SAVOR THE SWEET POTATO

It’s sweet potato season! I’m especially fond of sweet potatoes for their dual sweet and savory satisfaction factor, as well as for their versatility (enjoy them roasted, mashed, grilled, or in soups and smoothies). Even more importantly, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of nutrients for your body and skin.

Rich in Vitamin C, sweet potatoes boost collagen production and encourage the renewal process in the skin, as well as help ward off cold and flu viruses. They’re also a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral our bodies utilize to balance cortisol – the stress hormone that affects oil production in the skin. Concerned about sugar intake? “I’ve heard sweet potatoes are not the healthiest choice due to the high sugar content.” It is true, sweet potatoes are higher in sugars relative to the potato and other vegetables, however their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain. This makes sweet potatoes an excellent alternative to sugary sweets and desserts!

Try including sweet potatoes in your next home-cooked meal. Here’s a delicious recipe my family enjoys frequently with roasted chicken, fish or a salad. In a pinch, you can use store-bought basil pesto or artichoke-lemon pesto for quick weeknight meals.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Parsley Lemon Pesto

Ingredients:

- 4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch wedges

- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

- 2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley

- 1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic (about 1 small clove)

- 1/2 cup raw walnuts, toasted

- Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, turning once, until golden and tender; 23 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.

3. As the sweet potatoes roast, pulse the parsley, garlic, walnuts, zest, and lemon juice in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Drizzle the remaining 6 tablespoons of oil and process until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Dress the slightly cooled sweet potatoes with pesto, and enjoy!