Virgin coconut oil is unrefined and cold-pressed, like extra-virgin olive oil, and isn't hydrogenated. It has a clean, slightly nutty taste that's delicious in this dish. Deborah Madison, who adapted this recipe from one in a new revision of her book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (1997), likes to use a mix of sweet potatoes, but it's fine to go with just one kind. Paler sweet potatoes tend to be drier, so if you use them, add more oil.

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Credit: Aya Brackett; Styling: Amy Wilson

Recipe Summary

30 mins
Serves 6 to 8


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Scrub sweet potatoes, then chop into cubes a scant 1 in. across.

  • Warm 1/4 cup oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes, turn to coat, and season with a few pinches of sea salt.

  • Cover pan, turn heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring every now and then, until sweet potatoes are tender and browned, about 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a frying pan (not nonstick) over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until aromatic and the white seeds are golden.

  • Serve sweet potatoes drizzled with remaining oil and sprinkled with flaky sea salt and sesame seeds.

  • *Find at well-stocked grocery stores and natural-foods stores. For flaky sea salt, any kind will work; a good one is buttery Jacobsen sea salt, made in Oregon (

  • Make ahead: Chopped raw sweet potatoes, up to 1 day. They don't hold well once cooked--they tend to shrivel--and taste best hot, so make them just before serving.

Nutrition Facts

187 calories; calories from fat 44%; protein 2g; fat 9.5g; saturated fat 8g; carbohydrates 25g; fiber 3.7g; sodium 162mg.