These twice –baked sweet potatoes are blended with creamy ricotta cheese, resulting in a highly nutritious, protein-packed creamy inside, and a crispy outside filled with the flavor and aroma of rosemary. A balanced meal all-in-one.
Thanksgiving might be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to put away the sweet potatoes. The bright orange veggie deserves a place on your plate, all year long. Let me share why.
The Naturally Sweet, Sweet Potato
I’m a produce lover at heart, but that’s not the case for everyone. For some, increasing vegetable intake is made possible only with the addition of added fats and sugars. Don’t get me wrong – if you need to add oil to your Brussels sprouts to make them edible, or melted cheese to your broccoli to even consider eating it, I’ll take it. The nutrition you’ll get is worth them trade. It’s just important to understand how doing so can drive up the fat and calorie count. I explain more about that in my post for oven-roasted Brussels sprouts.
Sweet potatoes are different. They’re one of the few vegetables that taste great without added fats, and their naturally sweetness eliminates the need for added sugars.
A Nutrient Powerhouse
Now to the nutrition! Sweet potatoes are one of the best vegetables you can eat. According to the USDA nutrient database, one medium-sized potato (~5” long and 130 grams) provides 112 calories, 26 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 438 mg potassium, and 18,400 IU of vitamin A. That’s 10% of the recommended daily value (DV) for potassium, over 100% of the DV vitamin A, and a great source of fiber. They also contribute to your daily needs for calcium, vitamin B-6, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, vitamin C, and more!
In addition to their rich vitamin and mineral content, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are also a source of carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Those are the phytochemicals studied for their potential roles in reducing the risk of heart disease, common cancers, and other degenerative diseases.
The Recipe – Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Rosemary & Ricotta
There is one nutrient you won’t find much of in sweet potatoes, though – that nutrient is protein. To balance your plate, you can pair your favorite sweet potato side dish with a lean protein like beef, fish, chicken or tofu. You can add protein to a baked sweet potato by topping it with beans or cheese. Or, you can make this twice-baked version that blends protein right into the recipe.
The recipe below calls for four large sweet potatoes, but you can adjust it based on how many servings you need. Remember, leftovers are a great thing, so make extra! Before putting them in the oven, prick them with a fork first, then bake them uncovered so that the skin can start to get crispy.
While they are baking, use the time to make the caramelized onions. Since they are diced, they should take slightly less time to caramelize, but if you have the time, you can turn down the heat and sauté them even longer for a deeper flavor. When the onions finish, transfer them to a bowl with the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper and chopped rosemary . Stir well, then set aside until the potatoes are fully baked.
You’ll need some of the ricotta cheese and rosemary to garnish the sweet potatoes, so be sure to read the directions in the recipe below so you know how much to save.
Once the potatoes finish cooking, cut them in half lengthwise, and carefully scoop out the potato. You’ll want to put the sweet potato in a bowl by itself first. That makes it much easier to mash it into a smooth consistency. Once smooth, add it to the cheese mixture and stir until it is very well combined.
Carefully spoon the potato mixture back into the potatoes skin, packing the potato down firmly. Sprinkle the remaining ricotta cheese, crushed pecans, diced cranberries and rosemary to the top. I also like to add a whole pecan on top of each potato. Return them to the oven and bake until the cheese is golden brown, and sweet potatoes are warmed throughout.
These twice-baked sweet potatoes are so creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, and the aroma and flavor of the rosemary absolutely make this dish. Give them a try and let me know what you think.
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary & Ricotta
- 4 large sweet potatoes (~1# each; 4# total)
- 1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese, lite
- 2 small white onions
- 1 tbsp dried cranberries, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup pecan halves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 stems fresh Rosemary, chopped (~3 tbsp chopped)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then line baking sheet with Parchment paper. Rinse sweet potatoes, and then prick them with a fork. Bake uncovered and unwrapped in the oven for ~1 hour. Let cool for 15 minutes.
- Set aside 1 tbsp. chopped rosemary, 8 whole pecans, the remaining chopped pecans and ¼ cup ricotta cheese. These will be sued to top the sweet potatoes at the end.
- Heat oil a medium skillet, then sauté dice onions until they begin to caramelize. This will take ~20 minutes. Add onions to a bowl with 1 ½ cup of the ricotta cheese. (Leave ¼ cup of cheese aside to top the potatoes.) Add the salt, pepper and 1 tbsp. chopped rosemary to the onions and ricotta. Stir until well combines.
- Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then carefully hollow out with a spoon. Place the inside of the sweet potato in a bowl (a different bowl than the one that the ricotta cheese mixture is in.) Mash the flesh of the sweet potato well. Once the sweet potato is soft, add it to the ricotta cheese mixture and combine well.
- Carefully spoon the potato mixture back into the potatoes skin, packing the potato down firmly. Sprinkle the remaining ricotta cheese, crushed pecans and rosemary to the top. Place a whole pecan on each potato. Bake until cheese is golden brown and sweet potatoes are warmed throughout, ~20 minutes.Serve and enjoy.
- Recipe makes 8 twice-baked potatoes.
- Serving Size: 1 twice-baked potato
- Nutrition Facts (per serving): 230 calories, 36 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 8 g protein, 6 g fat, 22 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 15% DV for potassium, 10% DV for iron
- Meal Planning Serving Sizes: 2.5 CHO; 1 PRO; 1 FAT
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