2 small sweet potatoes or one medium sweet potato, about ¾ pound total
  • Dry mix:
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 6 large Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped or ¾ cup dried fruit, like raisins
  • ¼ cup diced crystallized ginger
  • 8 pieces of turkey bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup plain whole yogurt
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (cold or room temp)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup (Grade A or Grade B) or coconut sugar or sucanat
  • 1 large egg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast the sweet potato for 1 to 1 ½ hours, depending on their size, until they are tender when pierced with a fork. The bottoms should be dark, even burnt-looking, and the juices beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool, then peel and leave whole.
  2. Lower the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 –cup muffin tin with unbleached parchment liners.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add chopped dates, ginger and bacon (if using) and mix until coated.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and yogurt.
  5. Add the butter and sugar (or maple syrup) to the bowl of a standing mixer. Attach the paddle and mix on high speed until the butter and sugar are light and creamy, about 3 minutes. (If using maple syrup, mixture will be lumpy.)
  6. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and half of the sweet potato and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute, until thoroughly combined. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. On low speed, so the flour doesn’t go flying everywhere, add the dry ingredients and mix until partly combined. Add the buttermilk mixture and mix until combined. Add the remaining sweet potato and mix until barely combined. You want to see pieces of sweet potato in the mix.
  8. Scoop batter into muffins cups (an ice cream scoop does a good job of this.)
  9. Bake for 35-40 minute or until tops of the muffins spring back when pressed. Take muffins out of tin and place on a rack to cool. Best when served warm.

 

 

Sweet potato-apple-ginger juice recipe

sweet potato-apple-ginger juice | pamela salzman

I have been in a bit of a juice rut lately, making the same ones over and over again.  The bad news is that this boredom with my juice caused me to be less motivated to actually juice, and therefore I have been missing out on of the things that puts a spring in my step and makes me feel healthy.  My typical juice consists of greens (romaine, spinach, kale, or parsley or a combo), celery, apple, carrot, ginger and/or fresh turmeric.  Very good, but the same formula day in and day out was making me bored.

sweet potato=apple-ginger juice | pamela salzman

My friend and holistic nutritionist, Elissa Goodman, who is also a juicing queen, mentioned that she juices sweet potatoes.  I honestly never considered juicing sweet potatoes.  Roasting them and blending them into a smoothie is as close as I have come.  But I was curious about how they would juice, so I went for it and was just pleased as punch.  Sweet potatoes are JUICY!

ready to be juiced

It’s kind of like juicing a carrot, with a lovely mild sweetness.  So I started playing around and created a new, very different juice, one more seasonal  for fall.  Sweet potatoes and apple go hand in hand, so I put those together.  But I personally don’t care for overly sweet juices, so I added some celery to create some more liquid without sugar.  And then I boosted the flavor some more with fresh ginger and a small nub of turmeric.  The first time around I made the juice fairly spicy, which I loved, but the hubby thought was too gingery.  The second time, it was total perfection.

The cinnamon is a really fun addition.  You can add a pinch of ground cinnamon, but I don’t love the powderiness since it doesn’t dissolve.  I had great results steeping a cinnamon stick in the juice.  SO, so yummy.

juice in progress

I made a huge pitcher of this juice for a breakfast meeting and I served it over ice  with a cinnamon stick in each glass.  It was such a huge hit and I was so happy to share something so healthful.  Everything in this juice is super anti-inflammatory, especially the sweet potatoes, ginger and turmeric.  Sweet potatoes are also very rich in Vitamin C, E, B6 and Beta-carotene, which is amazing for your skin, eyes and hair.

I am going to keep playing with this base.  I had a juice recently at Sage Organic Bistro in Culver City with grapefruit in it that was outstanding and I’m thinking it might work nicely here, too.  I’m also considering making a huge batch for Thanksgiving and adding a drop of alcohol to make a fun cocktail.

freshly pressed sweet potato-apple-ginger juice | pamela salzman

I haven’t had a ton of experience working with different juicers, so I can’t make a good recommendation as to which to buy if you’re in the market for one.  I have an Omega, which is very nice, but the feed tube is so small that it’s a little too much work cutting everything into small enough pieces.  I have the Breville at our house in Park City and that is a breeze to use.  There’s a lot of controversy about juicers that juice slowly versus fast and the vitamins being compromised, but as Kris Carr, the doyenne of juicing, says, “the best juicer is the one you’ll use.”  Williams-Sonoma has a nice selection of juicers here if you’re thinking about buying one.

