I’ve now been blogging for eleven years (11years!!!). And in those eleven years, you know what I’ve learned about you? You love sweet potatoes. You love tahini. And you love sauce. And if I post anything with those things – or even better – a combination of those things, I know it’s going to go over well. I often get preoccupied with making my recipe posts totally out there with crazy ingredients, involved techniques, and lose sight of the fact that a lot of you like really simple things too. Just like me. And just like me you like sweet potatoes and tahini and sauce.
The sweet potato wedges with tahini-honey sauce and everything bagel spice that I posted on Instagram drew many requests for the recipe. I thought it would be way too easy, but your encouragement reminded me that it’s okay if it’s easy! We all have a place for uncomplicated in our lives.
I was first introduced to “everything bagel spice” while teaching cooking classes down in the states this past summer. One of the women in the group proclaimed that it took avocado toast to the next level, and after trying it once, I was totally hooked. She gave me two jars of the flavour confetti before I flew home, and I have just recently shaken out the last grain of salt. Without a clue on where to buy such a random thing in Canada, I set out to make my own – only I decided to be highly practical and mix up a laughably large batch because it is literally good on everything.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with everything bagel spice mix, it’s the simplest combination of flaky salt, onion flakes, garlic flakes, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds, which classically tops an “everything bagel”. It doesn’t sound like that much, but trust me, if it can make a white, doughy this blend far more than the sum of its parts. A generous sprinkle on any dish makes it all that much more dimensional, seasoned, and delicious. My favourite applications for it include sliced garden tomatoes, cucumber, steamed green beans, roasted beets, goat cheese, cauliflower, popcorn, green salads, steamed brown rice or quinoa, eggs, hummus, and sweet potatoes…you see where I’m going with this. Maybe it’s faster to write a list of the foods that it wouldn’t be good on? Chocolate cake. There, that was easy.
But I’m actually here to talk about sweet potatoes. These gorgeous golden roots are now in season, and the last local tubers being pulled from the earth as I write this. Since I live so close to a number of organic farms here in Ontario, I thought it would be fun to go see them being harvested. I called around my area to see if anyone still had them in the ground, and I got lucky when one place, Fiddlehead Farm, called me back with good news and an invitation out to their field.
Fiddlehead Farm is run by a tribe of boss women who support over 150 local families through their CSA program, and hold stands at four different markets. These ladies are busy, and growing a diverse range of vegetables, greens, and herbs that seemed to stretch on for miles. I could tell from walking around the property how passionate they were about their work, and how deeply they care for their little corner of the earth. What an inspiration!
Heather, the farm’s co-owner, hopped off her tractor to introduce herself and show me the goods. She pulled back a tangle of stems and gave a good yank to unearth a juicy bunch of sweet potatoes, all clumped together like a vegetable cuddle puddle. Jackpot! She said it had been a really good year for this particular crop, and right under my feet were literally hundreds of roots waiting patiently to be harvested before the impending frost. Seeing how things grow and meeting the people that work so hard to bring these food gifts to us gives me a deeper appreciation for every bite I take.
Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, as one of nature’s best sources of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid form of vitamin A – an essential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrient. The intensity of a sweet potato’s orange flesh is a direct reflection of its beta-carotene content, so find the most vibrant ones you can, and dig in. Remember that you need a little fat to help your body absorb beta-carotene, so a drizzle of olive oil, or dousing your taters in a sauce like the one in this recipe is an important step in receiving those life-giving nutrients. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed roasted, steamed, sautéed, or even eaten raw, but however you choose to eat them, keep those skins on! The skin of a sweet potato is loaded with extra fiber to regulate blood sugar and support digestion, potassium to maintain normal blood pressure, and iron to deliver much-needed oxygen to your cells. Scrub sweet potatoes firmly with a soft vegetable brush – you want to remove the dirt but not take the skin away.
When purchasing sweet potatoes, look for smooth, even skin without bruises or soft spots. Avoid buying sweet potatoes that are in the fridge, since cold temperatures negatively affect their flavour. Once you get them home, store them in a dry, and well-ventilated place away from a hot spot (like near the stove or on top of the fridge). Instead of keeping them in plastic, which can cause them to mold, store them in an open paper bag to extend their life.
Some notes on the recipe. Other methods I’ve seen online for everything bagel spice do not suggest toasting the seeds beforehand, and I think this is a major miss. It makes a huge difference giving the sesame and poppy seeds a quick tour in a hot pan to coax out more of their flavour. If you’re in a rush or simply can’t be bothered, that’s fine, just know that you’ll be missing out on some bonus taste points. And if you don’t want to make three cups of the mix to start, simply half, or even quarter the recipe. I am pretty confident that you’ll love it though, especially once you try it on avocado toast.
The Tahini Honey Sauce makes about one cup (250ml), which is plenty to cover the sweet potato wedges, but make a double batch if you want a great staple dressing for the week ahead. It’s delicious on simple green salad, folded into cooked grains, drizzled over roast vegetables, or on avocado toast. The honey taste is present, but not overpowering, so feel free to add more if you want to ramp up the sweetness. For a vegan version, use maple syrup or date syrup in its place.
3 medium organic sweet potatoes (about 1½ lbs. / 650g)
coconut oil (expeller-pressed and flavour-neutral)
flat-leaf parsley and / or cilantro for garnish
toasted pumpkin seeds
Tahini-Honey Sauce (recipe follows)
Everything Bagel Spice Mix (recipe follows)
Makes 1 cup / 250ml
1/3 cup / 80ml tahini
1/3 cup / 80ml water
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
1 Tbsp. raw liquid honey (substitute with maple syrup for a vegan version)
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
Big Batch Everything Bagel Spice Mix
Makes 3 cups / 430g
½ cup / 80g garlic flakes
¾ cup / 85g onion flakes
¾ cup /100g sesame seeds (any colour you like)
½ cup/ 85g poppy seeds
½ cup / 80g flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.
2. Scrub the sweet potatoes well under running water. Slice them lengthwise into wedges of your desired thickness. Place them on a baking sheet with space between them (if they’re too close together they’ll steam each other and get soggy), and roast for about 20-25 minutes, depending on their size. Remove from the oven when fork-tender.
3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the Tahini-Honey Sauce by placing all the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. To thin, add a little water and blend or stir until the desired consistency is reached. Store leftovers in the fridge for five days.
4. Make the Everything Bagel Spice Mix In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool. Place poppy seeds in the same skillet, and toast over medium heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large jar combine the cooled sesame and poppy seeds, garlic flakes, onion flakes, and salt. Shake or stir to combine, and secure with an airtight lid. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct light. Keeps for 3-4 month.
5. To serve, drizzle the Tahini-Honey Sauce over the sweet potato wedges (you can keep them on the baking sheet or plate them as desired), then sprinkle generously with the Everything Bagel Spice Mix, and top with fresh herbs, toasted pumpkin seeds, and chili flakes (but get creative, these are just suggestions!). Enjoy.
I want to sign off with a sincere thanks for the past eleven years of support from all of you. It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been creating in this space for so many years now (I’ve never done anything for this long!), but I wouldn’t have the motivation to keep going if it weren’t for your curiosity, enthusiasm, and appetite for the heart work I put in here. I know that I’ll stay hungry if you do Let’s keep going, together.
In sincere gratitude and love,
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