Sweet Potatoes, Hold the Marshmallows

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Root Vegetable Gratin by Chef Joy Houston

Thanksgiving sweet potatoes can have enough sugar in a single serving to kill a diabetic before dessert hit the table.  They are generally baked with tons of brown sugar and if that wasn’t enough they are topped off with puffed sugar balls (pronounced marshmallows) that are baked to golden brown perfection.  YUM!  But also YUCK, do I need to slam my body with that much sugar when eating a side dish that by name we know is  naturally sweet??  NO.

Here’s a great substitution for sugary sweet potatoes with half the calories and twice the  flavor.  It also looks pretty due to the mandolin sliced vegetables.  Note that in this photo I used a mix of sweet potato, parsnip and carrot to mix things up, but to replace a typical holiday sweet potato dish, I would go for all sweet potatoes!  That way the dish will have the signature orange color everyone associates with sweet potatoes.

Root Vegetable Gratin

6 sweet potatoes (or 2 sweet potatos, 2 yams, 3 parsnips & 3 carrots)
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided?
3 tablespoons honey?
1 cup bread crumbs (or two slices toasted & crumbled Ezekiel bread!)
 3 green onions?
sea salt ?
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400?.  Use a mandolin to thinly sweet potato.  Use one tablespoon of the olive oil to grease the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.  Make a triple layer of sweet potato slices, then drizzle olive oil and honey and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Repeat forming with triple layers of sweet potato then drizzling olive oil & honey until all slices are used up .  Add a half cup of water, a little in each corner of the baking dish.  In a small mixing bowl, combine bread crumbs, ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and green onions and mix well.  Cover the gratin with the bread crumb mixture and bake for 15 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Note that the sweet potoatoes have a more pronounced flavor if you cook them until tender instead of mushy.  Serve hot out of the oven.

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