One of the hardest parts about adopting a new whole foods based diet is losing some of your favorite meals. Losing processed foods, grains and dairy products means no more:
- Ice Cream
- French Fries
I’ve never been a big fan of what I like to call the Fake and Bake Paleo recipes. For years, Paleo people have been trying to make the Perfect Paleo Brownie or Cookies or whatever. I may have saved some in the free recipes I give out, but I almost never try to make some outside of the few times I’ve tried to make Paleo Nutella. The truth is, I just don’t miss things enough to “step out” on my Paleo lifestyle.
That being said, the one exception to this rule is the french fry: one thing I will never stop missing is the McDonald’s French Fry. Oddly, I much prefer the taste of a sweet potato over the taste of a White Potato but despite all my best efforts, sweet potato fries never seems to be anywhere close to as good as a real french fry.
I’ve literally tried everything: frying them, frying them and then baking them after. Seasoning, not seasoning. Low and slow, high and fast, finishing with a broil. No matter what I do, I haven’t been able to get them crisphy. I’ve googled this issue into the dark pages of the internet: the fifth and sixth pages of Google contain shadowy places that Mufasa would never have allowed Simba to roam.
But then I found this great recipe from A Beautiful Mess. Their recipe is NOT PALEO (OMGGGGG) but I decided to steal the methodology a little bit.
The girls at A Beautiful Mess actually used a starch on the product which since it’s #NotPaleo, I chose to replace. But what to use? Arrowroot or Tapioca Starch? WE WILL FIND OUT WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU, DEAR READERS. ALL THE SACRIFICES IN THE NAME OF GOOD FRIES.
We tried both!
So here’s how to finally make some decent sweet potato fries with some tips:Our revised Paleo ingredients:
- 2 Sweet Potatoes
- 1 tbsp starch (we tried both Arrowroot and Tapioca separately).
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Seasoning to taste (we used Big Sprinkles of Paprika
and Cajun Seasoning and Salt+Pepper to Taste with dried cilantro on top)
1) Scrub your potatoes clean. Optional: skin them. I don’t skin my potatoes because skins are delicious. Slice up the potatoes into even 1” thick strips. Can I just say that you need a great kitchen knife to be Paleo? This is one of those things you should not skimp on. I love my Victorinox.
2) THIS IS KEY!!!!! SOAK THE POTATOES FOR 20 MINUTES. This gets rid of some of the excess starch in the potatoes and for whatever scientific reason, helps them to crisp up a little bit better.
3) After they’ve sufficiently soaked, drain the water and pat them dry on and with a paper towel. Take 1tbsp of oil in a bowl and toss the post soaked, now dry potatoes in them making sure to evenly coat them. Add in the starch and the seasonings and re-toss them. I took half with the Arrowroot and half with Tapioca for our great taste test. Take the remaining 1tbsp of oil and grease your aluminum foil.
In the picture below, you’ll see Tapioca is on the left and Arrowroot is on the right.
4) Bake at 450 for 12 minutes.
5) Flip fries, rotate and bake for another 12 minutes.
6) Turn off the oven, leave the door open for 6 minutes with the sweet potatoes inside. Pull them out and bask in your sweet potato glory.
I performed a taste test with two friends and myself and all three of us definitely preferred the Arrowroot coated sweet potatoes over the Tapioca, but to be honest it was a pretty close race. It definitely seems like the preparation in concert with the starch really made a huge difference.
The other thing I definitely noticed is that keeping the sweet potatoes more evenly spaced made for much crispier fries. The fries that cooked closer together came out less crispy than those that are spaced out. This was a very large baking sheet, but I would definitely use less sweet potato per pan in future batches to allow for more even spacing.
I’d love to hear from you guys if you have any special techniques for the perfect Sweet Potato French Fry. Keep me from those dark Google pages!