Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegan Mofo #2 - Lauren’s Candied Lime Sweet Potatoes...

Vegan Mofo #2 - Lauren’s Candied Lime Sweet Potatoes

The Book - " Vegan Yum Yum"
The Author - Lauren Ulm
The Recipe - Candied Lime Sweet Potatoes
Page # 135
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - Roughly 10 minutes of prep time, 40 minutes bake time

Though my theme for Vegan Mofo is "Cooking the Books" I’m starting to see another, unintentional trend emerging. "Foods I hated or disliked as an Omnivore that I love as a Vegan" That’s certainly true of sweet potatoes. Growing up I don’t think I was ever really aware of them, and so they hadn’t yet worked their way into my ‘Food Culture’ As a teenager and young adult I became more aware of sweet potatoes, but unless they came in the form of fries with some chipotle mayo on the side, or a deep fried potato wedge I could care less about them. It never would have occurred to me back then to eat them in any other way, and I certainly wouldn’t have eaten them as part of a holiday meal.

Sweet Potatoes, or yams for that matter are not common foods to have on Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter in Vancouver, or at least not amongst my circle of family and friends. It wasn’t until I’d moved to the Midwest that I realized candied yams, and sweet potatoes feature prominently at holiday meals. I remember my first Christmas here, all anyone could talk about were the candied sweet potatoes. Now I’ve never liked Marshmallows, and I think to load up an already sweet root vegetable with that much sugar and fluff is just a little ways past overkill. However I was coerced into trying one, and just as I knew I would I immediately disliked it. No disrespect to the cook of course, it’s just not my thing. That was my first non-fried introduction to the sweet potato and lets say it didn’t leave me begging for more. Then a few years later I had my first baked sweet potato, rubbed with just a little butter and brown sugar. Man what a difference! It was so creamy, fluffy and delicious and I was forever a convert.

Having said that, it must also be stated that while I now greatly love the sweet potato and the yam I am very particular about how I like my sweet potatoes cooked. Unless they’re mashed I don’t like them overly soft and mushy. I like them with a bit of firmness, and I think overall I prefer them with a bit more of a savory or spicy twist to them. Lauren Ulm’s "Candied Lime Sweet Potatoes" don’t exactly fit the bill for savory or spicy but they aren’t mushy, and while they are sweet they’re also a little bit tart. I have to say at first I was skeptical, but the picture was so pretty that I just had to make it. I’m so glad I did because it’s now become a favorite dish of mine and the perfect accompaniment to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s "Apple Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing" on your holiday table.

To say this dish blew my mind would be an understatement. It’s the use of lime and ginger that really struck me. I never would have thought that lime and sweet potatoes would go together but they pair surprisingly beautifully. I also like the addition of molasses, and while she does use sugar in the recipe I find that the end result isn’t excessively sweet. I did however use raw organic sugar and cut the amount to 1/3 C rather then a ½ C. Taste wise I think the ½ C would have been absolutely fine, I just like to try and keep my use of sugar low. The only other thing I did different is that she suggests using either fresh parsley or cilantro to garnish and rather then use one or the other I decided to use a little bit of both. Again that was a personal preference because I absolutely love cilantro and will never pass up the opportunity to use it. I decided to keep the parsley too, simply because it just seemed to go perfectly with the dish. Which it did.

This is a really brilliant recipe, with a perfect flavor balance. Lime and sweet potatoes were made for each other, as the lime infuses each sliver of potato with a sour tang that really even’s out the sweetness. It’s a great dish to make during the fall, with all those thin slivers of orange dotted with green. A wonderful dish to bring to a fall gathering or holiday dinner. Honestly I think it’s the kind of dish that’ll impress your friends whether they’re omnivores, vegetarians or vegans. Even if you’re like I was - skeptical about the awesomeness of the sweet potato - you should give this dish a try. It just might be the combination that converts you into a sweet potato lover.

The only other thing that should be noted about this recipe is that it’s a lot easier and a lot faster if you own a mandolin slicer. A mandolin slicer is also important if you want the sweet potato rounds to be paper thin and uniform. If speed, and accuracy isn’t that important to you, then you’re fully able to prepare this dish with nothing more then a good knife, just know it might take longer then the 10 minute prep time, and your rounds probably won’t be quite so thin and uniform. Personally I liked the aesthetics of the perfectly thin slices, but for flavor and taste it’s not going to make a difference.

So give this dish a try, and pick up a copy of Lauren Ulm’s "Vegan Yum Yum" the book is definitely worth it for this as well as many other delicious recipes. Like Ulm’s "Apple Cider Glazed Brussels Sprouts" which I’ll talk about tomorrow.

Alongside Colleen's Apple, Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing.

PS: Apologies for the poor quality of the first three photos, but the lighting in my kitchen was less then exquisite that day. Damn you poorly placed light fixtures and dim bulbs! *shakes fist*


  1. This looks delicious, we love sweet potatoes..think I might invest in the cook book you used for these receipts! ST

  2. I've been wanting to make that sweet potato recipe forever! Seriously, it's been bookmarked ever since I got Lauren's cookbook...

    I'm glad to hear that it turned out so well, & can definitely relate to liking things in my vegan-life that I didn't in my pre-vegan life (ie: kale)!

    Great post - happy MoFo!

  3. That looks crazy good. This book has been on my wish list for a loooong time.
    Happy MoFo'ing

  4. Thanks S. This dish is amazing and the book is phenomenal too, you should definitely check it out.

    Thanks jd Happy Mofo to you too! Maybe now’s the time to give this recipe a shot huh? Since you’ve had it book marked so long. Totally agree with you on Kale, both me and my husband can’t believe how much we love it - and crave it - now when just a few years ago we wouldn’t have touched it to save our lives.

    Thanks Jeni Treehugger Happy Mofo’ing to you too! Vegan Yum Yum was on my wish list for a long time too until a friend of mine got it and started raving about it. After that I decided I HAD to get it and I’m really glad I did. There are a lot of wonderful recipes in it.

  5. I love any excuse to eat sweet potatoes & this was an awesome choice to make! I didn't think the limes & sweet potatoes would go together but they did. - Matt