Sweet Potatoes with Chilies, Lime, & Cilantro
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Friends, I received another disheartening letter from a dear friend. I’ve transcribed it below:
- Dear Ali,
I hope this letter finds you well. I’m reaching out because I saw you signed up for the Roxbury Farm winter CSA again — thank you! — and I know, as a result, you and I will be spending a lot of time together.
I feel awkward reaching out like this, but I think it’s best I voice my concerns now. You see, about this time of year every year, I find myself in the hands of cooks determined to turn me into something that, well, frankly, I’m just not. I admire their dedication, I do, but I think it’s time to face the facts: no matter how much cornstarch you toss me in, no matter how long you soak me, no matter how high you blast the oven, I am not going to taste like a French fry. I am not a potato — we’re not even in the same family. Try try try as you might, you will be disappointed.
What do you say? Do you think we could wipe the slate clean? Do you think you could accept ME for ME this winter?
I hope you understand. And I hate to impose, but if you wouldn’t mind sharing this with anyone you think might be interested, I would so appreciate it.
Sweet Potato! My sweet sweet Sweet Potato! On behalf of the entire cooking community, I extend my sincerest apologies. I promise to accept and cherish and embrace YOU for YOU, orange-fleshed or white, soft and creamy, with the occasional caramelized edge, but always with the sweetest of sweet hearts.
From here on out I promise to highlight your strengths, starting with this recipe for mashed sweet poatoes with chilies, lime and cilantro. It’s a Tamar Adler recipe from The New Greenmarket Cookbook, and feels very new and fresh and Ottolenghi in spirit, but reminds me of one my oldest, most favorite recipes from Chez Panisse Vegetables, which calls for simply squeezing fresh lime over roasted sweet potatoes and showering fresh cilantro over top.
In her recipe, Adler suggests cooling the potatoes in the fridge, slicing them into rounds, then dressing them with the chilies, lime and cilantro. For whatever reason, I’ve chosen to mash everything together, which gives this a guacamole-like taste and texture, making it as suitable for serving aside chips as perhaps some larger bird.
For sweet potato lovers, this dish no doubt will be a welcomed addition to your repertoire. And for everyone else, I suspect this, with its bright, fresh flavors, may just win you over, too.
PS: Favorite Fall Recipes
- My Favorite Pumpkin Bread
- Applesauce-yogurt Cake
- Teddie’s Apple Cake
- Roasted Chicken with Clementines
- Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Chilies, Lime, & Cilantro
- Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 as a side
Source: The New Greenmarket Cookbook Recipe by Tamar Adler, author of An Everlasting Meal, who suggests letting the potatoes cool in the fridge, then peeling and slicing the potatoes into rounds, then dressing the potatoes with the remaining ingredients. I haven’t tried this method, which sounds lovely, and I am sure I will soon.
The method below sort of turns this into sweet potato guac, and it’s delicious. I’ve used coconut oil, always a nice complement to sweet potatoes, in place of the olive oil, but I’m sure olive oil would be nice, too.
- 2 1/2 pounds large sweet potatoes, about 2 to 3
- 1 finely chopped jalapeno, seeds included
- 1 large, thinly sliced shallot or 1/4 red onion
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from about 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped mint, if you have it
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped, roasted peanuts, optional
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake on a foil-lined or parchment-lined baking sheet for about an hour, until the skins are wrinkled and the flesh is completely tender.
- Meanwhile, combine the jalapeno and shallot in a large bowl with a pinch of salt and the lime juice. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes or up to a few hours. Remove potatoes from oven and let cool briefly, then peel and place in a bowl.
- Pour the macerated shallots and jalapeno over the sweet potatoes. Add the oil, herbs and salt to taste. Mash with a fork and stir to combine. Taste, and add more salt, lime or oil if necessary. Garnish with peanuts, if using.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hours
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Roast
- Cuisine: American, Southeast Asian
Keywords: mashed, sweet, potatoes, chilies, lime, cilantro
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
41 Comments on “Sweet Potatoes with Chilies, Lime, & Cilantro”
Sweet potato guac is brilliant!! I love this for fall. Adding to my endless make list. xoxox
Thank you Phoebe!! I thought of you when I opened that letter from SP 🙂 xoxo
I am making this immediately, seriously! So funny you mentioned it being very “ottolenghi” as I was going to ask what book it was from before reading ha! Our entire Thanksgiving is basically Plenty More + a roast.
Ha! Lisa, I love it. Can I come? That sounds like my ideal Thanksgiving. You’ll have to tell me if you make any new Ottolenghi discoveries.
What a wonderful post! I really thought at first that the sweet potato police were after you. Great recipe! I love your simplification of steps, too. I’ve long been a fan of the Alice Waters recipe, but this has some zip. Thank you!
So happy to hear this, Liz.
Have you been peeking into my fridge again? I had to roast a half dozen or so sweet potatoes before they went bad and their foil covered bodies have been languishing in the drawer. I think I’ve found my solution.
I have! Is that creepy? Yes, you must! I am preparing myself for my first 30-lb delivery of root vegetables, many of which will be sweet potatoes. If you have any other sweet potato ideas, I’m all ears …
Sweetest post ever. I make a very similar Summertime chunky roasted sweet potato salad with skins on but roast the jalapeno & infuse lime juice, EVOO, a bit of white balsamic vinegar while the sweet potatoes are hot out of the oven. I add dry tart cherries to balance flavor. I cannot wait to try your recipe which will surely be a comforting Winter sweet treat. With immense gratitude for your continued culinary inspiration.
Kathleen, that sounds so good! Love the idea of the tart cherries to balance it all out. Thank you for your kind words.
Wow! Who’da thunk! This sounds amazing….I’ll have to experiment with all the places it could be used!
