Whether or not you have a small Thanksgiving party, just you or 2-4 people - these candied sweet potato boats with marshmallows are the perfect side dish. It's super easy to make for just 2 or 4 people and you get all the yummy Thanksgiving flavors of sweet potatoes, marshmallows, nuts and a delicious hint of orange or clementine.
This is definitely an easy way to get the Thanksgiving feeling - which I'm all about. I have a series of Thanksgiving for 2 recipes, with all the planning and Thanksgiving leftovers. These sweet potato boats may be subject to a new Thanksgiving for a small gathering post because I love this theme!
No matter the size of the party, we should try our best to make this day (or any day) special. It doesn't have to be complicated.
Why you'll love this recipe
You will love this recipe because it has
- all the Thanksgiving flavors,
- without the hassle,
- perfect for a smaller party but can just as well be made for bigger gatherings,
- and it won't leave you with a ton of leftovers you don't know what to do with.
- + If you're a texture person, this is definitely for you. Fluffy, gooey, crunchy, crispy - it has it all.
For these sweet potato boats you will need:
- Sweet potato - half a sweet potato is perfect for one person, which makes this recipe easy to just multiply depending on how many you serve. The roasted sweet potato turns caramelized and fluffy.
- Melted butter - to roast the sweet potato in, that little salty kick is so delicious. Use oil if that is what you have.
- Flaky sea salt - to enhance all the flavors.
- Brown sugar - to sprinkle on top of the sweet potato for a delicious, caramelized topping.
- Tangerine - this is the secret ingredient that sets this apart from other sweet potato marshmallow recipes. It is so GOOD. If you can't find a clementine or tangerine, half an orange works too.
- Walnuts - this was surprisingly one of the elements I liked the most. Roasted, chopped walnuts provided an excellent contrast to the fluffy sweet potato and gooey marshmallows.
- Fresh thyme - optional but who would I be if I didn't sprinkle on some herbaceous deliciousness?
- Marshmallows - can't forget the marshmallows! That crispy topping and gooey insides are weirdly delicious with baked sweet potatoes.
To make these candied sweet potato boats you will need to wash and scrub the outside of a sweet potato. Dry it well and cut in half lengthwise.
Preheat the oven to 450 ℉ (225 ℃) and prepare a baking sheet or baking pan with parchment paper. Place the sweet potato halves on the baking sheet, brush with melted butter on all sides (optional, if you don't want to eat the skin, feel free to just do it on the cut side).
Sprinkle with salt and place cut side down (1-2). Bake until the potato is fork tender. This will depend on the size of your sweet potato, mine took roughly 40-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast some chopped walnuts or pecans in a dry skillet. Stir until it smells nutty, roughly 5 minutes. Set aside.
Take them out and fluff the insides with a fork (3). Combine the fluffed sweet potato with tangerine zest and juice, and sprinkle brown sugar on top (4).
Place them back on the sheet pan but with the cut side up, bake for another 3-5 minutes or until the sugar has caramelized.
Take the sweet potato out, switch the oven settings to broil mode and top the sweet potatoes with as much marshmallows as you want (5).
Put the sweet potato boats back into the oven, to the upper rack and keep an eye on it at all times. Take it out when the marshmallows are roasted.
Sprinkle with walnuts and fresh thyme and serve with your favorite dishes, see below for my tips and ideas!
This is a dish that must be served right away. At least when you put marshmallows on it.
However, you can roast the sweet potato beforehand and just reheat it when you want to serve it. A roasted sweet potato lasts for 5 days if stored properly in the refrigerator. Let it come to room temperature and then place it in the refrigerator in an airtight container right away.
Why do you put marshmallows on sweet potatoes?
This was my initial thought too. It sounds weird and way too sweet, but it's actually not. I think it would be too sweet as a dessert on its own, but paired with very savory dishes like turkey and green beans, it's a lovely contrast.
It's also a texture thing, the gooey marshmallows with crispy topping is so good on top of the fluffy, soft sweet potato.
Is sweet potato and marshmallow a dessert?
No, it is usually served as a side dish at Thanksgiving. Paradoxically, I think it is too sweet to be eaten as a dessert, but perfect next to savory dishes.
Origin of the sweet potato and marshmallow dish
Sweet potatoes were common in the US long before this dish was invented. Sweet potatoes sometimes replaced pumpkins in pies for Thanksgiving, but the sweet potato and marshmallow dish wasn't invented until the 1900's.
It was invented by Big Marshmallow as a way to push the candy on Americans. Though they are high in sugar to begin with, there's historical precedent for treating sweet potatoes as dessert.
What to serve with candied sweet potato boats
I love to serve this with some kind of chicken or pork, a sauce, and another fresher side. Here are some of my favorites for this:
- Whole roasted chicken with orange pepper
- Rosemary citrus turkey breast
- Garlic rosemary steaks
- Baked lemon chicken
- Pan-fried butter brussels sprouts or honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts
- Wilted garlic kale
- Garlic parmesan green beans
- Easy mint citrus salad or fennel grapefruit salad
- Lemon roasted asparagus
Did you like this recipe? Here are more Thanksgiving side dishes I think you'd love:
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.
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