whole roasted sweet potatoes with butter, muscovado sugar and black pepper

As most of us know by now January is a good time to make a fresh start towards eating healthy.  So,  I couldn’t help feeling a bit virtuous  while eating this roasted sweet potato for lunch one cold winter afternoon.  With every spoonful I was raising my levels of vitamin A and getting a nice boost of beta-carotene.  But in all honesty I was feeling good from the warm melted butter , the generous sprinkling of dark muscovado sugar and the freshly ground black pepper.  It was both sweet and savory and a nice unexpected treat for lunch.

Sometimes I forget about the many ways in which a sweet potato can be cooked and end up only eating them candied during the holidays.  I forget that a sweet potato can be treated in much the same way as a white potato; it can be mashed into a puree, tucked into an au gratin even cubed and fried like hash browns.  

So recently when I found I had extra sweet potatoes, rather than forget about them only to discover them much later shriveled and a bit rubbery, I decided I’d roast them.  Everthing tastes better roasted and sweet potatoes are no exception.   Their flesh becomes soft and yields a natural sweetness that will satisfy any sweet craving.  Yet, they can also be savory.  I like this combination of sweet brown sugar and the spice hit from the black pepper.   If you felt like it you could also drizzle the roasted sweet potatoes with  extra-virgin olive oil and really good sea salt. 

This had to be the easiest lunch I have ever made.  Even easier than making a sandwich because there was really no work involved.  Once I rubbed the sweet potatoes with some olive oil I simply popped them in the oven and let it do all the work.  I sat down with a good book and less than an hour later I had a nice healthy lunch that doesn’t need to be reserved only for January.   I have started keeping sweet potatoes in the house because I enjoy eating them this way and it feels much better than eating something that’s not so good for me.   Don’t think you have to eat this alone, for a more complete lunch or dinner serve it alongside baked chicken or any pork dish.

recipe:whole roasted sweet potatoes with, dark muscovado sugar and fresh ground black pepper

Note: dark muscovado brown sugar can be found in the supermarket baking section next to other sugars.  You can use regular dark brown sugar but muscovado sugar has a more complex flavor and can be used just like brown sugar, so it’s a good investment you won’t regret.


a few medium-sized sweet potatoes-unpeeled, depending on how many people you will serve, you can also just roast one

olive oil, for rubbing the skin

unsalted butter

dark muscovado sugar (see head note)

Preheat oven 400°.  Lightly rub sweet potatoes with oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until sweet potatoes are completely tender and the skin is crisp.

Carefully remove cooked sweet potato from oven and while still hot split the top and insert a pat or two of butter.  Gently squeeze each end of sweet potato to expose the orange flesh a bit and sprinkle with a generous amount of muscovado sugar and freshly ground black pepper.



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