Crop Chef: Climb Out of your Roast-and-Serve Rut

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes need to cure in hot, humid weather to develop sugars after they are harvested.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

We didn’t want to have to tell you this, but your fall vegetables are totally talking behind your back. Yes, even the sweet potatoes. They’re saying you did exciting and inventive things with all the summer vegetables you brought in from the backyard, but you’re giving them the short shrift.

Shhhh…don’t try to deny it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of—everyone falls into a fall vegetable roast-and-serve rut. And when we do, we use these recipes to climb out and show that squash what we’re made of.

Moroccan Sweet Potatoes

Could there be a cuter, more Thanksgiving-esque restaurant name than Claire’s Corner Copia? We think not. This vegetarian spot in New Haven, Connecticut is run by chef and registered nurse Claire Criscuolo, who knows how to make dishes good and good for you. Here’s her spiced-up spin on roasted sweet potatoes, which are loaded with beta-carotine and fiber:

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 medium carrots, cut on the diagonal into ½ inch slices
  • 1 large yellow onion, slice into ¼-inch rings
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • One 16-ounce can chickpeas
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, olive oil, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla extract and raisins. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; toss well. Pour the water into a rectangular glass baking dish, turn the potato mixture into the dish, cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Remove the foil and stir in the chickpeas and walnuts. Continue cooking, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Kale, Avocado, Grapefruit, Almond and Quinoa Salad

What can you do with kale that you haven’t done 1,000 times before? Stop hiding it in soups and let its leafy light shine in this salad, created by John Brand, executive chef at Ostra restaurant at the Mokara Hotel & Spa in San Antonio, Texas.

  • 6 ounces young kale greens, washed and hand torn
  • 1 whole avocado
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled and segmented, save the core of the grapefruit
  • 2 ounces red quinoa, cooked
  • 1 ounce shaved almonds
  • Salt and pepper

Place washed greens in bowl, peel avocado and place in bowl, squeeze grapefruit core over greens and season with salt and pepper. With clean hands, work the ingredients together.  The combination of avocado and fresh grapefruit juice becomes your oil-free vinaigrette. When thoroughly mixed, add the quinoa, almonds and segments. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Can be made two hours ahead of time.

Balsamic Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Thyme

In their natural state, beets aren’t the sexiest root vegetables around. But when chef Chris Hill of the recipe-filled website Bachelor Kitchen adds a little balsamic vinegar and a solid smattering of goat cheese, they become a lot more attractive.

  • 1 bundle of beets, 5-6
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, picked from stems
  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Snip ends off of beets—where the stem meets the body of beet—and discard the ends. Peel the skin and slice into ¼-inch discs. Reserve beet skin for chips. Toss beets in bowl with thyme, salt and pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and lay flat and even on sheet pan. Roast in a preheated, 400-degree oven for 30-40 minutes until tender. Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve immediately.

If you reserved the beet skins, shallow fry them for 3-4 minutes, allowing them to crisp. Garnish your dish with them, providing a crispy finish to each bite.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Sow and Plant Fruiting Vegetables

Large leaves, golden flowers and heavy yields make squashes, zucchini and cucumbers ideal plants for productive pots.

Addition Planning: Bumping Out

Avoid costly foundation or roof work by making new space that hangs off the side of the house

Secret's Out: Kortney and Dave Are Back!

Nashville home-flip wunderkinds Kortney and Dave Wilson are back for a brand-new season of Masters of Flip.

Best Places for Bump Outs

Consider these projects as alternatives to building full-scale additions

Building Up Vs. Building Out

Consider the pros and cons of the direction in which you construct your home addition

Colors That Bring Out the Best in Your Kitchen

Everything old in the kitchen can look new again with a splash of color.


Vintage Flip

6:30am | 5:30c

Flea Market Flip

8:30am | 7:30c

Flea Market Flip

9:30am | 8:30c

Flea Market Flip

10:30am | 9:30c

Flea Market Flip

11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

House Hunters

1:30am | 12:30c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.