the best thanksgiving sweet potato side

i love sweet potatoes; it’s pretty hard not to. i keep discovering new things to do with them, like sweet potato breakfast hash, and making stock with their skins for soup– it has a rich dark caramel flavor.

what with the best vegetable season upon us in the EST– that is, FALL– oven roasting is the name of the kitchen game.

i made this yesterday for an early thanksgiving celebration with friends, and was really pleased with it. obviously, a take on a thanksgiving classic, candied yams. my sweet tooth is dead, so i wanted to play around with more subtle, natural sweeteners. this worked out really well and you should make it for thanksgiving! as always, there’s wiggle room for the amounts of each spice used here. when you’re buying sweet potatoes in the store, you can sub jeweled or other sweet “yams,” too. they’re basically the same thing.


not-so-candied yams


7 medium-large sweet potatoes, skinned and quartered.

2 T + coconut oil

1 tsp + sea salt

1/2 tsp smokey red paprika

1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

1 T dark brown sugar

10 dried figs, finely chopped

1 overripe pear

optional: 3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts or pecans, finely chopped

pinch of cayenne


pre-heat the oven to 400

halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise then into thick chunks, just over an inch or so.

use a massive bowl or large casserole dish (11X13 e.g.) to spread them out. you want to evenly rub coconut oil all over them; it might be easiest to melt the oil in a pan first, in which case add a little over 2 T. coat the sweet potatoes in coconut oil.

sprinkle the salt, paprika, cinnamon, brown sugar, and figs evenly over the potatoes.

grate the pear directly into the bowl. just pull of the stem and start grating. if it is in fact over ripe, the skin will be a little tough and you’ll easily be able to grate the pulp without grating the skin. * a note about the pear * overripe pear is REALLY sweet but in a subtle way. i love it for smoothies and overnight oats. i used a Bosc pear. it’s fine if it’s not overripe– you probably just want  to peel it first.*

toss the sweet potatoes with your hands or two large spoons so they are well coated.

transfer to a medium/large well oiled baking dish that is about 3 inches deep. i used a dish that was 11X13.

with other things in the oven, bake at 400 for 40 minutes.

alone, start at 375 for 35 minutes. the potatoes should be soft when poked with a fork, leave them in for 15 more minutes if they aren’t soft after 35. the bake time may vary depending on your oven so just check on them after 30 mins.

right before serving, top the SPs off with toasted hazelnuts. enjoy!


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