Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Basil Pesto

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Ever had that moment when you remember your freezer contains something amazing you made a while back? Last week I rediscovered the pesto I made in September and have been adding it to EVERYTHING. Initially I was worried its quality wouldn’t be up to par, but it’s been perfect.

This success to this super simple recipe is all in the details:

  1. Japanese Sweet Potatoes- my favorite. They are slightly sweet but not quite as dominating of a flavor as normal sweet potatoes. Baby red potatoes would work great here too.

  2. Caramelization! It’s all in high heat and placing your sheet on the bottom rack to get that that perfectly brown and crispy side.

  3. Even dicing. This ensures that every piece can get perfectly brown and tender at the same time.

You’ll notice that there are no specific quantities on this recipe- it really depends on how big of a batch you want to make and how many servings. You can see some rough estimates below if you need.

Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Basil Pesto

  • Japanese sweet potatoes (generally I’d say 1/2 potato per person), chopped into 1/2’’ cubes

  • extra virgin olive oil (generally I do 1 tablespoon for 2 potatoes)

  • sea salt (around 1/2 teaspoon for 2 potatoes)

  • pepper (just a pinch!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. There should be enough oil that the potatoes are glistening, but not dripping in oil (and there shouldn’t be any excess in the bowl). Spread potatoes onto a baking sheet pan.

Place baking sheet on bottom rack and roast until brown, about 20-25 minutes for the first side. Check after 20. Once brown on one side, shake the whole pan (lazy but works method) or flip the potatoes with a spatula (more precise, but slightly time consuming method) and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, until tender and brown on the other side.

Let cool slightly and then toss in basil pesto.

Basil Pesto
Makes about 3/4 cup (about 8 servings worth or so)

  • 2 ounce fresh basil (about 1-2 bunches- get 2 to be safe)

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 1 ounce pine nuts

  • 1 ounce grated parmesan or white miso (vegan/dairy-free option)

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup nice extra virgin olive oil (see below for why this isn’t exact!)

Place parsley and mint in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add in garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and sea salt and process again until pine nuts are ground completely. You may have to stop once or twice to push down the mixture if it starts sticking to the sides.

With processor running, begin to add olive oil. This is going to be a bit of a personal preference for how thick you want the pesto to be (and what you are using it for). I recommend starting with 1/4, checking to see the consistency, and then adding slowly and checking until you get the consistency you want.

This can be frozen easily! I like to use my ice tray to freeze the pesto into cubes, and then store in a freezer friendly bag (for at least a few months).

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