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Caramelized Sweet Potatoes with Lemony Herbed Ricotta

Makes 4 servings10 minutes hands on time60 minutes total time

Active time: 10 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates per serving: 16 grams

If you're looking to:

Lower the carbs: Try eating just half of a half, and add another protein to the meal (such as fish or chicken) to round it out. 

Lower the fat: Skip the nuts.

Lower the salt: Use less salt.


2 scrubbed sweet potatoes

2 tablespoon olive oil, divided use

Kosher salt (or table salt)

1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (or a different herb of your choosing, such as chives or parsley)

The grated zest of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, minced, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Black pepper

¼ cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (to toast the pecans, put them in a 350 oven for 4 or 5 minutes, until they’re just turning golden and fragrant)


  1. Heat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick foil.
  2. Cut each sweet potato in half. Put the halves in a large bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a robust sprinkling of salt, and use your hands to rub all the sweet potato halves so that both the skins and cut sides get nice and oily and salty.
  3. Put the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet cut-side down, drizzle any extra oil over them, and put them in the oven for 45 minutes, at which point they should be caramelizing and soft (if they’re not, pop them back in the oven, checking them every 10 minutes until they are). The photo on the right shows them cut-side up after baking.

  4. Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta, remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, salt to taste, and a few grindings of black pepper. 
  5. Top each sweet potato half with some of the ricotta mixture, top with pecans, and serve right away.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book "How to Be A Person" was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]