Soul Food Junkies

8 Healthy Soul-Food-Inspired Recipes

Spicy roast sweet potatoes in white bowl.

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Carol Anne White, of Plantation, Florida, is the winner of our Healthy Soul Food Recipe contest. Her delectable, healthy recipe for spicy roasted sweet potatoes now graces its very own recipe card in this Healthy Soul Food feature! Here she is:

Candied sweet potatoes is a family recipe that I needed to make healthier. I took away the sugar and butter that made up the heavy syrup and substituted with agave nectar and olive oil. When you roast the sweet potatoes in the oven lightly coated with olive oil and agave nectar with a little chili powder, you will get caramelized potatoes with a little hit of spice. You can also add fresh herbs that will take it to another level.

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (may substitute pure maple syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ cup fresh scallions (chopped for garnish)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray cooking spray lightly on a large foil-lined baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, agave nectar, lime juice, garlic, fresh ginger and spices. Then add sweet potatoes; toss and coat well.

3. Place seasoned sweet potatoes onto a baking pan and spread them out into a single layer, so they can roast evenly.

4. Roast sweet potatoes in oven, stirring occasionally, for about 40 - 45 minutes or until they are golden brown, tender, and caramelized. Remove from oven and season with a little salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Then place in serving dish, garnish with fresh scallions.

This sort of recipe is traditionally made with butter and sugar. A touch of agave or maple syrup and olive oil substitutes, and you’ll never know the difference — but your body will! And of course, sweet potatoes are very good for you. They’re loaded with Vitamin C, folate, potassium, and beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes also have a low glycemic index, and are even purported to be good for your skin! Speaking of skin, for an extra-healthy bonus, leave the skins on the potatoes.

Our Healthy Soul Food Recipe Contest winner, Carol Anne White, loves food and loves to cook. In fact, she has her own food website, CW’s Café Today.

White has a challenge that can get in the way of eating the food she loves: She is a Type II diabetic. “I have managed my diabetes for about 21 years. I lost my father, mother, and one sister to disease,” she writes.

“I am always looking for recipes and cooking tips to help me step towards a healthier lifestyle. It has not been an easy road for me. I have not always been the ‘Good Diabetic,’ but I will say that I am better informed than my parents because they did not have the information available to properly take care of themselves,” White writes.

Wow does this sound like music to Soul Food Junkies filmmaker Byron Hurt’s ears! It’s exactly the kind of awareness he’s trying to create.

“I love cooking with fresh ingredients,” White says. “I like taking family recipes and remaking them for a healthier lifestyle. I consider myself as a ‘Neo-Soul’ cook. This means to me cooking from the soul a fusion/melting pot of flavors and cuisines: Asian (I love Thai favors the best), Italian, Mexican, Jamaican, and down-home soul food dishes.”

Here’s to your health, Carol!


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