Baked sweet potatoes are a simple yet versatile side dish to accompany an array of fall meals. Baked sweet potatoes can be as simple as splitting them lengthwise and serving with a variety of toppings, much like you would with traditional baked potatoes, including butter, brown sugar, toasted almonds, or dried fruit. A savory baked sweet potato might include sauteed spinach with garlic, mushrooms and ricotta cheese or goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and pine nuts. There are endless variations so feel free to experiment with ingredients you have on hand.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
4 medium sized sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
Under running water, scrub the sweet potatoes to get rid of any excess dirt and dry well with paper towel.
Poke the sweet potatoes all over with fork and rub with coconut oil and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 50 minutes. Halfway through baking process, turn the potatoes. The potatoes should be fork tender before removing from the oven. Let the cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Split sweet potatoes lengthwise and slather with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Toasted chopped walnuts or almonds are also tasty.
*Note: Sometimes sweet potato juices leak from the fork punctures and can burn. Scrape off those blackened bits before serving.
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes: To turn this vegetable side dish into a hearty one, you can scoop the sweet potato flesh, being careful not to break through the skin, and combine with other ingredients. Then, refill the sweet potato skins with the mixture and bake at 350 degrees for another 10 minutes. I like to saute kale and black beans with garlic and combine with the mashed sweet potatoes. For a smoky flavor, add a pinch or two of cumin. Once the potato skins are filled with the kale and sweet potato mixture, top with Monterey jack cheese. You can also make a dessert version of this recipe by mashing the sweet potatoes with butter and maple syrup and topping with mini marshmallows.