Steaming offers extreme speed and high hydration, which means that whatever you cook—from seasonal vegetables to proteins—will be done quickly and always moist. Don’t give up; it will happen. This recipe is from Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music.
- 3 lb. sweet potatoes, any color (6 small or 3 large), scrubbed
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- Toasted sesame seeds and lime wedges (for serving)
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket. Halve sweet potatoes crosswise if large and place in steamer. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and steam until fork-tender, 25–30 minutes.
Meanwhile, smash together butter, lime juice, tahini, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl with a fork until smooth, about 3 minutes. Season tahini butter with kosher salt and lots of pepper.
Arrange sweet potatoes on a platter or a large plate. Let cool until you can just handle them, then split open and generously spread tahini butter over. Season with sea salt; top liberally with sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges (this dish really comes alive with lots of bright citrus).
Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter
What is so special and delicious about last night’s dinner (pictured here) is not the baked beans, nor the grilled bison burger on a roll slathered with Tahini Butter, nor the freshly made dill pickles from yours truly, but it is the Steamed Sweet Potato with Tahini Butter and Toasted Sesame Seeds—a recipe from the NYTimes magazine. YUM!
A few weeks ago, Susan handed me the magazine section and said “This sweet potato recipe looks delicious. Would you make it for me? For us?”
And I did and I can’t wait to make it again.
Quoting Samin Nosrat (writing in The New York Times Magazine):
“Carla Lalli Music, a food writer and editor, is vehemently opposed to roasting sweet potatoes. “I don’t understand why people are constantly roasting them,” she says. “Roasting just makes them more fibrous and leathery, and they never, ever really get crispy.” Instead, she posits that steaming performs a kind of alchemy on sweet potatoes that roasting never does — the moist heat fluffs them into absorbent clouds. And to make up for the inherent blandness of the cooking method, she slathers them with a rich tahini butter spiked with soy sauce, which immediately melts into a mouth-smacking sauce. Her simple recipe ends with a shower of golden sesame seeds and a torrent of lime juice. Try it — every bite will surprise you with crunch, salt, umami and acidity to counterbalance the sweetness of the pillowy potatoes.”
- 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes of any color (about 4 medium), washed
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
- ¼ cup well-stirred tahini
- 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated or pounded smooth with a pinch of salt
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- Flaky sea salt, for serving
- Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket or footed colander. Place sweet potatoes in the steamer. Cover, reduce heat to medium and steam until potatoes are completely tender, 35 to 40 minutes. (Use a skewer or paring knife to check for doneness the potatoes should be soft all the way through.)
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk butter, tahini, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic until smooth. It might seem as if the butter and liquids will never fully combine, but they will — just keep stirring! Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lime juice as needed.
- Set a small pan over medium heat. Toast the sesame seeds, swirling the pan continuously, until seeds are golden. They’ll give off some oil and start to clump together, so if needed, stir with a wooden spoon to keep them moving so that they toast evenly. They’ll turn a nice deep-golden shade just as they dry off a bit, about 4 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl to prevent them from overcooking.
- When the sweet potatoes are tender, use tongs to transfer them to a large plate or platter. When they are just cool enough to handle, split potatoes in half lengthwise, and season with flaky salt. Spread tahini butter generously onto the flesh, and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately with lime wedges.
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Brown butter + tahini labneh with roasted sweet potatoes
Eating sweet potatoes exclusively in the month of November is just wrong. They are also great in July! and March! and September! and every other month of the year! A big thank you to the Indigenous peoples of America for harvesting this year-round crop for centuries, well before they sadly were used in sweet-potato-marshmallow casserole.
I’m ditching marshmallows and instead using brown butter tahini labneh, mostly because it sounds fancy af but also because it’s delicious. The brown butter gives the labneh a rich, nutty flavor, which is further enhanced with tahini. FYI the leftovers taste great with fruit.
6 sweet potatoes
3 tbsp. olive oil
6 tsp. + 1 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups labneh
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup tahini
sesame seeds, for topping
Make the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC. Scrub sweet potatoes clean, pat dry, and place on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Rub each sweet potato with 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil and top each with 1 tsp. of salt (yes, it’s salty!). Bake sweet potatoes for 60-75 minutes, or until a fork easy slides through them. Bump heat to high broil, and broil sweet potatoes for 10 minutes, until outsides are charred a bit.
Make the brown butter labneh: Place butter in a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Once butter starts to foam and boil, constantly whisk. You will see the butter begin to take on a toasty brown color, and have a nutty fragrance. When the butter has a deep brown color, turn off heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
Add labneh, tahini, 1 tsp. salt, and 3 tbsp. brown butter to a bowl, making sure to scoop up all of the brown bits from the melted butter. Mix together until incorporated.
To serve, pour labneh in the center of a platter, and using the back of a spoon, press labneh down and outwards to create a well in the center. Top with extra brown butter. Cut sweet potatoes in half or quarters, and serve alongside labneh, or on top.
store: labneh & sweet potatoes in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Steamed sweet potatoes topped with a (paleo & Whole30!) creamy, tangy tahini spread. A squeeze of lime and sprinkle of sesame seeds brings perfection.
