The perfect sweet-yet-savory snack
Sweet potato fries are becoming increasingly popular and no wonder – they are a fantastic choice for when you are craving something salty and sweet, but are still full of plant-based nutritional goodness.
These fries are crispy on the outside, soft in the middle and perfect for dipping or serving alongside your main meal.
The paprika, cinnamon, and thyme seasoning is sophisticated enough for grown-up comfort food, but so deliciously tasty that children will love them too. If you are looking to introduce different vegetables to younger kids or just to add in an extra serving of vegetables, these are a great option.
Are sweet potato fries healthier than regular fries?
Sweet potato is often regarded as a healthier alternative to white potato, but is this actually true?
Evidence suggests that one medium sized sweet potato contains over 400% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin A, whereas a white potato contains only 1%. Sweet potatoes also contain high amounts of vitamin C as well as traces of calcium, potassium, and iron, and are very high in fiber which helps to release energy slowly.
While there’s nothing wrong with eating white potatoes, the bright orange coloring of sweet potato points to its high beta-carotene content, which raises the amount of vitamin A in our blood. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that contributes to eye health, reduces inflammation, and promotes healthy skin, amongst many other things. Serving sweet potatoes with a little fat, such as the olive oil in these fries, helps to release the benefits associated with its high beta-carotene content.
So there are many health benefits to choosing a sweet potato fry. Going for a homemade baked wedge over a traditional fried version means extra nutrition and lower calories, without sacrificing flavor.
How to bake perfect sweet potato fries
You don’t need a fryer to make your own fries, and in fact, these are not even fried. All you need to do is chop up a couple of sweet potatoes, toss them in some oil and seasoning of your choice, and bake them in the oven until they’re ready.
The secret to achieving that perfect crispy coating and a center that is tender but not soggy, is to use a high heat so any moisture evaporates. You’ll also want to cut the fries to the same size so they cook evenly. Spreading them out evenly on the baking tray will give them room to bake without steaming. Try not to not turn them too many times, so the outside has time to crisp up. If you leave them to stand for a few minutes before serving, they will ‘set’ without going limp.
You can vary the seasoning – instead of paprika and cinnamon, how about roasted garlic and chili flakes? Or honey and sea salt? Coconut oil also works well as a stand-in for olive oil.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries (serves 2 as a side dish)
2 sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cinnamon
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 420°F / 400°F fan / Gas 7.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and slice into chunky strips.
- Spread the sweet potato fingers out on a baking tray, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over the paprika, cinnamon and thyme, and season to taste.
- Using your hands, toss the fries to ensure they are all well covered in seasoning.
- Put the tray in the oven for about 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them to check they are not baking too quickly, and give the tray a shake a couple of times to avoid sticking.
- Serve alongside any main dish, or with a dip as a snack.
- You can leave the peel on if you prefer a more rustic fry. You can also cut into larger chunks for a wedge rather than a fry.
- While this recipe uses paprika and cinnamon, other seasonings that work really well include cayenne pepper, chili flakes, roasted garlic, honey, or simply drizzled olive oil and salt and pepper.
- These fries are delicious served with yogurt dip, guacamole, salsa or hummus.
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