Spiced sweet potatoes with toasted pecans

Don't even get me started on the evils of green bean casserole

Every Easter and Thanksgiving, grocery stores conspire to ruin sweet potatoes. Beside the crates of yams or sweet potatoes, take your pick, yes I know there’s a difference but that’s for someone else to wax poetic about, are giant mounds of marshmallow bags. It’s an abomination. It sullies a perfectly good, naturally sweet vegetable. Here’s an alternative my wife and I found years ago. We’re guessing it was originally in a Bon Appetit Thanksgiving edition, but it’s been so long we couldn’t say for sure. Not to mention by now it has been adjusted to our tastes. We promised Samina over at Samina Cooks this recipe awhile ago when she wrote about mashed sweet potatoes, so without further ado and sans marshmallows here it is.

Spiced sweet potatoes

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3/4 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 cup (or more) roughly chopped pecans, toasted (about 15 minutes at 350 will do it)

Peel sweet potatoes and boil until somewhat tender. They should have a little resistance when you stick a knife in. Cool and cut into 1/2 slices and arrange all pretty like in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Mix water and cornstarch until smooth. Heat sugar and butter over low heat until smooth. Stir in lemon zest, then spices. Mix in cornstarch mix. Pour syrup over potatoes and sprinkle with nuts. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to a day. Or bake right away at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and stir. Cook for 10 more minutes.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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53 Responses to Spiced sweet potatoes with toasted pecans

  1. rutheh says:

    Your photo makes me want to make and taste this recipe!

  2. sweet potatoes & marshmallows? say wha?! never heard of that combo before. sounds odd. spiced sweet potatoes with toasted pecans, on the other hand, sound delish!

  3. JamieAnne says:

    Marshmallows belong in smores not sweet potatoes! Great recipe, it looks delicious.
    My grandmother always made the “candied sweet potatoes”(sweet memory and uber sweet dish…too sweet), I like your recipe much better.

  4. Sweet potatoes and pecans – brilliant combo. I love this recipe, you and your wife have done yourselves proud. This must smell wonderful while baking.
    🙂 Mandy

  5. ChefMom says:

    Thank you! Thank you! I hate marshmellows over sweet potatoes – gag! I thought I hated sweet potatoes until I finally had some without the Thanksgiving gook on them. Now I love them! (Hubby still hates them though.) This looks fabulous to me.

  6. I hate the marshmellow sweet potato combo too..these on the other hand look super tempting..thank you for sharing the recipe
    I make a sweet potato crumble with some of the flavors you used and we love it..the kids like sweet potatoes simply boiled or grilled

  7. this looks awesome – i love sweet potatoes & pecans as a pair. thanks for sharing!

  8. Rufus,

    We’re always looking for new ways to prepare sweet potatoes, one of our absolute favorite super foods! They are so healthy for you, and matched with great ingredients like pecans, it’s like a little party on your plate. YUM!

    Also, thanks for visiting Jathan & Heather! Please follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/jathanandheather to get updates about new recipes, kitchen tips, book club selections and more!

    Live well,
    Jathan & Heather

  9. As a Brit/Italian living in Spain the whole Sweet Potato with Marshmallow thing has passed me right by. And probably a good thing too! This, however, looks right up my street and as soon as I can get hold of a sweet potato here (this may not be until autumn now…sigh) will give it a go. Love your photos by the way, wish I had as much success with my “snapping”.

  10. I love sweet potatoes and your recipe looks so nice. Unfortunately I have only one left right now, otherwise I would try to make this straight away.

  11. Yuri says:

    Can you believe we don’t have sweet potatoes here in the DR? Our sweet potato is white and its called “batata”. I think the flavor is almost the same but I wish I could get my hands in these orange beauties. Your sweet potatoes look so good I wanna take a fork and dig in right now!

  12. I completely agree–I’ve never been a fan of sticky marshmallows on sweet potatoes! this looks like a much more natural pairing!

  13. This looks delicious. It reminds me of a version Nigella Lawson does that includes bleu cheese crumbles. Great post!

  14. Carolyn Chan says:

    Healthy AND delicious – awesome !

  15. Wow, that sounds fantastic. I second the motion about marshmallows and sweet potatoes. I didn’t grow up on sweet potatoes at all, but more recently they’ve found their way into my diet; right now my favorites are straight-up baked or roasted with other veggies. This looks like a great new way to eat these tasty potatoes. ^_^

  16. secretmenu says:

    If this recipe had a kid, it would be a hybrid pecan/sweet potato pie. And I would want to be friends with that family.

  17. These spiced sweet potatoes really sound delicious. I also love the added in pecans and I am happy you didn’t include the marshmallows. I don’t prefer them even though most people do. Very nice.. and I know Samina will love this 🙂

  18. ournote2self says:

    Mmmm, sounds delish. And it puts me in a warm and fuzzy ‘holiday’ feeling.

  19. Wow, that looks good. I totally agree with doing away with the marshmellows. It reminds me of vegetable s’mores.

  20. Jen says:

    I have to admit, I love the marshmallows. Probably because I love marshmallows any time, any place. But marshmallow-less sweet potatoes are great, too, and these look fantastic!

  21. Robin says:

    This sounds yummy. Much better than the marshmallow-invaded sweet potato mixtures.

  22. Jessica says:

    Wow those look yummy! Any fun recipes that would be good to take to the lake with me?

  23. Sara says:

    Love the use of cardamom!

  24. I agree wholeheartedly and this recipe looks beautifully spice and would accent the naturally sugared sweet potatoes nicely.

  25. eva626 says:

    sweet potatoes are my THING!! too bad they finished in my house!!! urge

  26. karencooking says:

    I’ve got a sweet potato casserole recipe I sometimes use at holidays; it calls for brown sugar and pecans, as well, so I’m guessing the flavor might be similar, but I like the idea of using slices of potato instead of mashed.

  27. Twinisms says:

    This looks amazing. I too hate marshmallow laden sweet potatoes, I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for visiting:)

  28. elizabethhoward1 says:

    Oh! Heavens! That looks amazing.

  29. I found your blog through your very funny comment left on Live, Bark, Love’s blog — and I am so glad I did. As I scrolled down the posts, every picture brought an “Ohmygawd” uttered to myself. You had me early on, but these spiced sweet potatoes look awesome. (And I do not think there is too much vodka cream sauce in the earlier picture.) Thanks to you and your wife for sharing all these fantastic dishes!

  30. Charles says:

    I’ve never been able to get on board the sweet potato train. I get the impression that they’re used a *lot* at certain times of the year in the US, and so being from Europe I’ve never been a part of the whole tradition. Your picture does certainly leave me curious again though – time for another try with them maybe.

  31. No, I hadn’t seen that! Oh my — that looks wonderful and could a staple for me. And that post led me to the figs w/ Grand Marnier recipe, I’m afraid I could stay on your blog forever. The pictures are so fabulous, too. Do you take them yourself?

  32. This recipe looks delightful. For someone looking to make this cane sugar free, substitute the brown sugar with an equal amount of maple syrup or 1/3 cup honey. That’s what I’ll do!

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