Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

OK, so french fries are not a regular part of my diet. Deep fried potatoes are so high in fat and low in nutrients that I reserve this treat for special occasions.  My solution?  Oven roasted sweet potatoes.  

Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C.  White potatoes have taken a bad rap but recent studies show sweet potatoes may actually help lower blood sugar levels.  According to whfoods.com:
"Many people think about starchy root vegetables as a food group that could not possibly be helpful for controlling their blood sugar. That's because many people realize that food starches can be converted by our digestive tract into simple sugars. If foods are especially concentrated in starch, there can often be a risk of too much simple sugar release in our digestive tract and too much pressure upon our bloodstream to uptake more sugar. (The result in this situation would be an overly quick elevation of our blood sugar level.) What's fascinating about sweet potatoes is their ability to actually improve blood sugar regulation—even in persons with type 2 diabetes. While sweet potatoes do contain a valuable amount of dietary fiber (just over 3 grams per medium sweet potato) they can carry a very reasonable glycemic index (GI) rating of approximately 50.  Recent research has shown that extracts from sweet potatoes can significantly increase blood levels of adiponectin in persons with type 2 diabetes. Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced by our fat cells, and it serves as an important modifier of insulin metabolism. Persons with poorly-regulated insulin metabolism and insulin insensitivity tend to have lower levels of adiponectin, and persons with healthier insulin metabolism tend to have higher levels. While more research on much larger groups of individuals to further evaluate and confirm these blood sugar regulating benefits, this area of health research is an especially exciting one for anyone who loves sweet potatoes."

So let's hope the research proves to be true. These sweet potato fries are drizzled with olive oil (studies also show that a small amount of healthy fat cooked with sweet potatoes help with the absorption of beta-carotene), and then roasted at high heat to deliver a crunchy outside and a creamy interior. A bit of red pepper flakes add a bit of heat and keep this recipe "red or green?" approved.  Delicious, nutritious and, possibly, guilt free?  What could be better than that?

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
4 large organic sweet potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled
extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh Italian parsley chopped
coarse grey salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes into french fry shapes..as thick or thin as you like. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet ensuring they are in a single layer. Use two sheets if necessary. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, 4-5 passes of the bottle. Using your hands, turn the fries in the oil ensuring all sides are coated. Sprinkle a large pinch each salt and pepper over the top of the fries. Roast for 30 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle garlic and red pepper flakes over fries.  Return to oven and continue roasting for another 30 minutes or until fries are golden brown and a bit crunchy. (Thicker cut fries may need a bit longer, check every 15 minutes after the first hour). Sprinkle with the Italian parsley and serve immediately.

It is "potato" week at Food Network's Summerfest roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have a favorite potato recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one.
Blue Apron Blog: Red, Orange, Purple and White: Your Guide to the Potato Rainbow
The Heritage Cook: Fully Loaded Green Chile Potato Skins
Devour: 5 Ways to Prepare Sweet Potatoes
Feed Me Phoebe: Basque Tuna Stew with Peppers and Potatoes
Weelicious: Broccoli Cheese Patties
Domesticate Me: Potato Rosti with Pancetta and Mozzarella
The Sensitive Epicure: Salt Encrusted New Potatoes with Mustard-Mayo Dip
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Sweet Potato and Russet Pancakes with Chipotle Mayo
Red or Green: Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
And Love It Too: Sweet Potato Souffle
Taste With The Eyes: Ensalada de Papas a la Huancaina (Peruvian-Style Salad with Potato Cake, Egg and Yellow Chile)
FN Dish: Ease Out of Summer with Potatoes
What's Gaby Cooking: Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
Dishin & Dishes: Southern Green Beans and New Potatoes

My best,
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