When I was a kid, my family frequented a diner in our town. I always got the sweet potato fries. Even if I ordered the soup, I was still getting sweet potato fries. They were thin cut like chips, and were hot and crisp. One bite, and they would start to disintegrate in your mouth. For me, it was the plant-based equivalent to eating bacon right out of the skillet. And to this day, if there are sweet potato fries on the menu, I am all in.
Today’s recipe is an attempt to make a slightly healthier sweet potato fry and pair it with a dynamite sauce. Lemon, pistachios, garlic, mint, parsley, and sumac create a Levantine-inspired dipping sauce. Hand-cut sweet potatoes are drizzled in olive oil and baked on a cookie sheet. Put them together, and you have an extraordinary side.
While I used vegan greek yogurt in this recipe, it can be hard to come by. Feel free to substitute regular plain vegan yogurt or vegan sour cream. Sumac really makes the dipping sauce come alive. If you don’t have any on hand or have a hard time finding it where you are, use some white vinegar or additional lemon juice to add a more astringent quality to the sauce. However, I would say that the sumac is really, really good, so it’s worth trying to locate!
Finally, try to cut the fries in uniform size. It will prevent some of the fries from cooking through before the rest have a chance to cook. In the end, it may save you from burning a few.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Lemon Pistachio Dipping Sauce
Sweet Potato Fries:
2 large slim sweet potatoes, cut into fries
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Sumac, to taste
Lemon Pistachio Dipping Sauce:
1 cup roasted and shelled pistachios
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp fresh mint
1 5.3 ounce plain vegan greek yogurt (or ½ cup vegan sour cream)
1-2 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
½ tsp sumac
Salt, to taste
Water, to thin
1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread sweet potatoes out on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper. Move the sweet potatoes around, so they are completely coated in olive oil.
2. When the oven is ready, bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the fries, and put back in the oven. Broil for 3-5 minutes to create a crisp outside. Watch closely to make sure they do not burn. Flip and return to oven for 3-5 more minutes of broiling. Again, watch them closely to make sure they do not burn. Remove when they are your preferred level of crispness.
3. In a skillet, add the garlic cloves and a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Allow it to get golden brown on the outside, and then, place it in a blender or food processor.
4. Add pistachios, parsley, mint, vegan yogurt, lemon juice, and hot sauce to the garlic cloves in the blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, thin with some water or olive oil. When it reaches the right consistency, stir in the sumac. Taste, and adjust seasonings.
5. Sprinkle sumac over fries and sauce. Serve immediately.