It’s April already, so it’s technically spring, but in much of the country, we still only have winter vegetables in season. That’s why today’s recipe focuses on the beloved sweet potato, a root vegetable and a cold weather favorite. This quick-cooking tuber has plenty of flavor on its own, but when paired with sweet and fruity coconut oil, its richness is almost too good to be believed.
If you’re new to coconut oil, you’re in for a treat. Virgin coconut oil has a texture similar to butter, and a naturally subtle coconut flavor that perfectly complements sweet and tropical foods. It’s now widely available in health food stores, and is widely considered a heart healthy cooking oil.
When you mix coconut and sweet potatoes, you’ve got a sweet, creamy, and flavorful treat. Forget the old Thanksgiving standby of adding marshmallows to sweet potatoes, because in this dish, they’re already sweet and caramelized enough. All you do is roast them in a little virgin coconut oil with a pinch of salt. That’s it.
I like using a cast iron pan for cooking the potatoes, because you can melt the oil on the stovetop and then go straight into the oven, but you can melt the oil separately and combine it with the sweet potatoes in any roasting pan. Serve these sweet potatoes as a side dish, or with some beans and sautéed kale as part of a vegetarian meal.
Coconut Oil Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut them into pieces roughly 1 inch big.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, and add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add the sweet potatoes and salt and toss to coat in the oil. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about an hour. Let the sweet potatoes cool slightly before serving.
Louisa Shafia is the author, most recently, of The New Persian Kitchen, a book of healthy Mediterranean and Silk Road-inspired recipes. See Louisa’s cooking videos and her schedule of upcoming events at www.lucidfood.com.