Recipe Roundup: Sweet Potatoes, From Appetizer to Dessert

photo 2

Last week I made a trip to a fruit stand and picked up a few too many locally-grown sweet potatoes.  The tendency to overbuy was something I warned about in my previous post about shopping at farmers’ markets and fruit stands (probably because I’m guilty of it on most shopping trips).  But I had them, and I wanted to make something delicious.  Having a bounty of sweet potatoes isn’t really a bad thing considering all of their healthy properties (high in fiber, all sorts of vitamins, potassium, and iron).  I opted to make some oven-baked sweet potato fries to snack on while I watched movies on a rainy afternoon.  Below are my favorite ways to use sweet potatoes, from appetizers to dessert.

  1. Savoring the Thyme’s Baked Sweet Potato French Fries.  They are crispy, salty, and cheesy, and healthier than traditional fries (you know, the kind that are actually fried).  These pair well with outdoor grilling, kids like them, and you can add your favorite dipping sauces.
  2. Roasted Grape, Goat Cheese, and Honey Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by How Sweet It Is.  This is one of my favorite side dishes of all times.  Roasted grapes and goat cheese add a huge punch of flavor, and the honey rounds out the sweetness.  Sometimes I make this as a casserole by scooping out the insides of the sweet potatoes and spreading them inside of a casserole dish.  Yum.  Just yum.
  3. Cookie and Kate’s Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili.  It’s satisfying enough for both my vegetarian and omnivorous friends, so it’s one of my go-to recipes for game nights and get-togethers.  I’ve made it in my crockpot before, but cut out the tomato liquid and reduced broth to one cup.
  4. A Family Feast’s Sweet Potato Risotto.  Sweet potatoes make the taste and texture of risotto rich and savory.  I normally use beef stock for risotto, but this uses vegetable stock and makes for a great vegetarian option.
  5. Love and Olive Oil’s Sweet Potato Layer Cake with Molasses Buttercream.  This is such a beautiful AND delicious spice cake (seriously, click the link above and see for yourself).  The only extra labor is roasting the sweet potatoes, which you can do the day before and then store them in the refrigerator.
Recipe Roundup: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Risotto

Do you have a favorite recipe that features sweet potatoes?  Please share by commenting below, or send me a tweet (@southernbeets)!


Recipe Roundup: Sweet & Savory Beets

Recipe Roundup: Sweet and Savory Beets| southernbeets

Golden Beet Salad

Earlier, I posted my simple method for roasting beets without making a mess.  I love eating them with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt, but sometimes I like to dress them up.  When I’m dining out, I see them featured most often in salads.  But their versatility and brilliant color make them an unsuspecting star in main dishes and desserts.  Here are some beautiful food blogs that feature beets at their best.

  1. Love & Lemon’s Roasted Beet Pear, & Walnut Salad.   Pears and beets pair well together (no pun intended) since they’re both ‘meaty’ in texture and mild in flavor.  Feta and walnuts round out this balanced salad with a honey walnut vinaigrette.  If you want a heartier salad, this recipe has quinoa as an optional add-in.
  2. Baked Bree’s Roasted Beet and Orange Salad.  The mild and slightly sweet flavors of roasted beets show off the sweet and tart flavors of citrus.  You can use a mix of red and golden beets to make this a colorful salad for summer.  The parsley adds some contrast in color, which could easily be substituted with microgreens.
  3. Delicious Shots’ Homemade Beet Pasta.  Ingredients are often used in pasta to add color (such as spinach, squid ink, or pumpkin).  Adding roasted beets to pasta produces a beautiful red pasta.
  4. Minimalist Baker’s Fudgy Vegan Beet Cupcakes.  This is a one-bowl dessert (yay for fewer dishes to clean!), and the beets add to the rich dark color.  The author PROMISES they taste delicious and chocolate-y, and not a thing like beets.
  5. Joy the Baker’s Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting.  I absolutely love what beets do for the frosting of this beautiful cake.  The layers have a deep chocolate color, and the frosting is dark pink.  This not-too-sweet recipe may become my favorite chocolate cake for the lovely coloring alone.
  6. Design Love Fest’s Citrus Shortbread with Beet Glaze.  These hand-dipped cookies are simple and beautiful, and I’m going to keep them in mind for Valentine’s Day.
Recipe Roundup: Sweet and Savory Beets| southernbeets

Whole Roasted Beet Salad

Do you have a favorite recipe that features beets?  Please share by commenting below, or send me a tweet (@southernbeets)!

How to Roast [Southern] Beets Without Making a Mess

Beet salad is so hot right now.  It seems to be on the menu of every New American restaurant, at least.  I never liked beets until I tried these trendy roots roasted in a salad.  Before then, I had only had beets pickled, which was my mom’s favorite but too acidic for me as a kid (I didn’t really like pickled anything until I was in my late 20’s).  I started roasting beets along with my carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes when I roasted chicken.  When I came across this video on How to Roast Beets the Easy Way, I gave it a try and have been making my own roasted beet salad ever since.

Buying:  Most grocery stores stock beets, but I try to buy mine from the farmers’ market when they’re in season.  The farmer I buy my beets from and the narrator of the video (above) swear by cutting the greens from the beets as soon as possible to preserve the sweetness and freshness of the beet.

Preparing:  Once you get your beets home, scrub and rinse them to get rid of any dirt.  Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer peel, and cut off the top (where the stem was attached).  Use a paper towel to blot off any extra water.

Roasting:  Place the prepared beets on a large sheet of aluminum foil.   Drizzle with coconut or grapeseed oil (something with a high smoke point, so save the olive oil for drizzling over after they roast), sprinkle with sea salt, then cover with another piece of aluminum foil and seal well.  The goal is to make an airtight pocket for the beets to roast in.  Place the beet pocket in a baking pan with sides (in case anything leaks out), and place in a 425-degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the size of the beets).  You’ll know they’re done if you can easily prick them with a fork.  And the cleanup?  Crumple up the aluminum foil and give a quick hand wash to the pan, then you’re done!  When you slice the beets, however, your hands and the cutting board may remind you of Dexter‘s workspace.

Let the beets cook before slicing, and store in the refrigerator if you don’t eat them right away.  I eat them plain sometimes, or make them into a salad with spinach and blue cheese, watermelon and feta, or pears and sliced almonds.

The easy way to roast beets without all the mess| southernbeets

The easy way to roast beets without all the mess.

Do you have a favorite use for roasted beets?  Or a recipe to share?  Comment below or send me a Tweet (@southernbeets)!