As Thanksgiving draws closer, we’re all trying to put together menus that will entice and satisfy everyone at the table. And that’s where this sweet potato side dish comes in. It’s tasty, colorful, vegetarian, and it can be adapted to be vegan-friendly. Also, it’s versatile enough that it can even take a starring role.
This sweet potato side dish starts with roasted sweet potatoes that we glazed with a fragrant pomegranate syrup. (We adapted this recipe from a dish we made at a Simple Gourmet cooking class.) Next, we topped the potatoes with lightly toasted red walnuts and more pomegranate, plus a little bit of parsley to give it a pop of color. So there’s brown, red, orange, green – Check! We’ve got all of your favorite fall hues in here.
Sweet Potato With Pomegranate and Red Walnuts
Sweet Potato Side Dish with Pomegranate and Red Walnuts
- 1/2 cup 100% pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup honey (may substitute 1/4 cup sugar)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 clove garlic (peeled and left whole)
- 1 tbsp cold butter (may substitute vegan butter)
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup red walnut pieces
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or fresh mint
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small pot, combine the pomegranate juice, honey, brown sugar, orange zest, cinnamon stick, and garlic clove. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. (The liquid should be just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.)
Remove mixture from heat and whisk in the cold butter. Toss the potato wedges with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with about half of the pomegranate glaze. Place the wedges on a large baking sheet so they are not overlapping. Roast for 10 minutes. Drizzle with a little more glaze and continue roasting until tender - about another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and place wedges on a large platter. Drizzle with the remaining glaze. taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
For the garnish: Lightly toast the walnuts until they are lightly warm and toasty, approximately two minutes. Garnish the potatoes with the toasted walnuts, pomegranate arils, and parsley or mint for garnish. Serve warm or room temperature.
Before you get cooking, we wanted to add a quick note about red walnuts: These mild walnuts with a bright red skin are a cross between red-skinned Persian walnuts and creamy English walnuts. They’re a seasonal specialty (we got ours through Melissa’s Produce) available in the months of November, December, and January. This makes them perfect for colorful holiday dishes. Plus, if you store them in the fridge you can even use them on Valentine’s Day.
Of course, you don’t *need* to toast them for this dish. However, we like them just a little bit warm and toasty. Toast them just before you’re ready to serve, and you’ll have the perfect nutty burst of flavor.
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Blogger disclosure: We received red walnuts from Melissa’s Produce to sample. We did not receive compensation for this post. Additionally, all opinions expressed are our own.