Let’s talk about fries. They seem to be so many people’s weakness….including mine. I’m not proud to admit it, but greasy fries drowning in high fructose corn syrup riddled ketchup is one of those foods that I actually miss from my days of “less than healthy eating”. I can pass up every candy bar and microwave burrito you throw at me, but the thought of salty fries dipped and tangy sweet ketchup has me seeing heart eyes for days. While I do believe it’s okay to have the occasional junky treat, there is no way around conventional fries and ketchup being loaded with stuff that does absolutely nothing positive for your body and thus, one of the opening acts to a laundry list of health issues. There is nothing nutritionally redeeming about deep fried white potato spears or ketchup with more sugar in it than a cookie so I (of course) had to give my beloved fries and ketchup a real food makeover.
Let’s start with the fries. White potatoes in and of themselves are not the most terrible thing you could eat, but sweet potatoes are absolutely better. They are loaded with vitamin A, fiber, potassium, and all kinds of other good stuff. There is a lot of confusion around what exactly is a sweet potatoes, so let’s take a moment to clear things up, shall we?
Both of the potatoes pictured above are sweet potatoes. The one on the left has pale flesh, reddish/purple skin, and is known as the firm sweet potato (often called a Japanese sweet potato, as well). The firm sweet potato has a nutty flavor and less natural sugar. When it is cooked, it stays relatively firm and holds its shape well. The sweet potato on the right is a soft sweet potato (often confused with yams). They have an orange flesh with a reddish/orange skin. Soft sweet potatoes are much sweeter and have a fluffy texture when cooked. There is also a purple variety of sweet potatoes that are amazing in flavor, color, and nutrients. Go check it out. Your kids will be amazed and think you have super powers when you serve them a purple potato for dinner.
So, now that you know exactly what a sweet potato is, go buy some and let’s get baking!
Sweet Potato Fries
makes 3 large servings
2 medium or one extra large sweet potato, washed and dried
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
2. Cut potatoes into fries. I leave the skins on the potatoes because the skin is loaded with vitamins and minerals, but you can peel the potatoes before cutting if you prefer.
3. Throw the potato wedges into a large mixing bowl and drizzle coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
4. Arrange the fries on the baking sheets so that there is plenty of room between the pieces. If the potatoes are too close to one another, they will steam instead of roast.
5. Bake the fries for 10 minutes in the oven. Remove and, using a spatula, flip the fries over. Return to the oven for 15 more minutes or until the fries are soft.
6. Allow 5 minutes for the fries to cool before enjoying.
Okay, now let’s talk about the ketchup. Guys, ketchup, while delicious and amazing on so many things, is absolute crap. If you have a bottle of commercially made ketchup in your fridge, go look at the ingredient list. I’m confident you will see ‘high fructose corn syrup’ listed on there (if not scarier things). I don’t know about you, but i prefer to keep that stuff out of my kitchen and out of my family’s mouths. It’s a little known fact that homemade ketchup is ridiculously simple to make and takes next to no time. It also lasts a good chunk of time in your fridge, so you can make a big batch and enjoy gobs of it on whatever you like for weeks to come.
makes 1 cup of ketchup
1/3 cup BPA free can of tomato paste
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, or to taste
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup of water
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1. In a medium sauce pan, combine all of the ingredients with a whisk over medium heat. Continue whisking until mixture is smooth in consistency. Taste mixture and add or sweetener or sea salt to fit your personal taste preference. Allow mixture to come to a slow boil.
2. Once slowly boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes (or until ketchup starts to thicken up), stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.
3. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and allow the ketchup cool completely. Store in air tight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.