Ah, fries….We all love them, and then inevitably feel guilty when our fingers and pants are covered in grease and we realize we just ate a whole basket of fries. Or does that just happen to me? Well, I can tell you I’ve made these 3 times in the last week and haven’t felt guilty once! So I decided to measure the ingredients, call them Smoky Sweet Potato Fries, and share them with you. I realize I’m not bringing anything revolutionary to your table here. Sweet potato fries are everywhere. But I enjoyed these so much and I think you will too.
French fries cause inflammation?
Let’s talk about why ordering french fries at a restaurant probably isn’t the best idea. It’s not the white potatoes themselves that are unhealthy, but the oils that they are cooked in. Most eateries use canola oil or “vegetable oil” in their deep fryer. These oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which means they are very unstable and go rancid easily. When exposed to high temperatures, they become damaged, oxidized, and turn into TRANS FAT (which is TOXIC). When this happens, your body no longer recognizes this oil as real food. The fatty acid molecules get skewed, form free radicals, and wreak havoc on the body by attacking and damaging DNA, cell membranes, vascular walls, and red blood cells. All of which leads to deeper physiological damage and inflammation, the underlying cause of all modern diseases.
Omega-6 oils are pro-inflammatory in the high amounts that we eat them in the Standard American Diet (SAD). They are found in almost all processed and refined foods, including chips, crackers, cookies, popcorn, bread, salad dressing, tomato sauce, and pre-made meals. The overconsumption of omega-6s used in these processed foods contributes to chronic inflammatory conditions such as allergies, anxiety, asthma, cancer, depression, fatigue, heart disease, and autoimmunity.
Am I telling you that you should never order french fries again? I would never. I am suggesting that you minimize your exposure to omega-6 fatty acids by reducing your consumption of processed and fried foods. And never cook with seed oils like canola, sunflower, corn, safflower, or soybean oil. Instead, choose naturally occurring, minimally processed options with a high saturated fatty acid profile.
Cooking with Coconut Oil
This healthy tropical oil is my favorite fat for cooking and baking. It is almost fully saturated (92%), which makes it safe for cooking and frying at higher temperatures. Coconut oil has powerful antimicrobial and anti fungal properties. It contains a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) called lauric acid. MCTs are easily digested and absorbed by the body, and are then used as a direct source of energy. Coconut oil is ideal for those of us with a dairy sensitivity because it works like butter in baking and cooking. I prefer unrefined coconut oil, but if you don’t want to taste the coconut flavor in your recipes, you can use the refined version.
Now onto the fries
These Smoky Sweet Potato Fries are the perfect balance of salty and sweet. And with only 5 ingredients, they are super simple yet surprisingly flavorful. The recipe calls for smoked paprika, and that is key here (hence the title). These are perfect as a snack on their own, or pair alongside your favorite burger. Let me know if you try these! Leave a comment or tag #sweet_serenity_nutrition on Instagram. I’d love to see. Enjoy!
- 2 large sweet potatoes (skin on)
- 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic granules (not the same as garlic powder, although that would probably work here too)
- handful of chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the sweet potatoes into long uniform "fry" size pieces. Transfer to a baking sheet and pour the melted oil on top. Make sure each piece is coated, then sprinkle on the spices and mix everything really well.
- Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet (you may want to use 2 sheets to prevent overcrowding).
- Bake for 10 minutes, then flip each fry and bake on the other side for 10 more minutes, or until browned and crispy.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley.