Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake is one of my favorite fall-inspired side dishes.
Nothing says autumn like sweet potatoes and apples. They’re two quintessential favorites of the season, and both are incredibly versatile. I decided to chop both and bake them in the oven together to let the flavors marry, and the result was so good.
Basically, the apples and sweet potatoes roast while in the oven, and the edges get lightly browned. The caramelized edges are sweet and have a depth that’s hard to get from other methods, and the flavors concentrate. Cranberries, notorious for their tart, almost bitter flavor, combine perfectly with the sweet apples and sweet potatoes. Bringing cinnamon to the party adds subtle, spicy warmth.
I don’t use dried, sweetened cranberries. They are usually loaded with sugar and tossed in canola oil (yuck). But since fresh cranberries aren’t available year-round, I usually stock up with several bags of fresh cranberry in the fall and freeze them. That way, I can pop a handful into anything I’m cooking, no matter what time of year it is. Cranberries are packed with Vitamin C and loaded with fiber and antioxidants, so they’re a potent little powerhouse of nutrition.
If you’re tired of plain, baked sweet potatoes as your go-to post-workout carb source, try this Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake instead. Want to learn more about why carbs (and protein) are important to eat after your hard exercise session? Click here to read an article I wrote about the topic. The long and short of it is eating carbs post-workout replenishes fuel (glycogen) in your muscle tissue, helping you recover more efficiently. Starchy carbohydrates like sweet potato, white potato, plantains, and hard squash – plus some non-starchy fruits like banana and pineapple – are rich sources of muscle-replenishing glucose.
I recommend making this recipe in a ceramic or glass baking dish with a cover. Metal baking dishes will cause the apple and sweet potato to brown too quickly, resulting in burning. Be sure to thoroughly grease the inside of the dish to minimize sticking. If you don’t have a baking dish, you could use a baking sheet instead. Just use parchment paper to line the sheet, and nothing will stick. If you opt for this method, you may want to decrease the baking time and stir everything a few times during the baking process so everything browns evenly. If you opt for a baking sheet, I would add the cranberries in the last 20 minutes of baking time so they don’t burn.
This Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake recipe would pair perfectly with these main proteins:
- Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs
- Easy Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken
- Brined and Seared Pork Chops
- Emergency Meatballs
- Pomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef
This list just scratches the surface! View more recipes by clicking here to go to the Recipe Index.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (~190°C). Grease the inside of a large baking dish with coconut oil or ghee.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and apples. Chop into uniform pieces, ~1/2" dice.
- Place half the chopped sweet potato/apple into the dish. Sprinkle with ¼ cup cranberries, half the cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt.
- Repeat with remaining sweet potato, apple, cranberry, cinnamon and salt.
- Dot the top with small pieces of ghee or coconut oil.
- Bake covered for ~1 hour or until the potato and apple have softened.
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