Vegan Recipe: Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chili and Cumin

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eating veganBaked Sweet Potato Fries

Good news: you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving! Sweet potatoes possess the near-magical ability to make any meal a special event! Rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, potassium, iron, protein, calcium, and other vital nutrients, farmers’ market sweet potatoes offer powerful bang-for-your-buck in terms of both taste and nutrition. So why wait for winter holidays, to enjoy the sweet autumn bounty? Pick up a bag of sweet potatoes from your local farm truck or neighborhood garden, and try these tasty sweet potato oven fries; your sandwiches will thank you!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries


  • 7 – 8 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive, walnut, or almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne, or to taste (optional)


  1. Fill a large saucepan about 2/3 full of water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and slice into thin strips or wedges, depending on whether you want thick or thin ‘fries’. I like medium-skinny fries, about 1/2″ – 1/4″ wide by 3″- 4″ long; but thicker ‘homestyle’ wedge fries also work fine (and need less chopping).
  3. When all the fries are sliced, dump ’em into the boiling water; turn off heat, set the pot off the burner, and let stand 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Combine chili powder, nutritional yeast, salt, paprika, parsley, cumin, garlic, coriander (if using), and cayenne (if using) in a small bowl, and mix well.
  6. Drain sweet potatoes in a colander, dry a bit with a clean kitchen towel, and place in a large bowl. Drizzle sweet potatoes with oil and toss to coat. Add the spice blend and toss until spices seem well distributed.
  7. Spread sweet potatoes in a single layer on an oiled or parchment-papered 17″ x 11″ cookie sheet or roasting pan. Roast 5 to 10 minutes, stirring at five minutes and checking frequently until done — for best results, definitely taste-test as you go!
  8. Skinny fries take 7 – 8 minutes; wedge fries take a few minutes more.
  9. Taste and adjust spices as desired; makes 6-8 side dish servings. Serve with sandwiches or wraps, as you would traditional French fries, or as a delicious stand-alone snack.

Production Notes

Freeze half the batch for a quick future side dish or snack: line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, and spread sweet potato fries in a single layer. Cover with aluminum foil (optional) and freeze 1-2 hours, then transfer to an airtight container. When ready to eat pre-frozen fries, cook in a single layer in oven (or toaster oven) until heated through, about 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Stir them around on the cookie sheet once or twice, during cooking time.

If you double the recipe, note that the spice blend doesn’t double in an exactly 1:1 ratio. Mix twice the listed amounts of chili powder, cumin, coriander (if used), nutritional yeast, paprika, and dried parsley together in a small bowl or jar. Add salt and cayenne to taste, and apply to sliced sweet potatoes as your taste buds dictate. Bake in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.

Variation: toss finished oven-fries with 1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro just before serving, and top with a dollop of good chutney or vegan raita.


Image credit: Creative Commons photo by Stacy Spensley.

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