I’d love to hear what juicer you have and what you love or hate about it.  I’d also be curious if you have a favorite fall juice.  I’m motivated again!

sweet potato-apple-ginger juice | pamela salzman

 

 

5.0 from 10 reviews
Sweet Potato-Apple-Ginger Juice
Author: 
Serves: makes about 12 ounces
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled (about 10-12 ounces) -- you don't have to peel the sweet potato, but the skin darkens the color of the juice
  • 1” piece of fresh ginger or more if you like it spicy
  • 4” piece of fresh turmeric (if you can find it)
  • 1 medium apple or Fuyu persimmon
  • 2 stalks celery
  • cinnamon stick
Instructions
  1. Juice all ingredients except cinnamon stick.  Be sure to juice the ginger and turmeric early on so you can flush out those juices with something high water like the celery.
  2. Place the cinnamon stick in a glass and pour juice on top.  Allow to steep for a few minutes or refrigerate the juice with the cinnamon stick until you want to consume it.
  3. Always store juice in the smallest container possible with little or no air at the top so that the juice stays fresher for longer.  Store up to 2 days in the refrigerator.  Separation will occur, so shake before serving.

 

Maple-mustard roasted vegetables recipe

maple-mustard roasted vegetables | pamela salzman

This is the first year that my Thanksgiving menu has not been finalized so close to Thanksgiving.  I am not freaking out yet, but I might need an intervention.  I come up with new recipes every year for the Thanksgiving classes I teach and then I want to include them in my personal Thanksgiving dinner.  The problem is, the last few years I have just added to the menu without taking anything off and I think I am now at maximum menu capacity.  Also, there’s no balance to a meal with four Brussels sprout dishes, now is there?  I keep asking my husband, “can we just take stuffing off the menu?”  And he looks at me like I’m crazy.  Then he asks me, “why don’t you take the sweet potato casserole off the menu?”  Then I look at him like he’s really crazy.  I think I’m just going to take my Thanksgiving CEO job a little more seriously and make the tough choices.  Some dishes just aren’t going to make the cut this year (unless I get a few more ovens and a few more hours in the day) and I am prepared to deal with the backlash from my people.

the veggies

all prepped

If you are still looking for a winner side dish or two to add to your Thanksgiving menu, then look no further than these delicious vegetables.  I think what every Thanksgiving table needs is a little more color, i.e. vegetables and a little more texture, i.e. something other than soft, mushy food.  I love this recipe because it’s more interesting than just roasting vegetables with olive oil or coconut oil.  A little sweetness from the maple syrup, some acidity from the white wine and a touch of tang from the mustard — how good does that sound?  No marshmallows, no canned cream of something, no swimming pool of heavy cream.  Just beautiful vegetables tasting like they should.  You can choose whatever vegetables in whatever quantities you like and they are all super nutritious so you won’t go wrong there.  But….I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t omit.  Love, love, love the parsnips, and the red onion and the Brussels sprouts.  If you’re trying to keep it simple, do those three (or sub halved shallots for the onion) and pick either butternut squash or carrots or sweet potatoes to join the party.

maple, mustard, wine, oil, thyme

ready to be roasted

A little advice though — one year I made 6 sheet pans of these in one oven — two pans side-by-side, three racks — and they didn’t caramelize as beautifully as I would have liked.  Too much vegetable closeness.  And they take a little time in the oven, so you need to plan for your turkey to rest for about 40 minutes and then allow 10-15 minutes for carving and that timing should be about right.  But if you are reheating stuffing, sweet potato casserole and other stuff, you’ll need to roast these veggies before the turkey goes in and then just do a quick reheat before serving.  That will work just fine.  And if there’s no way you have room to add these to this year’s Thanksgiving menu, there’s always Christmas dinner, which is less than four weeks after Thanksgiving.  Ok, now I’m freaking out!

maple-mustard roasted fall vegetables | pamela salzman

Shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below:

