Tired of the same old Thanksgiving sugary sweet potatoes topped with brown sugar and marshmallows and other sweet things they don't even need?

For a change, consider going savory this season.

I've been experimenting with several savory sweet potato recipes over the past few years and have finally settled on one that I do believe tops all others. It's a very simple recipe that gets a crowning touch with apples and goat cheese and is far different from the traditional dish of sweet potatoes on the Thanksgiving table.

Though this Thanksgiving will be far different from any others we've experienced, I hope in some way you're able to connect with family members near and far, whether it be via Zoom or small gatherings in your home. In spite of everything, it's a day we can think about everything we have to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


Goat Cheese Sweet Potato Rounds

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 large, long, narrow, sweet potatoes (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), scrubbed, unpeeled, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey

1/4 cup toasted pecan halves

1 small shallot

1/2 small tart apple

3 tablespoons reduced-sugar dried cranberries

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 ounces chilled goat cheese, divided

Place baking racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil. Brush the sheets with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil each. With a very sharp knife, slice the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the oiled baking sheets, then brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown underneath, rotating the pans 180 degrees and changing their positions on the upper/lower racks halfway through. Remove the pans from the oven, flip the slices over, then roast for an additional 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.

While the potatoes bake, in the bottom of a small mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, Dijon and maple syrup. Finely chop the pecans, shallot (you should have about 1/4 cup), apple (no need to peel; you will have about 1/3 cup) and cranberries. Add them to the bowl with the dressing, and sprinkle with the rosemary. With a rubber spatula, toss to coat with the dressing, scraping the spatula along the bottom of the bowl so that the ingredients are well-moistened. Fold in half of the goat cheese.

When the sweet potatoes are finished, let them cool slightly, then transfer them to a serving plate. Top with the pecan mixture, then sprinkle with the remaining goat cheese. Serve immediately.

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Anne Braly