Sweet potatoes are a nutritious fall treat. Rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A, B, and C it makes for a great side dish to any meal. The starchy goodness is complimented by subtle sweetness that really takes off when highlighted the right way. I got 3 pretty big sweet potatoes in our CSA this week that I knew I couldn’t eat all by myself, so I had to find a way to disguise them into something my husband would eat. Roasting the potatoes is an easy way to cook them, and it brings out the natural sweetness in the vegetables. I also learned that baking sweet potatoes increases the Vitamin C content, go figure. To sweeten I debated between using my traditional go-to brown sugar or maple syrup. I went the maple syrup route as I keep hearing it is the new “healthy sugar” of choice.
I am not a fan of going full-sweet when making dinner sides, so to keep the savory touch I roasted with leeks and put a few sprigs of thyme on top. Usually, I remove thyme from the stem and stir it into my dishes, but I so often see in recipes that the thyme is used whole to add flavor then removed. Sometimes the small leaves become bitter while roasting, so I kept the stems attached and removed the sprigs just prior to eating. I was surprised at how the flavor incorporated so well without actually remaining in the finished product. To round out the flavors I mixed in a few dashes of ground ginger. This side smelt like thanksgiving while roasting, maybe it will make an appearance on the thanksgiving table this year.
-2 Large Sweet Potatoes, washed and diced with skin on
-1 large leek, diced into 1/2-1″ pieces
-2 Tbsp of oil (I used grape seed oil, you can use whatever you prefer)
-salt and pepper to taste
-2-3 dashes of ground ginger
-2-3 Tbsp of high quality maple syrup
-3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Prepare potatoes and leeks and place into oven safe dish. Drizzle with olive oilthen season with salt, pepper, and ground ginger.
- Mix well then place sprigs of thyme on top, drizzle with maple syrup and an additional dash of salt.
- Roast in the oven at 400F for 45 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, stir once during roasting.
- Remove thyme sprigs after cooking.
Sometimes a side calls for a flair of sweet instead of savory. Today I made a marinated pork tenderloin and decided it was just the dish for a little touch of sweetness. I found an adorable squash at the farmers market last month, and as the season goes on I have decided to remove it from the decoration basket to serve for dinner. It is called a sweet momma squash, looks like a larger and more plump acorn squash…unfortunately I did not take a picture before cutting it. It tastes similar to acorn squash and has the same texture qualities.
1 sweet momma squash (or acorn squash)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp coconut milk
1. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Slice into wedges 1-2 inches thick.
2. Spray lightly with olive oil and roast for 10 minutes in the oven at 400 F.
3. Remove from oven and coat with mixture of brown sugar, melted butter, and coconut milk on both cut sides. Return to oven and roast for another 10-15 minutes until tender.
The skins of the squash got really tender so I ate the whole thing. If the skins don’t get soft enough or it weirds you out too much, just go for the fleshy center .
It’s true, everything is better with bacon. It’s that time of year again that roasting vegetables becomes an acceptable alternative to grilling vegetables. Roasting root vegetables is a good way to sweeten up the flavor and they look so pretty on the plate. Beets and cauliflower have a nice contrasting color and when roasted they compliment each other very well.
– 2-3 large beets washed and cut into small pieces.
– 1/2 head of cauliflower washed and cut into small pieces.
– 1/2 sweet onion sliced
– 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
– 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, center stem removed
– 4 pieces of bacon cooked and cut into small pieces
– 1 Tbsp of reserved bacon grease
-salt and pepper
1. Gently mix together in a large bowl the beets, cauliflower, onion, garlic, thyme, and bacon with bacon grease and a drizzle of olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Spread the vegetables out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 23-30 minutes, stirring once. Depending on how large you cut the pieces, the time may be longer. Make sure the beets are easily pierced with a fork before serving.
As the beets roast they will give off a lot of color, so be careful not to splash your clothing when flipping or serving!