Thanksgiving is almost upon us again! Hard to believe….I’ve got company coming for dinner this year so it’ll be a full house and lots of wonderful food which always makes me think of you! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! XXOOXX!
Laurie, I know! It’s almost time for Ronnie Hollingsworth’s Most Excellent Squash Pie… can’t wait! And Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!! xo
Haha! This is the best. Sweet potatoes are a favorite food of weight lifters (and they’re so tasty!) so they’re always welcome on my table. Cilantro and lime, though? Chiles?? YAASSS
Me, too, Sophie!! If only I could get these kiddos to like them. xo
So true — the lime makes it so palatable. Thanks for your kind words!
I NEVER have liked candied sweet potatoes! YUK!!! This recipe was brilliant with flavor. We loved it. The jalapeno I had had absolutely no heat so I just left it out, but the red onion and lime juice were great additions to the smashed (used a potato masher) sweet potatoes. Thanks Alexandra!
So happy to hear this, Sunie!! You are so welcome.
I have yet to meet a potato that lacks the power to make my heart skip a beat. Therefore, am making this ASAP!
I’m with you, Michelle! xo
Hi, Alexandra. First, I really enjoy and appreciate your blog. Second, I made this recipe and it was fabulous! I used yellow onion, jarred jalapeños, and dried cilantro, and ate it with tortilla chips instead of a fork. I have already forwarded the recipe to my mom after raving about it over the phone. Thank you for your unique perspective and for helping me be a braver (dare I say “better”?) cook. Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Thank you for your kind words — means so much, seriously. And I am SO happy to hear this. It’s kind of like guac, right? I have a feeling I will be making it all winter. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!
Thank you for this fabulous recipe, which is nott only delicious but gorgeous too, with those bits of red onion and green chilies and herb punctuating the brilliant orange of the sweet potatoes. Just one question: do you think it could be made ahead and then warmed up? I’d love to make it for Thanksgiving, but I’m not an ace multittasker and don’t think I could pull it off at the last moment along with everything else.
So happy to hear this, Tori! Yes, absolutely. One thought, hold the cilantro till you rewarm it to preserve its color. But otherwise, I would mix everything else up and season it as you wish. How do you plan to warm this up? Covered in foil in the oven? Or in the microwave? I’m asking because for my own reference 🙂 Once it’s warm, stir in the cilantro, and serve it.
Side note: I had leftover rice and left over mashed sweet potatoes, so I mixed the two together with some dried breadcrumbs, formed patties, and pan fried them in oil — delicious!
oh my goodness i’m eating this for lunch right now. it’s amazing. the end.
Haha, i love it, and you. Wish we were together. xo
Ummm – this is stupid good! Just finished it for dinner. I subbed the sweet potato for butternut squash because I had one hanging around for weeks and needed to use it for something ASAP. Delicious! As I was making it I was like “Is this gonna work? Lime, jalapeno and cilantro meet Butternut squash?” Thank goodness for crazy mavericks such as yourself. A total keeper!
So happy to hear this, Angela! Love the idea of using butternut squash. Totally going to try this. Thank you for your kind words 🙂
I love all the parts but wasn’t sure I’d like the sum of these parts. Needn’t have worried — this was fantastic! I didn’t use mint and doubled the cilantro. Was too chicken to use all the jalapeno seeds, but will include them next time.
So happy to hear this, Nikki!
I ended up here from a link on buzzfeed to another one of your recipes. Made it last night – this is seriously delicious. I brought it for lunch at work today – it’s not bad cold either! I love the idea of serving it as a side-dish but I haven’t quite thought up a good pairing yet!
So happy to hear this, Katya! I know, it’s definitely one of those dishes that’s a little hard to figure out what to serve it with. Are you a vegetarian? I feel like fish with some sort of lime marinade or sauce might be nice.
OMG I just made this tonight with dinner, it was SOO good. I left out the oil because I didn’t feel that it needed it, and it was still delicious. I ate it with some grilled chicken and avocado for a full and satisfying meal. Thank you!
Yay!! So happy to hear this 🙂 🙂 🙂
I’m thinking about adding this to our Texas Thanksgiving table this year! How do you think it would do being made a day or two in advance or is it something I should do the day of?
Part of me thinks it’s probably best fresh (boooo, I’m sorry), but if you wanted to do it ahead, I would leave out the cilantro. Then warm up the mixture you made (mashed sweet potatoes with seasonings, and add the cilantro then and maybe adjust seasoning as needed. Hope that helps!
Ohhh, soooooooooo good. That is all.
Haha, I love it 🙂 🙂 🙂
This recipe was AMAZING, and I don’t say these things lightly. I was looking for a light recipe to use up my cooked sweet potatoes and this peaked my interest. I improvised a bit as I didn’t have all ingredients on hand used lemon in place of lime, scallions in place of onions, cilantro in place of basil and chille powder in place of jalapeño but the ideas in this recipe represented a unique flavor profile. Definitely plan to use this on my sweet potato rotation. Oh this was great even before adding the coconut oil ?
Yay!! So happy to hear this. All of your improvisations sound great.
Full discloser- I don’t like sweet potatoes. Like really at all.
However, I make this for a big thanksgiving/friendsgiving because it seems so much better than the heavy sweet potato alternatives. And every year it’s totally eaten and at least one friend asks for the recipe.
It’s so easy to throw together and while I taste it to make sure the seasoning is right- I can tell that this is different and would be excellent… if only I like sweet potatoes.
Oh, Kali, I love this so much and can totally relate. Sweet potatoes are not my favorite veg, and for years, I didn’t like them. It took dousing them with fresh lime juice and cilantro for me to warm to them, and over the years, I have warmed even more to them, but I totally hear you.
So glad this is well received at your Friendsgiving! Thanks so much for writing and sharing. Happy New Year!