Meatless Monday: Sweet Potato Fries

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We won our final game. We were the “winners of the losers bracket” as we so lovingly said to one another yesterday around noon as we were staggering off the ice. Well, my teammates were staggering…I was limping. This case of “lace bite” has got me down and out. I was almost in tears, sitting on the bench, during the first period. But you know what? I didn’t go to Minnesota to ride the bench. I suffered through as much skating and hustling as I could…and I do mean suffered. Pain is weakness leaving the body, right Nicole?

We were graciously granted a late checkout at the hotel which allowed us enough time to shower and re-pack our sweaty gear and all other belongings into our over-sized hockey bags (lovely, I know). Judging by the stares from people in the airport, our hockey bags resembled more of a body bag — both the weight of the bag and the size. Good news is, I think this is commonplace in the land of 10,000 lakes where hockey is the sport of choice for most children and adults. Does Minnesota really have 10,000 lakes? I need to Google that…

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We treated ourselves to a “local fare” lunch after our game and shower. Supposedly, we needed to try a “Juicy Lucy” (a cheese-stuffed burger). We didn’t get around to that, but we did enjoy burgers at this great little pub called Bulldog in Minneapolis. The girls chose tater tots to accompany their burgers, but me? I’m just not a tater tot fanatic like most. (By the way, I think tater tots are wildly popular in Minneapolis – who knew?). I know *gasp*.

Nope, no tots for me. I much prefer fries for a splurge…sweet potato fries preferred. The problem with -baked- sweet potato fries, however, is the lack of crunch. Personally, the crunch is what I love about fries and achieving crunch without deep frying can be rather tricky and trickier yet with the sweet potato more than the traditional baker or russet.

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I scoured the internet for the tricks of the trade behind a perfectly crisp sweet potato fry recipe. I think I found one solid suggestion — the addition of cornstarch. When the heat from baking meets the natural sugars of the sweet potato, moisture is released making the crisp texture hard to achieve. Cornstarch, however, helps to absorb some of that moisture while the olive oil helps bake to a crisp and perhaps more importantly, bind the seasonings to the potato strips.

Crispy sweet potato fry lovers rejoice!

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Sweet Potato Fries loosely adapted from Cookie + Kate

2 sweet potatoes, cut into fries
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of cayenne (optional)
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly mist with olive oil cooking spray.

Toss the cut sweet potatoes with the cornstarch to coat evenly. Add olive oil and toss again. Add the seasonings and salt; toss well.

Bake the fries 10-15 minutes, remove and flip fries. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes and serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings (about 1 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 189 calories; 5.3 fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 342 mg. sodium; 33.0 g. carbohydrate; 5.5 g. fiber; 3.0 g. protein; 12.8 g. sugar

Result: The cornstarch on these help to keep them crispy. The key to sweet potato fries is to cut them thin — a mandoline is very helpful for this task. Be sure to flip the fries half way through baking and adjust your seasoning to suit your preference. Enjoy!

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 No menu this week because I’m traveling. I’ll be in Cleveland speaking at the Cleveland Dietetic Association on Tuesday night…so excited, and honored! See you in OH…my old stomping grounds!

Be well,

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23 Comments

  1. Elizabeth
    April 22, 2013 / 6:36 am

    How thin is thin? Last time I made sweet potato fries (from the honey dijon salmon recipe), i cut them about 1/2 centimeter thick and 15 centimeters long, and they were *very* easy to overcook besides being hard to flip and not-crispy. I absolutely love the chili powder on them so I snarf them down anyways-I see a lot of recipes with brown sugar and cinnamon and thats just too…Thanksgivingy? And sweet.

  2. April 22, 2013 / 11:09 am

    Agreed, I’d take sweet potato fries over tater tots any day! Interesting cornstarch trick. Will have to try this, thanks for sharing!

  3. April 22, 2013 / 7:35 pm

    Just discovered your site. My girlfriend and I are making the Chicken in a Tomato Broth over Couscous recipe tonight. Enjoy Cleveland (where I am residing currently…. It’s still chilly here for sme reason.. But sunny.

  4. Kathryn
    April 22, 2013 / 9:10 pm

    I’m gla you enjoyed Minnesota. YES there are over 10,000 lakes! Lake time is a common pastime in the summer.

  5. April 22, 2013 / 9:32 pm

    Ohhhhhhh…cornstarch!!! I always wondered why I couldn’t get my sweet potato fries to be crispy. Thanks for the awesome tip! Can’t wait to try it!

  6. Alyssa
    April 22, 2013 / 9:44 pm

    About 12,000 lakes actually 🙂

  7. April 23, 2013 / 11:50 am

    Well, at least you guys can call yourself winners! Glad you had fun. And hope your foot feels better – I bet that’s painful!

    And it pisses Tony off when I order SWEET POTATO TOTS! Yep, they have those in our neck of the woods and they are amazeballs!

  8. April 24, 2013 / 11:46 am

    sweet potatoes are my addiction. I have never added cornstarch but cutting thin and spreading them apart- helps keep it crispy. will try cornstarch next. Also, sprinkling nutritional yeast at the end adds both texture and slightly cheesy taste

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 24, 2013 / 10:33 pm

      Ooo! I must try nutritional yeast on them!

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 24, 2013 / 10:31 pm

      Michelle: I’m so glad the cornstarch worked for you, too! 🙂

  9. Karen
    April 28, 2013 / 7:03 am

    How is it “healthy” to take something that has less than one gram of fat per cup, a food that is essentially fat free and MAKE it into something that has 30% of it calories from fat???? The fat that you eat is the fat that you wear. FAT IS FAT.

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 28, 2013 / 8:54 am

      I prefer to respond to productive comments, but yours has so many incorrect facts, I must reply. Firstly, the idea with fries and these being healthier is in the fact that they are baked, using unsaturated, heart-healthy fat, versus deep-fried. Second, 30% of calories -should- come from fat in the diet — 30-35%, to be exact. Lastly, “eating fat does not make you fat”…eating too many calories cause weight gain.

  10. Marci
    May 1, 2013 / 1:54 pm

    Do you think another starch would work, like potato or tapioca? We generally avoid corn.

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      May 1, 2013 / 4:37 pm

      Marci: I think it would work, yep!

  11. Roni
    May 2, 2013 / 2:02 pm

    Are the sweet potatoes un-peeled? Thank you.

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      May 2, 2013 / 2:10 pm

      Un-peeled 🙂

  12. Rachel B
    May 14, 2013 / 9:52 pm

    These were honestly some of the best sweet potato fries we’ve ever had. Another great recipe of yours! Thank you!! : )

  13. Rachel B
    May 14, 2013 / 9:59 pm

    These were honestly some of the best sweet potato fries we’ve ever had. Another great recipe of yours. Thank you!! : )

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      May 16, 2013 / 6:50 am

      Yay! So glad you enjoyed, Rachel!

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