The New Veganism: Sweet Potatoes and Coconut Oil

2014-0114_gena_sweet-potatoes-coconut-oil-012Photograph by James Ransom.

Is a whole column devoted to roasting sweet potatoes in coconut oil a little excessive? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I love the mild, slightly buttery taste that coconut oil lends to roasted vegetables, and my friends over at Food52 feel the same way.


Today’s new veganism column is all about this heavenly marriage of ingredients. I walk through a recipe for perfectly roasted sweet potatoes, and while I’m at it, I offer a few options for enticing toppings and seasonings. Check it out, and happy roasting!

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Categories: Recipes, Side Dishes
Method: Oven
Ingredients: Sweet Potato
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan

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  1. Going crazy with the sweet potatoes. I think I will add cumin, Cheyenne and chili. Thanks for the recipe. Feel Better!

  2. Coconut oil is seriously good with everything. I would love to get your opinion on it because I’ve been reading a lot about how oils are not a nutritious food and just a source of pure fat, but then would coconut oil fall into that category even though its metabolized differently?

  3. This is the ONLY way I will roast my sweet potatoes! I loved seeing that you do too!:) It’s amazing how delicious two simple foods can be. Thank you for the beautiful photos and inspiration Gena<3

  4. I always roast my sweet potatoes in coconut oil too but will have to try those add-ins. Shredded coconut and orange zest?! Yum.
    A little note- Under the first pic here you write “roasting sweet potatoes in olive oil” but I think you meant coconut oil. Hope you don’t mind me pointing it out.

  5. I love the orange zest idea! I’m like you–I usually just do coconut oil, sea salt, and black pepper–but now I’m tempted to add some other flavors into the mix. Rosemary also sounds like it would be the perfect compliment.

  6. Is there a specific type of coconut oil to use?

    I ask because I had a coconut oil incident. I buy the Trader Joes Virgin Coconut Oil and typically I use it just for baking, but I have always heard about it having such a high smoke point so one day I heated some in a sautee pan. My intention was to cook some Field Roast veggie sausages in it but it started smoking and burning to the pan, over medium heat! I threw a sausage in anyway but when it was done I couldn’t eat it, it just tasted like smoke.

    Anyway, I’ve been to scared to heat it ever since then. Please help!

    • Hi Amy!

      Well, they say that refined coconut oil holds up better at higher temps (about 450F), as opposed to virgin, which holds up till around 350F (probably just an estimate). I’ve used virgin for baked goods (which get cooked at 350 or so) and refined for pan frying or roasting at 400. Does this help?


  7. This sounds fantastic! I’m discovering a whole new love for sweet potatoes since I’ve started eating vegan – and I’ve only just started experimenting with coconut oil. Can’t wait to try this!

  8. You and me both, girl. I have roasted sweet potato almost every night (last night and tonight, even) .. It’s like the ultimate comfort food, like you said. I’ve never used it with coconut oil but I’ll do it next time! I’ve roasted other veggies in coconut oil so I’m not sure why I didn’t make the call for sweet potatoes, too?? Thanks for the nudge 🙂

    • Enjoy! My editor at Food52 and I are a little obsessed, so maybe it’s just us…but I think you’ll love it too.