Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Tahini Yogurt

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Yogurt

I’m not eager to admit it but every summer the day arrives when I grow tiresome of certain characters in my weekly vegetable box. (Ahem, okra.)  I can’t imagine displaying such spoiled behavior at this point in the year when my beloved CSA has yet to distribute its first box of spring vegetables and many of my northern friends are still shoveling snow. But I know the day will come when I will stare at a pile of okra and long for a new way to cook it, incorporate it, do something different with it, anything.  In years past, I’ve relied on my 1970s French cookbooks for long-forgotten, delicious ways to cook prolific seasonal vegetables such as squash and zucchini.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Yogurt

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Yogurt

I’m thrilled to have some new inspiration in the form of a recently acquired cookbook, The New Southern Table by Brys Stephens, which was nowhere on my radar until a few weeks ago when my friend Laura Kate (she, who recently gave a most inspiring Ted Talk) posted instagram photos from Stephens’ book signing. Not a week later, as serendipity would have it,  I received this rad cookbook, a signed copy no less, as a birthday present from my dad.

The New Southern Table is divided into 13 sections, each focusing on a different southern food staple: sweet potatoes, okra, collard greens, watermelon, pecans and others. Summer can’t get here soon enough, as I plan to whip up Stephens’ Sicilian watermelon pudding, which is described as having an “almost candy-like quality…with slightly bitter chocolate, crunchy pistachios and chopped with pillowy whipped cream.” Yes, please.  Thus far, I’ve made one recipe from the cookbook, the one I’m featuring today. I’d say that’s a telling indication I’m going to wear out this cookbook in 2014.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Yogurt

Today’s recipe: sweet potatoes dressed up like never before. Roasted potato wedges are brushed with cayenne pepper-flecked olive oil and served with a garlicky tahini yogurt. (Any leftover yogurt can be lovingly repurposed for a variety of other uses: a dip for fresh vegetables, a garnish for simple pan-fried fish).  The finished plate is topped with pomegranate seeds and mint (or parsley if you wish). I adore a simply roasted sweet potato, but this bold interpretation — with its varied and complementary flavors, colors and textures — is pleasing to the eye and, more importantly, to the palate.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Yogurt

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Tahini Yogurt

I made a few adjustments to the recipe to accommodate my personal preferences. I didn't use honey in the olive oil mixture that is brushed on the potatoes after they've roasted. If you want to add honey (or pomegranate molasses), mix one tablespoon in with the olive oil, lemon and cayenne pepper. I increased the amount of tahini in the yogurt by one tablespoon. Lastly, I used Greek yogurt and found, even when mixed with the tahini, that it was too thick to "drizzle" on top of the potatoes as the recipe instructs, so I dropped dollops of the yogurt on top of the potatoes.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into approximately 24 wedges
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)
1 clove garlic, germ removed and finely minced
3 tablespoons tahini
Sea salt
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Optional garnishes: chopped fresh mint leaves or chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat the sweet potatoes evenly with two tablespoons of olive oil. Spread the wedges in a single layer in a roasting pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender.

In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey (if using) and cayenne. Brush the roasted potatoes with the olive oil mixture. In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt, tahini and garlic. Add salt to taste.

Arrange the potatoes on a serving plate. Drop dollops of yogurt on top and garnish with the pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley or mint.

Print Recipe

Adapted from The New Southern Table by Brys Stephens

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