Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Sweet Potato Rounds with Herbed Ricotta and Walnuts

‘Tis the season of parties, indulgence and the January reset. The good news is that it’s ok to have some of your favorites and not feel a hint of guilt. If your regular diet includes plenty of nutrient-rich foods, then a little indulgence isn’t going to hurt anyone. My favorite advice about the holidays is: STOP punishing yourself, be smart and stay hydrated (with water, not just cocktails). You can always revamp some of your usual holiday dishes to pack a healthy punch. By bringing a delicious, yet, better-for-you appetizer, you can be the hit of the party and know that at least one dish will have some benefits!

What: Cinnamon roasted crisp sweet potato rounds topped with herbed ricotta, cranberries, walnuts and honey look beautiful while bringing a myriad of flavors. The simple ingredients are probably already available in your refrigerator and come together in such a wonderful way that people will wonder when you became a gourmet chef!

Why it’s perfect: Sweet potatoes are packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. They provide 6 grams of fiber per 3 ounce serving and only 140 calories.  Using part-skim ricotta cheese cuts down on the saturated fat and lightens up the calories while providing a small amount of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Top this app with sweet delicious dried cranberries and omega-3 filled walnuts to pack in even more nutritional punch. This lower-calorie appetizer is easy to make and has so many benefits to make it an all-around winner!

When: Pre-dinner appetizer

Serves 12-14

Sweet Potato Rounds with Herbed Ricotta and Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 3-4 mini sweet potatoes or 1-2 full-sized sweet potatoes, sliced in ¼-inch rounds
  • Grapeseed or olive oil
  • Ground cinnamon

Herbed Ricotta:

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

For Serving:

  • 1 cup raw walnuts, roasted and chopped
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • Honey for drizzle

Preparation

  1. Add all of the ingredients for the herbed ricotta to a small bowl and stir well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the sweet potato slices to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with grapeseed or olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt and ground cinnamon over rounds. Use your hands to rub the oil and seasoning on both sides of the sweet potato rounds. Arrange rounds on a large baking sheet (or two if necessary). Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the rounds, then bake for another 17 to 20 minutes, or until rounds are cooked through and crispy on the edges (about 40 mins total).
  3. Place walnuts on a cutting board and chop. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Ten minutes before the potato rounds are finished baking, place the walnuts in the oven to roast.
  4. Remove sweet potato rounds and walnuts from the oven.
  5. Place oven on “high” broil setting and move the oven rack second to the top shelf. Place a dollop of herbed ricotta on each sweet potato round and place in the oven for 2 minutes, just until ricotta is melted and warm.
  6. Sprinkle chopped walnuts and dried cranberries on top of the rounds and drizzle with honey. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Roasted Root

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