Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Italian Salsa Verde

I've mentioned here and there that I occasionally work as a private chef at an amazing little retreat center in Vermont called Good Commons. This is also the place where I host my own culinary retreats (next one is in June 2014, btw!!), and by far one of my favorite places to get away to.

They host a lot of yoga retreats, so the majority of the groups I've cooked for have been vegetarian. While I, personally, am pretty much the opposite of a vegetarian, I really enjoy the challenge, because it forces me to step out of my cooking comfort zone and experiment with new flavors and techniques.

One of the most popular recipes I cooked this past summer was a dish of roasted sweet potato spears served over a bed of spicy salsa verde.

Though the name sounds Spanish, this salsa verde is actually an Italian condiment made with pureed herbs, capers, lemon, and garlic. It's tangy, salty and spicy, and pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the slightly charred sweet potatoes.

I think this would make an amazing side dish for Thanksgiving, and it is beyond easy. The salsa is made just by pureeing all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and then the sweet potatoes are simply roasted in coconut oil or olive oil. Just cut them into big spears, and you don't even have to peel them (that's where the nutrition is!).

If you prefer, this dish also works really well with roasted carrots! 

And another bonus? It can be served both hot and room temperature, too--another lifesaver when the oven is crowded before the big meal.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Italian Salsa Verde

For the sweet potatoes:
6 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed, dried and cut into long spears
Coconut oil or vegetable oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

For the salsa verde:
2 cups parsley
1 cup mixed fresh herbs (cilantro, mint, tarragon, etc.)
1/4 cup capers
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
kosher salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with oil until coated and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheets and roast for about 20-30 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized.

While the potatoes roast, prepare the salsa by combining all the ingredients except salt and pepper in a food processor. Puree until smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more oil to loosen it up.

Plate by spreading the herb sauce over a platter and top with roasted potatoes. Serve hot or room temperature.

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