I bet some of you may be thinking, "What is this?" with puzzled looks on your faces. I know. I totally get it. This one is a bit odd, I'll concede. And I can't totally explain where the idea came from. I've gotten way into sweet potatoes lately, and this combines that new found love with some of my favorite flavors from Thai dishes I love.
I decided to just give it a try since it all sounded good in my head, and oh man, you guys, this is like a total flavor bomb (in a good way!).
The sweetness from the potatoes gets mixed alongside salty and spice from soy and red pepper flakes. But there's also a slight creaminess from peanut butter alongside the crispy edges of the baked sweet potatoes. And then you're hit with a few bright pops of flavor from the herbs. So good!
I recently re-watched Ratatouille with my niece, my brother, and his girlfriend (for some reason his girlfriend hadn't seen it!). And as I was eating this, I kept thinking of the scenes were Remy is describing flavor combinations and little fireworks are going off around him. That's totally what this is like to me—unexpected and delicious. 🙂
2 medium to large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons natural, creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2-3 tablespoons chopped cashews or peanuts
1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped mint
Spiralize and then soak the sweet potatoes in water for 10 minutes. You might be wondering why I did this in a pot. We are staying in an AirBnB all month, and although I brought some kitchen supplies and there were a few things at the house already, I am currently without a mixing bowl. Go figure. So, I just used a pot and that worked fine, although it's sort of funny.
Drain and pat dry. Coat a baking sheet in a couple teaspoons of olive oil, and then use the rest to toss the sweet potatoes in. Season with a little salt and pepper. Bake at 425°F for 12 minutes, and then flip the potatoes and bake another 10-12 minutes until most of the pieces begin to look crispy. Above you can see the sweet potatoes at halfway through this cook time.
Meanwhile make the sauce. In a cup or small bowl, combine the minced garlic, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, peanut butter, red pepper flakes, and ginger. Stir well until it turns into a thick sauce. During the last few minutes of baking, pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes and toss. Then bake another few minutes.
Chop up the nuts and herbs, and top the sweet potatoes with those once you are ready to serve. I love this all on its own, but I also think it would be amazing alongside veggie burgers or other main courses. I think it would be delicious to top a couple of veggie burgers with this—Mmm! Now I have to make this again this week to do that. 🙂
-The final dish will have some crispy pieces as well as some soft. It sort of reminds me of sweet potato hash browns if you've ever had that. If you want to make your sweet potatoes extra crispy (more like baked french fries), toss in a tablespoon of either cornstarch or arrow root before baking.
-If you have a peanut allergy or are avoiding legumes, I bet you could substitute the peanut butter for almond butter or other nut butters. I haven't tried this, and I imagine it would change the flavor slightly, but I bet it would still be awesome. So, let us all know in the comments if anyone does this.
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.