I don’t know about you, but sometimes my soul just needs French fries.
I’ve never really figured out what the triggers it.
It’s not stress. I can be insanely stressed and not need those salty, crunchy, potato-y comforts.
It’s not girly issues. Most months flit by with no fry fancy.
It’s not getting too hungry. Or smelling them on the wind. Or any other straightforward cause I can think of.
But, every now and again, out of the blue, I’ve just gotta have them.
Now, it’s a rare enough occasion that I probably could just give in and indulge in full-blown, deep-fried, fully-salted McDonald’s style white potato fries without having any real effect on my health.
But if you can quench an unhealthy craving with a healthy treat, why wouldn’t you? So, when cravings strike I opt, instead, for homemade, baked sweet potato bites! All the craving-quenching, potato-y goodness of French fries, in a low-fat, healthily-spiced package — win, win, win!
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The only ingredient you really need for this recipe is: a sweet potato! But we’ve got a total of four ingredients to create a savory, flavorful and completely satisfying fry experience!
1. Sweet Potato
Why do sweet potatoes make a healthier option for making fries than white potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are loaded with all kinds of extra phytonutrients that you don’t find in their white cousins. In fact, these phytonutrients are the reason sweet potatoes are colored at all. They have unique structures that are able to absorb light, turning sweet potatoes a yellow, orange or purple hue.
These phytonutrients are awesome for your health. They act as antioxidants and help protect you from diabetes, boost your immune system, reduce your risk of cancer, and protect your heart.
Sweet potatoes are also chock full of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Pop chopped sweet potatoes in the oven, all by their lonesome, and you already have sweet, satisfying and healthy fries!
But if you want to up the flavor and the nutrient-density even further, add some spices. You can pick whatever you like — whatever you’ll eat and enjoy. Our favorite combination, though, is basil, thyme and black pepper!
The warm, rich, herbal flavor of basil is the perfect complement to the sweet deliciousness of baked sweet potato bites! It adds a pleasant summery feel to the flavor, taking the fries from simple to scrumptious.
To add goodness to tastiness, basil also ups the health benefits of this recipe. Studies indicate that basil boosts the function of your body’s detoxification pathways, protects your DNA and reduces the risk of cancer. Not bad returns for a tiny sprinkling of fragrant leaves!
Slightly mintier and sweeter than basil, thyme adds a complexity to the flavor of the basil-potato combo.
While few studies have looked at the health effects of thyme as a whole food, researchers do know that thyme is a rich source of antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenols, which may be able to reduce the risk of heart disease.
4. Black Pepper
Last but not least, we have a splash of black pepper! Pepper’s sharpness lends the perfect hint of spice, rounding out the flavor profile perfectly.
Black pepper is also the perfect compliment for sweet potatoes, basil and thyme health-wise, as well. In addition to having its own anti-cancer effects, pepper acts as a “bioavailability booster”, meaning it helps your body move healthy nutrients from foods (like sweet potatoes, basil or thyme) from your gut into your blood. The more healthy nutrients actually make it into your bloodstream, the greater the health effects they can have!
A simple pinch of pepper and you punch up the healthiness of every single ingredient!
- Oven pan
- Drizzle of avocado oil (to make the bites crunchier/crispier)
- Salt to taste
- Set oven to 400 degrees
- Chop sweet potato(s) into bite sizes
- Place chopped sweet potatoes in oven pan and drizzle avocado oil
- Sprinkle thyme, basil, black pepper and salt to taste
- Place oven pan with ingredients into oven for 25-30 minutes
- Let cool for 5 minutes before enjoying!