I rarely want to eat something based on what it is not. Or worse, what it's pretending to be. I've yet to find a single ersatz meat or cheese that rings my bells; I'd much rather just have spaghetti with tomato sauce or a big plate of olives.
So when cookbook author Jessica Seinfeld described her own journey to "part time veganism" by talking about "having tons of sweet potatoes and vegetables and tofu," I completely related. I may be an omnivore, but most days, I'd rather have a sweet potato than almost anything. Especially when it's a sweet potato that speaks to my love of burnt stuff.
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Chef Michael Solomonov's "definitive" recipe calls for a super low temperature and super long cooking time, so sadly, you can't pull this one out when you're ravenous right now. But unlike those other perfectly acceptable, steamy microwaved sweet potatoes you may have made in your past, this is a meltingly tender, unbelievably flavorful, incredibly rich and satisfying dish. As Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perlman says, "You're going to immediately retroactively resent all of the sweet potatoes you had before." Besides, it takes about a minute to actually prepare.
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If you're working at home, throw this in the oven for a superlative lunch. If you're puttering around on a weekend, double or quadruple the portions and start roasting in the early evening for a side dish that deserves to be a main dish. I've taken inspiration here from Jessica Seinfeld and topped my sweet potato with coconut chips, but you can let your imagination go wild. It's also, obviously, outrageously good with chili crisp. So why would on earth you want to eat something "impossible," when this could be your reality today?
Recipe: Slow roasted sweet potato with coconut chips
Inspired by Michael Solomonov for Saveur and Jessica Seinfeld
- 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and left whole
- 1/4 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of coconut chips
- Preheat your oven to 275°F.
- Line a sheet pan or cast iron skillet with foil or parchment paper.
- Put your sweet potato on your pan. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, and rub all over with your hands to coat evenly.
- Bake until completely soft and tender when pierced with a fork, about 2 1/2 hours.
- Turn on your broiler and broil an additional minute or two, until nicely browned on top.
- Remove from oven, split and top with coconut chips or the garnish of your choice.
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