Naturally Sweet Sweet Potatoes

Sitting here between these two holidays and all of their associated traditional dishes, I find myself scrambling pretty regularly to get some non-holiday food on the table between chores in preparation for family, friends, and food. Last night I ran an experiment that just may change my holiday table forever – it certainly gave us a pleasant surprise for dinner.

IMG_0439I love sweet potatoes.  We’ve gushed about this nutritious tuber here before, and found ways to work it into so many different meals and treats (breakfast, soup, more soup, brownies, cookies, dinner). I know that many families have a tradition of holiday sweet potatoes that include all manner of sweetener from maple syrup to marshmallows. I confess these preparations have rarely appealed to me, but I wondered if there wasn’t another way to go with that sweetness – to enhance the natural sweetness in a nutritious way.  Looking around the kitchen I spied an overabundance of ripening bananas and it occurred to me that I might be on to something.  A quick google search told me I could, indeed, roast bananas.  One small step for me, one large step for sweet sweet potato dishes.

A lengthier search landed me on the Mayo Clinic site with a recipe for roasted sweet potatoes and bananas. I made some alterations for simplicity, lower sugar, and greater likelihood of acceptance by the little people, and we were profoundly happy with the results.  We actually ate ours with typical burrito fixings, but for my next holiday dinner, I will definitely make a double batch to share.  Absolutely delicious, simple to make, sweet in the way that only natural ingredients can be and seasoned just for yum.

Naturally Sweet Sweet Potatoes – inspired by Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Bananas, served 4 as a small side; I will make MUCH more next timeIMG_0451

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed, ends and any odd bits trimmed, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 t olive oil
  • 1/4 t salt
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1/8 t cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds

Preheat oven to 450. Toss cut potatoes in olive oil and salt.  Place on baking tray (I lined mine with parchment because I am lazy) and roast in oven on middle rack for 15 minutes. While potatoes are roasting, mix orange juice and spices.  After 15 minutes of roasting, add the bananas and spoon the spiced orange juice over the lot.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes or so – until potatoes are tender and have browned.  Bananas will soften and become striped (this is strange looking, but normal banana behavior). Remove to serving bowl and serve with just about anything, including your favorite holiday entrees. Delish!

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