With their vibrant orange color and wonderful flavor, sweet potatoes are a natural at the Thanksgiving table — and I don’t mean the kind served with the unnatural über-sweet marshmallow topping or the dreaded “candied” sweet potatoes from a can.
Fortunately, marshmallows and sticky syrup were not part of my family’s sweet potato tradition. Instead, my mother would sauté fresh sliced sweet potatoes with some onion, a little olive oil, a pinch of oregano and salt, and lots of black pepper, resulting in savory and delicious slices that were soft on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside. She served sweet potatoes this way regularly throughout the fall and winter months — not just on Thanksgiving.
As much as I still enjoy that original recipe, I’ve made some changes in recent years. These days, I dice the sweet potatoes and roast them with sliced shallots. For a special treat, I also roast a pan of thinly sliced kale to make crispy kale ribbons that add a wonderful texture when combined with the roasted sweet potatoes.
To dress this dish up further for your holiday table, try my special holiday variation: add some toasted walnuts (or pecans) and dried sweetened cranberries to the sweets and kale and toss gently to combine. The resulting dish, streaked with orange, green, brown, and red, will be a vision of autumn colors that tastes as good as it looks.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Shallots and Crispy Kale Ribbons (Serves 4 to 6)
You can serve these roasted sweet potatoes alone, with the kale, or decked out for the holidays with the addition of nuts and cranberries.
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 3 medium shallots, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- 6 large kale leaves, washed and dried
- 1/3 cup toasted walnut or pecan pieces
- 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch dice and transfer to a large bowl. Cut the shallot halves into thin slices and add to the bowl along with the oregano. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the sweet potato mixture and toss to coat.
- Spread the mixture in a single layer on an oiled rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and lightly browned, turning once about halfway through.
- Roll the kale leaves into a tight roll and cut crosswise into thin ribbons. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the kale on an oiled baking sheet and place in the oven when the sweet potatoes are about halfway done roasting until the kale is crisp and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
- To serve, transfer the sweet potatoes to a bowl and sprinkle with a few grinds of black pepper and top with the kale.
Holiday Variation: Add the nuts and cranberries to the bowl with the sweet potatoes and kale. Toss gently to combine. Serve hot.