Maple-Mustard Roasted Vegetables
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil or unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • ½ pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into sixths or eighths (keep root attached)
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato (e.g. Garnet or Jewel), peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 10 medium Brussels sprouts, halved
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (I've noticed that darker sheet pans, even lined with parchment paper, caramelize vegetables better/more quickly than light-colored pans.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, syrup, mustard, wine and thyme. Make sure the maples syrup is well incorporated. Add all the vegetables and toss to coat.
  3. Spread evenly between the two pans in one layer and sprinkle well with salt and pepper (about ¾ teaspoon salt or more.)
  4. Roast vegetables until tender and slightly caramelized, about 50 minutes, tossing after 30 minutes. You may need to rotate the pans if they are not side-by-side in the oven or if your oven has hot spots.
Notes
These are just examples of vegetables that work nicely together and with these flavors.  Feel free to concentrate on fewer vegetables, and use more of them.

Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins Recipe

Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins by Pamela Salzman

I know time flies when you’re having fun, but these days I think it flies because everything moves at warp speed, whether you’re having fun or not.  And sometimes I think it’s not very fun when life happens so quickly, especially when you’re eating good food!  Eating is one of my greatest pleasures in life.  Thankfully I get to do it several times a day, every day.  But very few things annoy me more than having to rush through a very delicious meal.

Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins by Pamela Salzman

That’s what I was thinking the other day when I made these stuffed sweet potato skins.  I enjoyed them so much that I didn’t want them to end.  Need help with your math homework?  No problem!  Come back in 20 minutes.  Ooops.  Forgot to call my mom back.  She can wait.  I have a sweet potato party on my plate and I’m not ready to leave.

Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins by Pamela Salzman

Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins by Pamela Salzman

Cinco de Mayo, one of my favorite food holidays, is just around the corner.  I know.  It’s MAY in like 5 days!  I had no plans to include this recipe on the blog but I made it on a whim last week and I knew I had to share it with you.  Although I can say with 99% confidence that you will never find this recipe on the menu of any Mexican restaurant, so maybe it’s not Cinco de Mayo fiesta fare if you are having people over.  BUT, the flavors here are totally South of the border and it’s such a healthful and satisfying meatless meal, you should make it no matter what day it is.

Sauteed onions, jalapeño, spices and cilantro

If you are not a sweet potato fan (stop it!  really?), then maybe substitute a baked potato.  But sweet potatoes are sooooooo nutritious and I never feel like I need dessert afterwards.  They’re the perfect natural antidote to my sweet tooth.  The best part of this recipe is the contrast between the creamy sweet potato and the smoky corn and a hint of spice.  I made these about as spicy as my family would like them, but you can go as hot as you want.  Serve with a green salad or some grilled asparagus and you’re all set.  My girls and I loved them, and Mr. Picky ate half of one and said they were “okay.”  I think if I had let him eat it with corn tortilla chips, he would have finished the whole thing.

sweetpotato

Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins by Pamela Salzman

For those of you like me, who very much like to either prep some or all of your meals in advance, it’s your lucky day.  You can make this entire thing ahead and bake it just before dinner until it’s nice and hot.  Or assemble different parts of this ahead, like baking the sweet potatoes or sauteing the onions.  The cheese on top is very optional.  I had mine without, as did Mr. Picky, and still loved it.  My daughters added extra on top of theirs and asked me to tell you that they don’t think the cheese is optional and that if they were writing the recipe, they would double the cheese.  Okay, girls.  Have it however way you want.  Just don’t rush me.

Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins by Pamela Salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined olive oil, coconut oil or unsalted butter
  • ½ of an onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
  • ½ ripe avocado, flesh scooped out
  • 6 Tablespoons shredded cheese, such as Cheddar or Monterey Jack or dairy-free Daiya (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake sweet potatoes until tender, about 45-60 minutes.
  2. While sweet potatoes are baking, place corn in a medium heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Do not add anything else to the pan and do not stir so that the corn gets a little charred. Then toss a little and cook corn until browned and toasted on the outside. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the black beans to the corn.
  3. You can use the same skillet to sauté the onion and jalapeno. Warm the oil in the skillet and sauté the onion and jalapeno until tender and translucent. Stir in the spices and salt and cook for 1 minute more. Add the cilantro to the pan and turn off the heat. Toss to combine the mixture and transfer to the bowl with the corn and beans.
  4. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. Allow to cool slightly so you can cut them easily or use rubber gloves if you’re in a rush and you don’t want to burn your fingers. Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop most of the flesh out and leave the skins intact. I like to leave a thin layer of sweet potato to help these stay together better. Transfer the scooped out sweet potato to a large bowl and leave the skins on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Add avocado to the sweet potato in the bowl and coarsely mash together, but don’t make a puree. Add the corn, bean and onion mixture to the mashed sweet potatoes and stir gently to combine.
  6. Preheat the broiler in your oven and arrange the oven rack to the second level from the top. Scoop the filling into the skins. It might seem like you have too much, but you should use it all and make them nice and full. Sprinkle each with cheese if desired and broil for a couple minutes or until cheese is melted.
Notes
*If making this in advance, remove prepared sweet potato skins from the refrigerator and bake in a 350 degree oven until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.

Sweet potato casserole recipe

baked sweet potato casserole | pamela salzman

There are a few recipes I make on Thanksgiving that I call “one-hit wonders.”  That is to say I don’t make them on any of the other 364 days in the year.   I’m no fan of stuffing, for example, so I keep the masses happy by making it on the holiday and then we forget about it until next year.  My Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Gratin was in the same category for no other reason than it just seemed a little decadent to serve on a day that isn’t considered the biggest meal of the year.

about to roast

roasted and peeled sweet potatoes

baked, covered for 40 minutes

Just for fun, I recently tried a new sweet potato recipe which my kids absolutely flipped for.  Not only has this Sweet Potato Casserole bumped the former gratin out of the coveted spot, but my kids have begged me to make it multiple times since then.  My girls have even eaten it for breakfast and as an after-school snack.  I am crazy for sweet potatoes any which way and I am perfectly content with a nice big juicy one plain and simple.  So when recipes start adding cups of brown sugar with marshmallows or oatmeal cookie dough on top, I can’t take them seriously.  We’re going to try and keep things classy over here, ok?

simple, no-sugar, organic corn flakes

topping

bake covered for 40 minutes, then add the topping

But there was something intriguing about this recipe from Food & Wine that I had to try.   Despite the pureed sweet potato base mixed with eggs, milk, butter and an obscene amount of sugar, I saw potential.  The topping is what really had me since I just love a contrast in textures.  I could already taste the silky puree with the light and crispy cinnamon-nutmeg flakes and nuts.  Even after I cleaned up this recipe by cutting the sugar by almost two-thirds, the casserole was still absolutely divine and a perfect complement to your Thanksgiving buffet.  It’s also super easy to  make if you have a food processor and can be done in advance (Thanksgiving magic words!)  By the way, I have also made this recipe dairy-free with success by using coconut oil instead of butter and unsweetened hemp milk instead of regular.  Since it’s already gluten-free, everyone’s happy!

bite of casserole out of the oven

What?  Did you just call me “trashy” behind my back for using cereal in a Thanksgiving recipe?  Guilty.  Maybe I deserve it.  You know what I say?  Worth it!

Ah, Thanksgiving!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sweet Potato Casserole
Author: 
Serves: 8-10 (on a normal day, but probably serves more like 14 on Thanksgiving if you have a lot of other side dishes)
 
Ingredients
  • 5 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, such as garnet or jewel, scrubbed (these are often labeled "yams" at the market)
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter or ¾ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt + a pinch
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup whole milk or plain, unsweetened hemp milk
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup pecan halves or pieces, about 4 ounces
  • 1 cup cornflakes, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup maple sugar or brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender, about an hour, but could be more depending on size. Or you can also boil peeled, cubed sweet potatoes in water for 15 minutes or until tender and drain, but I think roasting the sweet potatoes makes then sweeter.
  2. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
  3. When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin and place potatoes in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Do this in batches if necessary.
  4. Transfer the puree to a large bowl. Add half the butter (6 Tbs.), salt, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, maple syrup, and milk. Stir to combine and then stir in the eggs. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Recipe can be made up to this point one day in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes.
  5. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Transfer the pecans to a cutting board and coarsely chop. In a bowl, toss the pecans with the cornflakes, cinnamon and remaining 6 tablespoons of melted butter, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, maple or brown sugar and a pinch of salt.
  6. Remove foil from casserole. Distribute small clumps of topping all over sweet potatoes. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes longer, until topping is golden and sizzling. Let casserole stand for 20 minutes before serving. ( I have also baked it covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 30 and it still turned out great!)
Notes
You can bake this up to 4 hours in advance and serve it warm or at room temperature.