- 6 Tbsp ghee
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- salt and pepper
- sesame seeds
- Bake or steam sweet potatoes however you choose. (If you have an Instant Pot, refer to my post on how to cook sweet potatoes in the IP!)
- While potatoes are baking/steaming, combine all ingredients for tahini butter into a food processor. Pulse a few times, then run until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Place tahini butter into the fridge to firm up a bit while the potatoes continue to cook.
- Once potatoes are done, allow to cool slightly.
- Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, then slather with tahini butter. The more the better, I say.
- Sprinkle with a good coating of sesame seeds. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of flaky salt to take it to perfection.
If you want to make this a complete meal, add some protein! I love cutting the potato open, adding some shredded chicken, then topping the whole thing with the tahini butter. Yum.
Monday 23rd of November 2020
Okay, what is tahini and where do I find it? This just looks so yummy! Perfect replacement of candied yams or Whatever super sugar loaded thing cooked in the past! Thank you!
Monday 23rd of November 2020
Hi Skeet - tahini is a paste made out of sesame seeds. You'll either find it with condiments/oils, or in the ethnic foods aisle. You're going to love these!
Sweet potato nutrition and health benefits
Sweet potatoes are incredibly nutritious and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. They are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A - helpful for your immune system and eye health. Since vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient, fat helps increase absorption. That's why this recipe includes a delicious tahini butter to serve with the sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are also a great source of fiber - 1 cup contains 7 grams of fiber! Fiber is vital for gut health and chronic disease prevention and management. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of potassium and provide vitamins C and B6 (source).
These sweet potatoes might be packed with flavor, but luckily not packed with too many ingredients. In an effort to keep things minimal, there are only 7 ingredients to make this delicious root veggie dish (and most of them are pantry staples).
- Sweet potatoes
- Avocado oil
- Maple syrup
Savoury tahini recipes
Tahini is a key ingredient in this velvety chickpea dip, which makes a great addition to a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean mezze feast. Making your own hummus is easier than you’d think, try it here…
Super-seedy salad with tahini dressing
A tangy tahini and yogurt dressing is the perfect way to finish this veggie salad, packed with prebiotic goodness.
Roast carrots with tahini sauce
Roast carrots and chickpeas and serve with a sauce made of tahini, lemon and garlic. Any leftovers make a great packed lunch.
Deep-fried sprouts with tahini dip
A thick and creamy tahini dip is the perfect partner for these crispy brussels sprouts, ready in just 15 minutes.
Baba ganoush with lavash
Check out our take on traditional Eastern Mediterranean baba ganoush. Comprised of grilled aubergines and tahini, this dip is seriously creamy. What’s more, it’s vegan too.
Notes about this recipe
Where’s the full recipe - why can I only see the ingredients?
At Eat Your Books we love great recipes – and the best come from chefs, authors and bloggers who have spent time developing and testing them.
We’ve helped you locate this recipe but for the full instructions you need to go to its original source.
If the recipe is available online - click the link “View complete recipe”– if not, you do need to own the cookbook or magazine.
Sameh’s recipes are deeply rooted in his family with his love of cooking mostly influenced by his parents and you will see this passion shine across the pages of The New Mediterranean Table. When he was a child, Sameh’s parents actually put together a manuscript of Palestinian recipes with the intention of it becoming The Encyclopedia of Palestinian Cuisine. Unfortunately, his family’s relocation to Jordan during the Gulf War occurred before the book could be published. Through their moves, the manuscript remained intact and has become a foundation for many of Sameh’s dishes.
Chapters are divided based on course: Small Plates, Large Plates, Side Dishes, Dessert, Drink, and The Larder. While you will find a handful of traditional recipes in The New Mediterranean Table, most are recreations by Sameh featuring the amazing spices and flavors of the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Europe.
The stunning photography is provided by Matt Lien. Many of the recipes include a beautiful full page photo of the finished product. Some also include step-by-step photos. Each dish includes a headnote with background information, helpful tips, personal stories, and serving size. Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. The titles are written in English.
Spiced Tahini Loaded Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients popular in Middle Eastern cooking — tahini, sumac and pomegranate seeds — take roasted sweet potatoes to a new level.
Where to Buy: Sumac is available at many spice stores and well-stocked supermarkets, but if you can’t find it, grate the zest of the lemons you’re juicing and use that instead.
When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.
Place a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and place them on the baking sheet along with the chickpeas. Drizzle with the oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt, tossing the chickpeas and rubbing the oil on the sweet potatoes to ensure even coverage.
Turn the potato halves cut side down and roast 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender and the chickpeas are a little crispy, stirring the chickpeas once halfway through.
In a small bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. It should be the consistency of ranch dressing stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons water to thin it out, if needed.
Place the sweet potato halves cut side up on a plate. Sprinkle the chickpeas with the pepper, cumin and sumac and toss to coat.
Leaving a 1/2-inch border intact around the edges and bottom, scoop the remaining flesh out of the sweet potato halves into a bowl. Mix half of the tahini dressing with the flesh of the sweet potatoes, then, using a fork, mash the potato until smooth. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Spoon the seasoned potato flesh back into the skins.
Top with the spiced chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, parsley and mint. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.