Color Your Table With These Two Holiday Side Dishes

Sweet Potato and Apple Bake

Recipes excerpted from
“The Mindful Kitchen: Vegetarian Cooking to Relate to Nature” by Heather Thomas, published by Leaping Hare Press, October 2019, $29.99
Photography by Xavier D. Buendia

You’ll Need:

• 1 tablespoon coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
• 2 sweet potatoes
(small to medium), peeled and cut into slices about ½-inch thick
• 2 apples, cored and sliced thinly
• Juice of 2 oranges (you need about 4 fluid ounces)
• 2 tablespoons ginger juice
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
• Sugar
• Pinch of salt

Author’s note: Sweet Potato and Apple Bake was a holiday tradition in my childhood home, concocted by my dad. It brings together savory and sweet with warming winter spices, the smell of which take me immediately back to Upstate New York in the 1980s—wherever I am.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a medium baking dish. Bring a pan of water to a boil and add the sweet potato slices. Bring back to a boil, cook for
    3 minutes, drain, then cool.
  2. Form a layer of sweet potatoes and apples in the tin as if making a lasagna. Mix the coconut oil with the juices and the cinnamon. Sprinkle the juices, rosemary and a dash of sugar on each layer. Continue to form layers until all the ingredients are used, reserving some liquid to drizzle over the top layer. Cover the dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until soft and starting to brown.
  3. Serve warm with other savory dishes.

Carrot Gnocchi

You’ll Need:

• 1 pound of potatoes (roughly 2 medium baking potatoes)
• 6 ounces carrots
(roughly 2 medium carrots), peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 7 ounces “00” grade pasta flour, plus extra as needed
• Salt and pepper
• Tomato or pesto sauce, or 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• Handful of chopped sage


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the skins of the potatoes a few times and bake for about 1 hour until soft. Toward the end of the cooking time, drop the carrots into a pan of boiling water and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly, then purée in a food processor. Halve the potatoes, scoop out the flesh and push through a potato ricer. Tip the puréed carrots and potato into a bowl, add the egg and salt, and mix.
  2. Gradually add the flour, about 2 heaping tablespoons at a time, kneading to form a dough that is stiff but a little sticky. Tear off a small piece and drop into boiling water. If it holds its shape, the dough is ready. If not, add more flour and test another piece. Once you’re happy with it, cut the dough into four pieces.
  3. Flour a work surface and roll each piece into a ¾-inch-thick log. Use a knife to cut them into bite-size lengths that resemble pillows. Leave as they are, or press your thumb into the center of each one, bring in the sides, then roll each one against the tines of a fork to create ridges. Place on a tray lined with baking paper.
  4. Fill a large frying pan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the gnocchi, a handful at a time, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until they float to the top and are firm. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a wire rack, and cover with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest.
  5. To serve, gently warm the tomato sauce or pesto. Alternatively, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add garlic, sage and seasoning. Remove your chosen sauce from the heat after 3 to 4 minutes, coat the gnocchi and toss. The recipe yields 4 servings.

Related Posts