This Roasted Sweet Potato Recipe Makes an Easy Thanksgiving Upgrade

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Featuring conversations with more than 60 Black food professionals who range from chefs to recipe developers to farm managers, Klancy Miller’s cookbook For the Culture feels like the most engaging party you’ve ever attended. Its guests, as Miller writes in the introduction, “carry on a rich, sacred tradition that Black women have been at the center of, stewarding the land, educating people about what they cook or imbibe, cooling meals that bring people together and allow our humanity and love to be shared.”

Miller’s conversation with chef and cookbook author Rahanna Bisseret Martinez encompasses that spirit. “What I most enjoy is being in community with other people who really love to cook and then also being free to express myself with my food,” Bisseret Martinez tells Miller. For the holidays, her roasted sweet potato recipe offers an easy upgrade that’s big on texture and flavor.

Whole Roasted Sweet Potato with Canela Ginger Crumble Recipe

By Rahanna Bisseret Martinez

Serves 4

In my family, we roast sweet potatoes whole, cut them in half, and sprinkle the cut surfaces with cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter, or for a more savory taste we use turmeric, cumin, and white pepper (inspired by the flavors of the Middle Eastern squash dish borani kadoo). Finally, we pop them under the broiler for a minute or so. My adaptation has a streusel-like topping that adds a zesty, warmly spiced accent. It would even be good served with ice cream for dessert.


2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed

4 teaspoons butter, at room temperature

½ cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

¼ cup chopped pecans

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

½ cup flour


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Step 2: Place the sweet potatoes on a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until tender, about 1 hour.

Step 3: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the butter, sugar, ginger, pecans, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and flour. The mixture should look sandy. Set aside.

Step 4: The sweet potatoes are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove them from the oven (leave it on) and, protecting your hands with potholders or oven mitts, cut each one in half lengthwise.

Step 5: Place the halves cut side up on the pan and sprinkle each with a quarter of the topping mixture. Return the pan to the oven, placing it on the top rack, and roast the sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes more, until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Excerpted from the book For The Culture: Phenomenal Black Women and Femmes in Food: Interviews, Inspiration, and Recipes by Klancy Miller. Copyright © 2023 by Klancy Miller. Photography © 2023 by Kelly Marshall. From Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

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