Straight from the mouth of my husband, "Sweet potatoes have an identity crisis -- they don't know if they should be sweet or savory, or if they should be dessert or dinner." With all due respect to the sweet potato, I have to agree with him! They can definitely swing one way or the other!
Naturally, sweet potatoes are sweet (duh!) but they can be taken into the savory world with the addition of chipotle seasoning or when tossed into a black bean and sweet potato quesadilla. Yes, a sweet potato and black bean quesadilla did happen, and yes, it was good! Forget the quesadillas, most people associate sweet potatoes with brown sugar, butter, marshmallows, and candied nuts. So, I suppose this takes sweet potatoes into the dessert realm, even though we eat this so-called casserole with dinner. Let's be real with ourselves, it's definitely dessert. Whatever makes you feel better, right? So, you see, I understand my husbands frustration with this little orange gem of a root vegetable.
Regardless of their identity crisis, sweet potatoes make an excellent starchy addition to meals. Not only do they taste amazing, but they are loaded with beta-carotene, are heart healthy, and help regulate blood sugar. In an effort to balance the inner-war of the sweet potato, I created Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes. This recipe enhances the natural sweetness of the potato but doesn't push it so far into the dessert zone that it becomes a calorie bomb!
Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
1. Heat coconut oil in pan. Add sweet potatoes to pan, cook over medium heat for 25-30
minutes. (I like to cook mine until there is a nice brown crisp on the potato.)
2. Remove pan from heat. Add maple syrup and toss sweet potatoes until coated.
3. Add 1/4 cup toasted walnuts. Optional.
To toast walnuts, cook at 400 degrees for 2-4 minutes, or until fragrant.
This is an easy and healthy side dish! We eliminate the empty calories of the butter, marshmallows, brown sugar, and candied nuts, but enhance the sweet flavor of the potato by using pure maple syrup. 100% pure maple syrup is a pantry must! It is so sweet that a little goes a long way. You may as well kiss Aunt Jemima goodbye because once you go to pure maple syrup, you will never go back to the fake stuff. If you haven't used coconut oil before, this recipe is a great way to experiment with it. Coconut oil is a heart healthy substitute for butter. It sounds intimidating to use but it is so darn easy! It is a solid-fat so it must be heated to liquid form before use. You may be scared that you will end up with coconut-glazed sweet potatoes, but have no fear, the coconut flavor does not overwhelm the dish. In fact, if your family doesn't see the coconut oil on the counter, they will never even know you used it. If you want another beginner coconut oil recipe, try these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Coookies
They say, you are what you eat. Eat sweet and be sweet! Be good to yourself and those around you.
I hope everyone has a great first week of December. Seriously, 20 days until Christmas?