Whitesburg KY

Sweet potato, carrot dish sparkles with vinaigrette

Roasted Sweet Potato and Carrots in Quick Soy Sauce Marinade. (AP Photo)

Roasted Sweet Potato and Carrots in Quick Soy Sauce Marinade. (AP Photo)

Starchy sides are a mainstay of the classic American dinner. It’s easy to get complacent and rely on a trusty, if unimaginative, rotation of mealtime regulars: rice, potatoes, noodles.

The problem with serving essentially the same (white) thing over and over is that we are missing an opportunity to bring a variety of nutrients to the table in that starchy side. And we are missing out on the joys of new colors and flavors if we just stick to the stuff that looks and tastes remarkable similar. So why not add a few colorful and interesting options to the dinner starch repertoire?

Sweet potatoes are a great start, but also consider vegetables like peas, corn, winter squashes (such as spaghetti, acorn and butternut), and sweet root vegetables like carrots and parsnips as potential stand-ins for rice or pasta.

One of my favorite ways to prepare these starchy sides in colder months is to toss them in a quick vinaigrette and then roast. The vinaigrette can be quite simple: even vinegar, salt and pepper and a bit of oil will perk up the flavor.

My recipe today brings together both a starch and a root vegetable. Red-fleshed sweet potatoes (often called “yams” in

American supermarkets) and carrots are tossed in a soy sauce and rice vinegar marinade, which caramelizes beautifully in the oven.

The resulting side dish is less Asian than the ingredients would suggest, and it marries perfectly with roasted chicken, grilled fish, or alongside spicy lentils or just a hearty salad if you are eating vegetarian.

The sweet potatoes are jam-packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamin C and K and potassium. The carrots are lower calorie than the starchier sweet potato and they complement the nutrient profile with a ton of vitamin A as well as good quantities of vitamin C and potassium. The two together become a nutrition powerhouse compared to standard starches. Plus, the dinner plate just looks pretty with the gorgeous orange color.

Start to finish: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
1 medium red- flesh

sweet potato, peeled and
cut into 1½ inch chunks
(about 2 cups total)
2 medium carrots,
peeled and cut into 1½
inch chunks (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon rice vinegar 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small shallot, roughly
2 cloves garlic, roughly
1 teaspoon fresh ginger,
minced or grated
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Olive oil in a mister
Parsley for garnish, optional

Heat the oven to 400
degrees F. Bring a large
saucepan of water to boil
over high heat, and once
boiling, add the sweet potato and carrot cubes and
cook just for three minutes.
Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile place the
soy sauce, vinegar, olive
oil, shallot, garlic, ginger and lemon juice in a
blender and blend until
smooth, about 30 seconds.
(For chunkier marinade,
just mince everything and

whisk together.) Pat the
sweet potato and carrot
dry with a paper towel,
and place in bowl. Pour
the vinaigrette over the
cubes and toss to coat. Let
marinate for 10 minutes (or
up to a couple of hours),
stirring at least once. Cover
the bottom of a large baking sheet with parchment
paper. Drain the excess
marinade and discard.
Scatter the sweet potato
and carrot cubes across the
baking sheet. Mist lightly with olive oil (or use
nonstick spray). Roast until tender, and the edges
show a slight char, about
25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Sprinkle with
parsley and serve.
Options: add red pepper flakes and a teaspoon
of maple syrup for a sweet
and spicy version, or a little
sesame oil for a more Asian
version, or top with cilantro, chopped green onions
and lime juice.
Nutrition information
per serving: 115 calories; 32
calories from fat; 4 g fat (0 g
saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0
mg cholesterol; 647 mg sodium; 18 g carbohydrate; 3
g fiber; 6 g sugar; 2 g protein.

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