Roasting sweet potatoes and adding a flavorful Balsamic maple glaze is a great way to enjoy this highly nutritious root vegetable. They’re so tasty, so easy to cook, and I haven’t met a kid yet that doesn’t love sweet potatoes.
And I wasn’t kidding about sweet potatoes being nutritious – they actually rank #1 as determined by nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Sweet potatoes earned the honor by being full of dietary fiber, vitamin C, beta carotene, and vitamin A.
Trader Joe’s makes it easy to enjoy these because they carry bags of conveniently peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (look in the refrigerated produce section). During the holidays, the bags get bigger! Trader Joe’s also carries bags of organic sweet potatoes that you can peel and cube yourself – just make it easy on yourself by using a good peeler and a sharp knife.
When I do a sweet potato recipe, someone usually asks me “what’s the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?” Well, it seems that what we interchangeably call a yam or sweet potato is really a sweet potato. It’s a misnomer to call them yams – yams are an unrelated tuber that comes in all shapes and colors and doesn’t grow in the US. 95% of yams are grown in Africa and are more starchy and dry than a sweet potato. Some yams apparently can grow to 6 feet tall. You certainly can find yams here in international markets, but what you’re commonly used to eating is a sweet potato. The Department of Agriculture now requires that anything (incorrectly) labeled a yam to also be labeled as a sweet potato.
Sweet Potatoes with Balsamic Maple Glaze
- 1 2-lb bag cubed sweet potatoes (or peel and cut your own into 3/4-1 inch cubes)
- 5 Tbsp peeled and minced shallots (~3 shallots)
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup, divided
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 2 Tbsp oil and 2 Tbsp maple syrup until well coated. Spread the sweet potatoes on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Make sure they are spread out evenly so that they roast evenly.
- Roast sweet potatoes in oven for 20-25 minutes, giving a toss halfway through. Roast till fork-tender.
- While sweet potatoes are in the oven, sauté the shallots in a small saucepan with 1 Tbsp oil until shallots are soft. Add Balsamic vinegar and the remaining 1 Tbsp maple syrup. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Remove from heat.
- Remove sweet potatoes from oven and transfer to medium serving bowl. Drizzle with the sauce and toss to coat.