Charred Sweet Potatoes with Pistachio-Chili Pesto

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Photo: Michael Marquand/Styling: Jake Cohen

There are two types of people in the world: those who like sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and those who hate it.

New York City–based chef and recipe developer Jake Cohen has a big sweet tooth, so he definitely falls into the former category. But he appreciates that some people want a more savory option, and charred sweet potatoes with pistachio-chili pesto are the answer.

“I’ve made this dish for my past four Thanksgivings, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” Cohen told us.

The pesto really takes this side dish over the top: “It’s spicy, tangy and salty, and it adds a bit of texture to roasted sweet potatoes,” he said. “Chilis and pistachios bloomed in olive oil become the base for a pesto made from herbs and three types of citrus juice and zest.” 

Whether you like marshmallows with your sweet potatoes or not, one thing’s for certain: This side is downright delicious.

PureWow’s Chef in Residence program invites food influencers and tastemakers from all over the world to create new recipes in our New York City test kitchen.


Pistachio-Chile Pesto

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¾ cup pistachios

2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and chopped

½ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

½ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon honey

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 orange, zested and juiced

Kosher salt, to taste

Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, sliced ½-inch thick

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Mint leaves, for garnishing


1. Make the Pistachio-Chili Pesto: Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pistachios and the jalapeños, and cook until the pistachios are toasted and the chilis are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

2. Add the cooled mixture to the bowl of a food processor with the mint, parsley, honey, garlic, lemon zest and juice, lime zest and juice, and orange zest and juice. Pulse until a coarse pesto forms; season with salt.

3. Prepare the Sweet Potatoes: Preheat the oven to 450°F. On a sheet pan, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil and salt. Roast, flipping halfway through, until tender and lightly golden, 30 to 35 minutes. 

4. Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler. Broil the sweet potatoes until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. To serve, transfer to a platter, drizzle with the pesto and garnish with crumbled goat cheese and mint leaves.

Nutrition Facts
  • Pistachio-Chili Pesto

  • 170 calories

  • 14g fat

  • 10g carbs

  • 3g protein

  • 2g sugars

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • 132 calories

  • 10g fat

  • 8g carbs

  • 3g protein

  • 2g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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