Wednesday, December 2

Recipe: Easy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Onions, Apples, and a Hint of Orange

Please dig in to this easy, healthy, delicious dish before I eat it all.

Recipe inspiration can come from anywhere—including an eleven-year-old magazine clipping that mysteriously appears in the middle of the floor. Actually, the only mystery is which cat knocked the clipping from one of the many precariously stacked piles of papers taking up most of the space in my cute but cluttered studio office (which you can read a little more about here).

I didn’t grow up in a sweet potato-eating household—not even topped with marshmallows on Christmas. Sweet potatoes were no doubt served when we went to relatives' houses for Thanksgiving, but I never noticed them because I was too busy zeroing in on the stuffing and drowning my dinner in gravy.

When I finally did find myself face to face in the kitchen with a sweet potato, I—for some unknown reason—peeled it, cut it into chunks, and steamed it. I then put the chunks in a bowl, mashed them with a fork, sprinkled them with lots of salt, and never looked back because salted steamed sweet potatoes are wonderful.

I also never looked forward; that was the one and only way I ate sweet potatoes for years, despite knowing there are probably a million and one interesting other things you can do with them.

Many people roast sweet potatoes whole, but since I haven't baked a regular potato in a couple of decades (and even then it was only in the microwave), I haven’t felt compelled to try this lengthy endeavor. More than 20 years later, I still have mouthwatering memories of the mini sweet potato pies I was sometimes lucky enough to score at Pack Jack’s BBQ in Sebastopol, California, but I’ve never bothered trying to replicate them at home.

One of these days, though, I really will get around to making sweet potato chips and sweet potato fries. I’ve heard they’re especially addicting with a dusting of cumin and paprika.

In the meantime, thanks to one of the cats and a 1998 recipe for sweet potato and apple salad from Cooking Light, I’ve finally moved forward.

Now if only the Organic Valley coupon someone batted out from under the loveseat the other day hadn’t expired back in 2002.

So what’s your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?

Farmgirl Susan's Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Onions, Apples, and a Hint of Orange
Makes about 3 cups – Inspired by Cooking Light

**Click here to print this recipe**

This easy, healthy dish requires only slightly more effort than steaming plain sweet potato chunks, and yet is ten times tastier. It’s nice enough to serve to company, although I prefer to devour it all on my own. The roasting does take a little time, but will make your kitchen smell marvelous.

Sometimes I let the simplest recipes become far too complicated. The first version of this that I made was delicious, but because I used a 7”x11” dish and wasn’t sure if everybody had that size, I started experimenting.

After trying five different versions that were cooked for four different amounts of time, in three different-sized pans, at three different temperatures, using three different amounts of onions and two different amounts of sauce, I finally came to one big conclusion: they were all delicious.

You can use pretty much any type of apple you like here. Galas are nice and sweet. A tart variety such as Granny Smith take a few minutes longer to cook and will stay a little firmer.

The vegetables really cook down, so you don’t end up with a whole lot of finished product. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, try them for breakfast with eggs and toast in place of home fries or hash browns.

As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients; they really do make a difference. Sadly, apples are #1 on the Environmental Working Group's List of Most Contaminated Produce.

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” to ¾” dice (about 3 cups)
1 pound onions, peeled and chopped into small pieces (about 3 cups)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar or agave syrup
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon finely chopped orange zest (or more to taste)
1 apple (about 7 ounces), cored and cut into ½” to ¾” dice

1. Heat the oven to 425°.

2. Combine the sweet potatoes and onion in a 9”x13” baking dish (I love this CorningWare French White dish and use it all the time).

3. Mix together the orange juice, olive oil, brown sugar (or agave), salt, and orange zest in a glass measuring cup. Pour it over the sweet potato mixture and toss well with a large wooden spoon.

4. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the sweet potato chunks are fully cooked. (I like mine really soft, but they tend to mash up a little while serving. For a prettier presentation, add the apples when the sweet potatoes are tender but not real soft.)

5. Stir in the apple and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir once more, and serve hot.

Didn’t get your daily dose of vegetables yet? Fill up on these:

Easy, Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic
Quick Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Parmesan

Caramelized Beets with Garlic

Radish, Scallion, Feta Cream Cheese Spread/Dip

Carrot Herb Rolls
(and a beautiful book for beginning bread bakers)
Hot Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip

Swiss Chard Artichoke White Pizza

Swiss Chard Artichoke Soup

Swiss Chard Cabbage Salad with Garbanzos and Cottage Cheese

Swiss Chard Tuna Salad with Scallions and Kalamata Olives

(Can you tell I’m crazy about Swiss chard? Besides being delicious, good for you, and ridiculously versatile, it’s really easy to grow!)

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© Copyright, the roasty to the mosty foodie farm blog where this recipe is low fat and packed with healthy things like beta carotene and fiber and antioxidants, but that can be our little secret—you don't have to tell anybody they're anything except delicious.


  1. My most favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is mashed, and then use the mashed sweet potatoes as a filling for a ham and cheese omelet. It is mouth-wateringly delicious.

  2. I love then at Thanksgiving with canned milk, brown sugar, cinnimon..maybe some coconut and marshmallows on top,slightly browned under the broiler. i just finished off the rest of them tonight! I also like to roast sweet potatoes kind of like you have here, but with maple syrup poured over them! Come say hi :D

  3. mmmm. Sweet potato fries with a little bit of salt. Or homemade sweet potato chips. Yum.

