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Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Sauce

Perfectly seasoned with cardamom and savory spices, and then roasted until golden, spiced sweet potatoes are a deeply flavorful side dish that everyone will crave, especially when draped with a fresh cilantro sauce. Seriously addictive! Naturally vegan.

Platter filled with spiced sweet potatoes.

This recipe is the perfect example of why I want to help the whole world fall in love with veggies. It’s such a simple recipe — don’t let the time fool you; most of that is oven time — so easy, but packed full of flavor wrapped in the goodness of a sweet potato.

Carefully selected spices, a bright and lovely sauce, and the all-around awesomeness of sweet potatoes combine to create a dish that I just couldn’t stop nibbling on. In the photo below, there may or may not be several potato pieces missing from the sheet pan.

I admit nothing.

Collage of prep steps for spiced sweet potatoes.

What spices go with sweet potatoes?

Let’s start with the surprise spice: cardamom! Green cardamom is often used in desserts, and has a unique, very aromatic flavor. It’s botanically related to ginger, with a strong floral, almost menthol essence. If you think about biting into a disk of ginger, you’ll understand what I mean by “aromatic flavor.” It gets all up in your sinuses and lingers. But nicely so, not in a wasabi, brings-tears-to-your-eyes sort of way.

Freshly ground cardamom, coriander, and cumin combine with smoked paprika, chili powder, and turmeric to create a savory spice blend that brings out the gentle sweet-earthiness of the sweet potato.

Spice tip: green cardamom, corianer, and cumin as seeds and then grind them as needed. The seeds last a long, long time, and freshly ground spices are so vibrant and fragrant. An electric spice grinder is a great tool to have in your kitchen.

Then toss the potatoes with the spices, roast. Boom! {Wipes hands} Done!

To gild the lily, top the spiced sweet potatoes with a chimichurri-like cilantro sauce that’s herby and tangy, and beautiful to boot. If you have cilantro avoiders in the house, no problem: Try this parsley pesto instead.

Spiced sweet potatoes on a serving board

Root vegetables, including sweet potatoes, are easy for everyone to love, because they’re familiar, comforting, and raise no eyebrows about their vegetableness with diehard omnivores.

Fun potato fact: did you know that sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are not botanically related? Potatoes are in the same family as tomatoes and peppers, but sweet potatoes are actually related to the morning glory (yes, the gorgeous flower).

Sweet potatoes are so much fun to grow, as they vine along the ground, producing fast-growing runners with attractive leaves. The leaves, by the way, are edible (deer love them, lol), so growing your own sweet potatoes yields both the wonderful root as well as healthy greens.

If you’re wanting to add more vegetables to your meals, or you want to help veggie-avoiders get over their fear of things that grow out of the ground, or you just need a new preparation for the vegetable you already love, spiced sweet potatoes are the bombdiggitybomb.

Karen xo

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Sauce
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Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Sauce

Perfectly seasoned with cardamom and savory spices, and then roasted until golden, spiced sweet potatoes are a deeply flavorful side dish that will everyone will crave. Seriously addictive!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sweet potatoes
Servings: 4
Calories: 106kcal
Author: Karen Gibson

Ingredients

For spice blend #1:

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon green cardamom seeds*

For the cilantro sauce:

  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves (thin stems are fine)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon spice blend #1 above
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For spice blend #2:

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo powder or chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

For the potatoes:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes peeled**
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Make spice blend #1:

  • Crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder, to powder form.

Make the cilantro sauce:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well to coat the herbs with the oil.

For the potatoes:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  • Slice the potatoes into 1/2" disks and then cut the disks into fourths or sixths - whatever produces a roughly 1" piece. You want the potatoes to be evenly sized so they'll cook consistently.
  • Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the oil over the potatoes. Sprinkle half of both spice blends over the potatoes. Toss, then sprinkle the remaining spices. Toss again thoroughly, coating all of the pieces with the spiced oil.
  • Transfer the potatoes to the baking sheet, and spread them out evenly in a single layer. Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping the potatoes halfway through. When the second sides of the potatoes are golden brown, remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  • Scrape the potatoes into a serving dish, and spoon the cilantro sauce over the potatoes. Serve immediately.

Notes

* if you purchased pods, remove the cardamom seeds from their green papery husks. I usually cut the pods in half lengthwise with kitchen shears, then pop out the seeds. You'll need about 6-10 pods.
** I used white-fleshed Asian sweet potatoes in this post, but you can use orange fleshed (or garnet yams). Also, if you know the source of your potatoes and you're confident about the safety of their growing environment, you can leave the peels on; scrub them well. I grow my own with organic practices, so, peels on!

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Sauce

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