Baked sweet potatoes loaded with whipped butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sweet potato casseroles topped with sugary pecans or marshmallows. Sweet potato pies.

Our first inclination with sweet potatoes is to go sweet, but they’re so much more interesting with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch or two of kosher salt.

These Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes are a lighter, more nutritious variation on the Crunchy Roasted Rosemary Potatoes I posted last winter. The preparations and ingredients are almost identical, but the sweet potato version offers a complex carb with actual fiber and beta carotene.

I like to focus on these nutritional facts while I’m sifting for the really crunchy ones.

There’s just something about the way the earthy tang of those blistered sweet potatoes and the woodsy flavor of the rosemary complement each other. Add a big handful of toasted chopped walnuts to the mix, and you have a unique sweet potato side that won’t give you cavities.

Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from Bob Greene’s “The Best Life Diet”

Serves 4

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (more, if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a large baking sheet coated with nonstick spray.
  3. Bake until the potatoes are cooked through and golden, about 30 minutes. Season to taste. Serve with toasted nuts, if desired.