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Parmesan and pine nut sweet potato stacks with garlic and herbs

Every holiday, we expect the same recipes. Creamy mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows... you get the drill! But if 2020 has taught us anything, it's that it's time to think outside the box. This year, I'm doing that with food. As we've clung to our kitchens and finally experimented with recipes we've been wanting to make for years, I'm stepping out of my normal holiday routine and making dishes that are a bit different than year's past.

Introducing my sweet potato stacks, layered high with toasted pine nuts, parmigiano reggiano, garlic, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Sweet potato recipes can often be too sweet, and this savory, nutty, herby dish perfectly balances out these taters! I love this recipe because it's vibrant, fresh, and much lighter than your classic holiday sides, while still hitting the same comforting notes we all want and love. This side dish feels like you're eating buttery scalloped potatoes, but is packed with even more flavor, and is so much better for you. Plus, it's made in individual servings, which is perfect for this year! After trying these darling bites, this recipe may just become a new part of your holiday traditions! Let's get cooking!


3 medium sized sweet potatoes (you may have leftovers and that's okay!)

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

5 fresh garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese (plus a few extra tablespoons for topping at the end)

nonstick cooking spray

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2:

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

Step 3:

Make the herb oil.

Place your chopped rosemary, sage, thyme, minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk together until combined.

Step 4:

Peel your sweet potatoes and cut off the ends on both sides. Then, slice each potato into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Be sure each round is about the same size, or your stacks will come out lopsided and may fall apart. For reference, you'll be cutting your potatoes horizontally!

Step 5:

Toast the pine nuts over medium heat for a just a few minutes. Be sure to stir them constantly so they don't burn! Then, set them aside to cool.

Step 6:

Grate your parmigiano reggiano (PLEASE use the fresh stuff, it really makes a difference) and place into a small bowl. Now, you're ready to assemble!

Step 7:

Place two sweet potato slices in the bottom of each muffin tin and layer with 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of the herb and olive oil mixture, 1/4 teaspoon pine nuts, and 1/2 teaspoon parmigiano reggiano. Repeat this until the muffin tins are filled to the top and finish each stack with a bare sweet potato slice. Lightly press down on each one to make sure the stacks are set. Then, top each stack with a little dab of the remaining herb and olive oil mixture.

Step 8:

Cover your muffin pan with foil, and place the sweet potatoes in the oven for about 20 - 25 minutes or until tender. Then, remove the potatoes and preheat your oven to broil. Take the foil off your sweet potatoes and top each stack with another teaspoon of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. Broil for 3 - 5 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and crispy.

Step 9:

Remove the sweet sweet potato stacks from the oven and let them cool in the muffin pan for about 15 - 20 minutes. This will gives the stacks a chance to set up. Then, scoop each one out and serve with freshly ground pepper, a light sprinkling of salt, and a few more toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!

Health benefits:

Sweet potatoes are an absolute superfood! They're loaded with vitamins and minerals, and California sweet potatoes are the most nutrient-dense commodity per acre out of any commercially grown food in the state! Not to mention, from a beauty perspective, sweet potatoes repair and smooth your skin. Pine nuts are your heart's best friend! They're rich in monounsaturated fats and help lower your body's cholesterol. They also aid in weight management. Finally, real, fresh parmigiano reggiano is one of the best cheeses you can eat! It's lactose-free, low in fat, and an excellent source of protein and calcium. So, please know when you're feeding this show-stopping dish to you're loved ones, you're actually giving them the greatest holiday gift of all -- better health! Happy eating!

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