Gorgeous, garlicky sweet potato with a Parmesan crust

Lilly Higgins: I've been making vegetables more of a main dish – and the kids love it

These crushed sweet potato rounds got the garlic butter treatment, complete with salty parmesan crust.

These crushed sweet potato rounds got the garlic butter treatment, complete with salty parmesan crust.

 

Lately I’m really trying to focus on side dishes or rather on making vegetables more of a main dish. Where mashed or baked sweet potatoes would have sufficed before, I’m now trying to change it up a bit.

My kids are getting a little more adventurous too in what they’re eating. Having discovered and loved garlic butter at a friends house a few months ago, they want it on everything now. So these delicious crushed sweet potato rounds got the garlic butter treatment complete with salty Parmesan crust. Ideal with roast chicken or beef, these potatoes are just as good on their own with a big green salad and grilled tomatoes. They’re crispy and salty on the outside while the inside remains a sweet fluffy mash. Perfect food as seasons change and the evenings become colder. 

Depending on what you’re serving these with you can add a little smoked sweet paprika to the butter before placing on the potatoes and garnish with basil or coriander. Or omit the garlic and add a pinch of cinnamon, cumin and ½tsp of maple syrup then scatter with crushed pecan nuts for a really fun autumn side dish. The cinnamon and cumin will both give an earthy sweet warmth.  

These sweet potatoes can be cooked in advance and then simply crush them slightly and add the butter before reheating in the oven. Each person will need about three or four pieces. This recipe works just as well with regular potatoes but they will need a little more cooking time. 

As I’m trying to cook even more vegetables I find myself adding a little crumbled chorizo to my vegetable lasagna or mixing lardons with breadcrumbs to top a dish of cauliflower cheese. Using meat as a garnish or a seasoning is a great way to eat less of it while still enjoying the undoubtable flavour and depth that it can add. I add puy lentils to my shepherds pies and lasagnas – anywhere that minced beef is called for I use half the amount I usually would and supplement it with lentils. The lentils are packed full of protein and fibre and soak up the sauce and juices and taste fantastic. My kids don’t even seem to have noticed.

Anything that’s umami rich with slow cooked mushrooms, packed full of herbs and topped with creamy mashed potato is a big hit. 

Garlic and Parmesan sweet potato

Serves 4
 

Ingredients
4 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley

 Method
Preheat the oven to 200C.  Scrub the sweet potatoes well. Cut each one into 5cm (2-inch) thick rounds. Lay flat on a large tray lined with baking paper. 

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and set aside. 

Mash the butter with the crushed garlic cloves and finely grated Parmesan. Turn each piece of sweet potato over and squash gently with a fork. Top with a little of the garlic butter. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes until the garlic butter is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Scatter with the parsley and serve.

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