Kale. Chia. Quinoa. Goji Berries. These trendy super foods are blowing up everywhere, and while they do have many health benefits, to me they just seem inaccessible, expensive, and difficult to work into my daily routine.
Enter: the humble sweet potato. Lumpy, brown, and covered in dirt, but when cut open offers a brilliant shade of orange and is bursting with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A medium sized sweet potato offers more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and 50% of the RDA of Vitamin C. Both are important antioxidants that help fight free-radicals (hello beautiful skin), protect against carcinogens, and boost immune health. The sweet potato is also a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, as well as essential vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin. All of these micronutrients, along with the flesh’s complex carbohydrates, work together to help protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and wound/skin breakdown.
So, if you’re having trouble keeping up with the latest trends in super foods, there’s no reason to stress. Put a sweet potato in your weekly rotation to reap all of the benefits this non-pretentious root has to offer. For instance, I love to cook a sweet potato by poking holes in it with a fork, sticking it in the microwave for about 6 minutes, then slicing it open and topping it with pretty much anything I can find (example: black beans, salsa, sour cream, and cheddar cheese). For a side dish, nothing is better or easier than these sweet and spicy sweet potato fries. They are SO easy to make, and you can customize them to your liking. This recipe is meant for 2 servings but to be perfectly honest they’re so good I almost always end up eating them all by myself (and I’m not sorry).
Sweet Potato Fries
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: Anywhere from 20-30 minutes
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 dash sea salt
- 1 dash black pepper
- 1 dash crushed red pepper
- 1 dash ground cinnamon
1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (and wash your hands!).
2) Take the large sweet potato, slice in half and marvel at how beautiful the inside is (life metaphor).
3) Proceed to cut the sweet potato into quarters. If you wash the sweet potatoes beforehand, make sure they are VERY dry, otherwise they will come out soggy and sad. Take each quarter and slice into fry-shaped pieces. Allow for varying sizes and shapes to make the final product more interesting.
4) Place the fries onto a tin foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil. Then, sprinkle the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and cinnamon onto the potatoes. Use the amount of each spice to your liking, or, use your own ingredients like rosemary and basil to customize this however way you like it. Then, toss the fries with your hands until they are evenly coated with the olive oil. Arrange on the baking sheet evenly, making sure not to overcrowd any of the fries or they will again likely come out soggy and sad.
5) Place in the oven for about 14 minutes. Then, take them out and flip them over using a fork, and continue to bake for about 11 minutes. If you like your fries more crispy and burnt, keep them in for a little longer. If you don’t like them as crispy, go for a little shorter. I like a good mix and find that 14 minutes on one side and 11 minutes on the other works for me. Experiment with the time to find your happy place.
7) Let the fries cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy with your dipping sauce of choice. I personally like mine plain in order to allow for the wonderful flavor to shine through!
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 117, Total Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 972 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 13g, Dietary fiber: 2g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 2g.
How do you like to season your sweet potatoes? Have interesting ways to incorporate trendy super foods into your daily diet? Let me know!