  4. I love them in Sweet Potato Casserole with brown sugar and pecans on top. MM MM Good!
    I have all the ingredients for your recipe already and plan to make it tonight, thanks

  5. You MUST try sweet potato fries! I toss mine with a bit of oil and salt and paprika and roast them for 35 mins...soooo delicious. You will kick yourself for never doing this before....they're that good!

    farmless girl in ontario

  6. looks amazing.

    I love sweet potatoes in all shapes and forms but mostly sweet until the other day I made a roasted sweet potato and chick pea number that would blow your mind.

  7. This easy way to roast sweet potatoes is one of my favorites:

    peel sweet potatoes, cut in half lengthwise, then cut each half into wedges about the same thickness ~~ dip wedges in olive oil, then dip or sprinkle them with chili powder ~~ put in a greased, shallow baking dish and bake at 350 to 375 for degrees F for about an hour.

  8. Two faves: 1) bake a whole sweet potato, slash and squeeze, douse with melted butter, lime juice and chipotles en adobo; 2) Bobby Flay's Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, totally worth the calories.

  9. I mostly bake and eat like regular white potatoes with butter. A couple of years I discovered a new *favorite* way...Curried Sweet Potatoes:

    5 lbs sweet potato
    1 cup coconut milk
    1 tbls red curry paste
    1/4 brown sugar

    Cook (bake, steam, whatever) and mash potatoes. Mix in all other ingredients If you want to get fancy you can put in a casserole, top with another 1/4 cup of brown sugar and bake until sugar is melted.

  10. Here's my favorite way -

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cube 2 large sweet potatos, cut into a 2 inch dice. Meanwhile, pick some fresh rosemary needles, and place into about a third cup of olive oil. Microwave the rosemary needles in the oil until they pop and give up their essence to the oil (about 30 - 45 seconds). Place the sweet taters in a large bowl, pour the oil over, sprinkle generously with kosher salt, stir well to coat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper so they don't stick terribly, spread taters on the paper and roast for 20 minutes or until the bottoms are browned. Turn each piece and bake again for about 10 minutes to let another side get all crunchy and fabulous.

    The insides are melty tender, the outsides are crunchy deliciousness. These don't last long at our house and whole batches have been known to mysteriously disappear when my sister and I get together. I hope you try them and enjoy!

  11. Love sweet potatoes, made the casserole that WimberlyFamily mentioned, so good. 1 year someone gave me several humungus SP so I made them into a cake for my mom's B-Day, it was good, lots of work and she said she is a pie person:) not cake. The fries are really good too, sprinkle them w/ olive oil and cajun seasoning and bake.

  12. I keep thinking of favorites:

    Baked sweet potato fries - tossed with olive oil, salt and curry powder. They'll make your house smell AMAZING.

    Honey-roasted mashed - bake them, mash them up with a T of butter and a couple tablespoons of honey (I like strong honey like buckwheat in this, but anything works), bake again (30-45 min? i don't know).

    And then there's always Maple Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie. I think I posted the recipe for it on here a while back(?). Can't go wrong there!

    Happy Holidays!

  13. "I have never baked a regular potato in my life" . . . I'm still stuck on this, trying to figure out how it could be possible!!

    Tell! --Diana

  14. Mmm, I just made these and they're great! Cooked up some lentils in onion/salt/pepper and sprinkled them on top when I added in the apples and they make a nice protein addition. I'll be carrots would work well in here too.

  15. sweet potoatoe fries !!!!! they are amazing!

  16. Slice them lengthwise in half or quarters, brush them with butter and barbecue them!! Sprinkle with a little salt voila. Absolutely amazing. Almost taste like candy. REALLY!

    Bonsall, CA

  17. I like to bake the sweet potatoes until medium soft. Peel and slice. Put into baking dish and using freshly ground ginger, dust it over the potatoes..just so you can see it. Slice lemons as thin as possible and arrange them on top of potatoes. Drizzle as much honey as you think you will like. We make ours pretty sweet and eat these for dessert.
    Bake until soft.

  18. My husband isn't a huge fan of sweet potatoes so I made your recipe substituting butternut squash. It was a hit!

    However, I do love sweet potatoes and especially sweet potato fries. I can eat a whole pan by myself if I have chipotle mayo for dipping.

  19. All these recipes sound great! My old stand by recipe is: Baked sweet potatoes Preheat oven:400* Line baking pan -w- foil Place 6-8 med.sweet potatoes, (just the right serving size) washed in pan. (leave a little room around each tater) Bake 30 min.---turn each potatoe over.
    Bake 20 min.---turn OVEN OFF
    Leave potatoes in oven 30 more min. Take out-Eat-w-lots of butter or your favorite toppings---ENJOY

    1. We do something similar, but without the pan. Just put the sweet potatoes on the oven rack. Im always a fan of having one less dish to wash.

  20. I usually have them baked, but I love sweet potatoes pretty much any way I can gey them. Bbq'd, fried, roasted, you name it. Can't wait to try this recipe.

  21. I just made this and am eating some as I type--oh, such good comfort food! Thank you!

  22. I've been thinking about trying this recipe for several years, and today I finally did, just adding cinnamon and pecans. Everyone agreed that it was delicious. Thanks!


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

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