 

Baked chipotle sweet potato fries recipe

Sweet potato fries have been quite popular in the last few years, usually being touted as a more healthful alternative to regular fries.  I can see why that is believable.  After all, sweet potatoes are much more nutrient-dense than white potatoes, especially if the white potatoes are peeled and have the majority of their vitamins removed.  But once you fry anything, even if it’s organically grown kale from your composted garden, it is no longer a healthful food.  This is especially true about food fried in restaurants, which use the cheapest oils, heated over and over and over again until they’re just big vats of free radicals and trans fats.  Yuck.   Dr. Mercola makes the bold statement that eating one French fry is the equivalent of smoking one cigarette.  I’ll be the first to say that Mercola can be a bit of an alarmist, but I do agree that commercially fried foods are among the worst things you can consume, even the beloved sweet potato.

My daughters and I are pretty obsessed with sweet potatoes, and not just because they are incredibly rich in beta-carotene (which your body converts to Vitamin A), as well as Vitamin C, manganese and fiber.  We just think they are super delish!   We are perfectly happy with a simply roasted sweet potato eaten out of hand like a cookie, instead of a cookie!  I’ve even eaten them the next day for breakfast with some yogurt and cinnamon.  But I just can’t bring myself to eat restaurant sweet potato fries.  Sad face.  An even bigger bummer is that I have attempted to duplicate sweet potato fries at home and I could never create the crispy crunchy texture of a real fry without actually deep frying them.  I have tried soaking them in ice water, salting them, parboiling, dipping them in an egg white wash (eeek!) all to no avail.  I hear tossing them in a little cornstarch works well, but I prefer to keep them a little more natural.  I have concluded that a home cook cannot achieve the same results in the oven.  However, you can still make very delicious, dare I say addictive, baked sweet potato “fries” that may even be classified as “healthful.”

This recipe here has some spices added for extra flavor, in fact I encourage you to lick your fingers after tossing the spices and coconut oil with the sweet potatoes and tell me it doesn’t taste like barbequed Lays potato chips!  After dozens of attempts of making baked sweet potato fries, I offer you a few tips:

  • cut the sweet potatoes into thin sticks, about 1/4 inch;
  • bake them in one layer and not on top of each other;
  • don’t allow all the sweet potato sticks to touch each other otherwise they’ll steam each other;
  • if you’re two pans don’t fit in the oven side by side, rotate them halfway during baking.

Even following these tips won’t result in fries like your local fast food restaurant, but they also won’t be soggy or limp.  Do any of you have some great tips for making baked sweet potato fries?

Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries
Author: 
Serves: 4-6 (or just me if I'm lacking self-control)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (sometimes labeled as "yams"), Garnet or Jewel, scrubbed (peeled if desired)
  • 4 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper (or less to make it less spicy)*
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon natural cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt + extra to sprinkle
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (or 425 degrees if your oven runs hot.) If you can’t fit two sheet pans side-by-side in the oven, place one rack in the lower third of the oven and another rack in the upper third of the oven. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes like French fries, about about ¼-inch by ¼-inch by 3 inches long.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oil and seasonings. Add sweet potato sticks and toss to coat well. Arrange sweet potatoes on prepared baking sheets in a single layer, evenly spaced. Sprinkle with another pinch of sea salt.
  4. Bake 15 minutes and flip potatoes over. Continue to bake until lightly browned at the edges and slightly crisp, but still tender, about 10-15 minutes. If you’d like them to be a little more crisp, put the pan under the broiler for 30-60 seconds. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Notes
*These are probably a 5 or 6 out of 10 on the heat scale. Cut the chipotle in half to make it less spicy or substitute smoked paprika to cut out all spiciness.