Not only do sweet potatoes taste like a scrumptious dessert, they also provide the body with some awesome health benefits. Cutting-edge research on sweet potatoes indicates they have many unique nutritional benefits that support good health and well-being. Among these benefits are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients and, believe-it-or-not, blood sugar-regulating nutrients. The following recipe for Healthy Hasselback Sweet Potatoes will not only provide a nutrient-dense side dish, but it will most likely become a favorite for family and friends.
DID YOU KNOW? Including a healthy fat when eating sweet potatoes is helpful if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits. Recent research shows that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Of course, this minimal amount of fat is very easy to include. For instance, some excellent choices include extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter or coconut oil.
Another interesting fact about sweet potatoes is that even though researchers have long been aware of sporamins—storage proteins in sweet potato—it is only recently that research as found some of their special antioxidant properties. The potential health benefits of the sweet potato sporamins in helping prevent oxidative damage to our cells is not surprising since sweet potatoes produce sporamins whenever subjected to physical damage to help promote healing.
What Are Hasselback Potatoes?
The hasselback name comes from the Hasselbacken Restaurant, now attached to a hotel in central Stockholm. Hasselbacken which was first established in the 1700s as a tavern. It was originally just a traditional red hut in the middle of a thicket of hassel (hazel) on quite a steep backe (slope), which is how it got its name.
Hasselback potatoes are the original-Swedish technique for making roasted potatoes. Their presentation is elegant, they have a wonderful crunch, and they will change the way you eat baked sweet potatoes, probably forever. To make them, you generally begin by cut thin, crosswise slices approximately three-quarters down into the potato, but not all the way through to the bottom. You want the potato to fan out a bit and have “pages” like a book.
Healthy Hasselback Sweet Potatoes – Maple-Pecan
Preparation Time: 5 minutes | Baking Time: 40 minutes
Serving size: 2
- 2 organic sweet potatoes (preferable medium in size)
- 1 tablespoon avocado or macadamia oil
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoon melted grass-fed butter
- 1 tsp ground organic cinnamon
- ¼ cup organic pecans (chopped)
- ¼ cup maple syrup (grade B is best)
- ½ teaspoon organic vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Thoroughly wash potatoes.
- In order to make your potatoes Hasselback, place one of them between two chopsticks to help with stability and knife guidance. About every ¼ inch along the length of the potato, slice about ¾ to ⅞ of an inch down the potato, or until the knife hits the chopsticks. The chopsticks should help prevent you from cutting all the way through to the bottom of the potato. Once you’ve finished with the first potato, repeat for the second one.
- Place on a baking dish and brush both potatoes with avocado or macadamia oil and dust with Himalayan salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
- Remove potatoes from oven, then increase the temperature to 450 degrees.
- In a small bowl, add melted butter, cinnamon, pecans, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and Himalayan salt. Stir to combine.
- Spoon the maple syrup mixture over the potatoes, making sure to get in between the slices.
- Bake again for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, spoon any of the cooking liquid over the potatoes, and allow to cool a little before serving.
These delicious and healthy Hasselback sweet potatoes pair well with many summer and winter main entrees. Your family and guests will definitely ask for this recipe! Hasselback sweet potatoes are easy to make and also make an impressive presentation on your table. Because Hasselback sweet potatoes are scrumptious in a variety of ways, don’t be hesitant to alter the recipe with your own ideas and ingredients.
Lanphier, Loretta, NP. Healthy Benefits of Sweet Potatoes. OAWHealth Natural Health Blog. 2014.
Mills JP, Tumuhimbise GA, Jamil KM et al. Sweet potato beta-carotene bioefficacy is enhanced by dietary fat and not reduced by soluble fiber intake in Mongolian gerbils. J Nutr. 2009 Jan;139(1):44-50. Epub 2008 Dec 3. 2009.
Failla ML, Thakkar SK and Kim JY. In vitro bioaccessibility of beta-carotene in orange fleshed sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas, Lam.). J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Nov 25;57(22):10922-7. 2009.