Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Labneh
– Incredibly Sweet, Tender and Simply Delicious
An almost effortless recipe for amazing sweet potatoes. And such a contrast from the hot oven method we’ve all used to roast sweet potatoes all our lives. Eye opening actually, the way long, slow roasting at 275 degrees enhances both the sweetness and texture of sweet potatoes. Israeli chef and restaurateur Michael Solomonov developed Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Labneh (strained yogurt) after being inspired by a meal he enjoyed in Tel Aviv. Lucky for the rest of us that he’s sharing his inspiration.
Slow roast to perfection
Saveur magazine explains that slow roasting “will convert more starches into sugars and caramelize more of those sugars for deeper browned flavor.”
Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes are a standout. Do plan ahead, as it takes 2 ½ hours to slow roast sweet potatoes to perfection. Time well spent, as these sweet potatoes make a rich and satisfying vegetarian main course. Add a side of green vegetables and/or a salad for a complete meal.
Aren’t these yams? Nope, they’re sweet potatoes.
- In the 1950’s red-skinned, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes were introduced to Americans as “yams.”
- Commercial growers thought this would help distinguish them from the white-skinned, white-fleshed sweet potatoes consumers already knew.
- It worked until savvy cooks learned about real yams which are not even botanically related.
- Native to Africa and Asia, yams can weigh over 100 pounds with starchier and drier flesh than the misnamed orange-fleshed U.S. sweet potatoes.
- The real difference between these two varieties of sweet potatoes has to do with their texture when cooked.
- In the U.S. “yams” refers to the soft, moist, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.
- In the produce section, the dryer, firmer and white-fleshed ones are labeled as sweet potatoes. But, in truth, they’re both sweet potatoes.
Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Labneh from Michael Solomonov
An almost effortless recipe for standout sweet potatoes. Ignore the temptation to raise the oven temperature. Long, slow roasting results in incredibly sweet, tender and rich sweet potatoes. The tart labneh (strained yogurt) with garlic contrasts perfectly with their enhanced sweetness. Serve Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes as a delicious and satisfying vegetarian main course. Add a side of green vegetables and/or a salad for a complete meal. Though do plan ahead, as it takes 2 ½ hours to slow roast sweet potatoes to perfection.
Thank you, Michael Solomonov of Zahav, for creating this recipe. I have made only slight changes to his original recipe.
- Reducing the amount of salt on the outside of the sweet potatoes, making their nutrient-rich skin edible, delicious and attractive.
- Substituting fennel seeds (which I always have on hand) for the dill seeds Solomonov uses to coat the sweet potatoes before roasting.
- Solomonov suggests charring the flesh of the cooked sweet potatoes under the broiler after you remove them from the oven. A step which my home oven’s broiler doesn’t do well enough to make it worthwhile.
Makes 2 servings Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
2 medium sweet potatoes (about ¾ pound each)
1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
8 twists freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon fennel or dill seeds
Garlic Labneh (strained yogurt)
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
½ teaspoon garlic pressed through a garlic press
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Thinly sliced scallion
- Begin straining the yogurt, wrapped in 6-8 layers of cheesecloth, in a sieve placed over a bowl to catch the whey.
- Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil.
- Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Place them in a baking dish large enough to hold the potatoes. Coat the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt, pepper and fennel seeds. Place the sweet potatoes on the foil-lined pan at least an inch apart from one another.
- Bake the sweet potatoes 2 ½ hours until the juices have caramelized beneath the potatoes and the insides are very soft. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving them.
- Begin making the Garlic Labneh after the sweet potatoes have roasted for 2 hours. Combine the pressed garlic and salt in a small bowl. Use your hands to squeeze the cheese cloth, removing as much whey as you can from the yogurt to create labneh. Unwrap the cheesecloth. Measure out ½ cup of the strained yogurt and stir it into the bowl with the garlic and salt. Refrigerate any excess labneh for another use.
- Once the sweet potatoes have rested, transfer them to individual plates or a serving platter. Use a sharp knife to split the top of each of the sweet potatoes. Use a fork to open the potatoes exposing their gorgeous orange insides.
- Serve Slow-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a dollop of Garlic Labneh and a sprinkling of thinly sliced scallion.