Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's What's For Lunch: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

My youngest daughter eats so many sweet potatoes that she started turning orange. I'm really not kidding. At her one-year check-up, her pediatrician walked in and said, "I see someone likes her orange veggies."

I was perplexed until she explained that her orange "hue" was called Carotenemia and is common in young children who eat a lot of orange vegetables. (I thought it was just her coloring, thinking she was what people called warm.)

So twice a week, I roast three huge sweet potatoes in the oven for her by simply setting the oven to 425 degrees, lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil and poking some holes in the sweet potatoes with a knife or fork.

At the same time, I've been scrounging around lately for lunch because I haven't made any bread and have been short of time. One day the stars, as they say, must have been aligned. I was taking the sweet potatoes out of the oven at the same time I thinking about ransacking the refrigerator for something to eat and it occurred to me: Duh. Eat some sweet potatoes; they're like the best vegetable out there for you to eat (I'm not making that up).

And sweet potatoes are so good and soft just roasted that all you need to do is scoop out the flesh, add a teeny bit of butter and salt and you've got yourself a meal. It's become my go-to lunch these days. One thing I did add for some texture are some pecans I "candied" (with a bit of maple syrup) that really should be bottled up and SOLD because they are so good.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes


3 sweet potatoes (or however many you want; one per person I say)
1 teaspoon butter (optional)
Dash salt
Candied pecans (optional)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (do this as they start to leak some black sugary substance all over that I imagine would not be fun to clean). Line up sweet potatoes and pierce holes all over with a fork or knife. This will allow the potatoes to breath and not explode all over your oven.

Put them in the oven for about an hour. I use my nose with this one. Whenever I start to smell them, I check on them and if they are oozing black foam all over the baking sheet, they are done.

I have found the more goo, the softer and sweeter they are; it must have something to do with the sugars. Anyhow, take them out and slice them open down the middle, pulling back the skin to expose the flesh.

These guys are hot, so allow them to cool for a bit. When you think they are cool enough to touch, mush the flesh around with a fork just to get any lumps out.

Then scoop out the flesh and mix with butter and salt (if you prefer), top with candied pecans and enjoy!

Maple Syrup Candied Pecans


1 cup pecans, quartered
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt to taste
Cinnamon to taste
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut pecan meats in quarters and place on the baking sheet.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup over the pecans and toss. (Tip: Spray your tablespoon with cooking spray before putting the maple syrup in and it will slide right off.) Sprinkle with salt. Put in oven for five minutes, careful to watch so they don't burn.

After five minutes, take them out and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of maple syrup. Toss them all together again. Put them back in the oven for one minute.

Take them out and immediately sprinkle with salt and cinnamon. Put them on top of your sweet potatoes or just eat them, but be careful: These are really, really good.

Store them in an airtight container.

So you've got a yummy lunch packed with beta carotene, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. The pecans add rich antioxidants. Add protein (string cheese, anyone?) and you've got yourself a pretty well-rounded meal!

P.S. This page has been linked to Amy's Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.


  1. I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow! :0

  2. You and me both! My husband too...and he doesn't exactly beg for vegetables every day!

  3. Just made those candied pecans and you weren't kidding!

  4. I know. I entertained the idea of making some tonight to just snack on, but I was too tired...knitting won!


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