cajun sweet potato fries |

If my life were a novel, the way I found Joanna Linberg’s blog, Honey & Salt would be a classic example of foreshadowing. Picture it: November 2010. I’m posting some scattered thoughts on thankfulness (or, really, unthankfulness) here at the blog. Three days later, unbeknownst to me, a magazine editor from Iowa links to that post in a roundup at her site, sending a pingback to my email inbox, landing me on her thoughtful piece of the Internet; I start reading her blog; we become friends; we visit each other; we cry in my kitchen; we write letters; and now, here I am, bringing you a sweet potato recipe from the woman I would now call one of the most thankful people I know.

You probably remember Joanna—the Joanna of Brad and Joanna, the friends we went to see in St. Louis last month? She could just as easily be called the Full of Wisdom Joanna or the Writes Beautiful Letters Joanna or the Joanna Who Points Me to Truth and Gratitude Every Time We Talk. But, I suspect, to you, she will quickly become the Joanna Who Makes Cajun Sweet Potato Fries, and nothing else will matter, at least after you try this recipe that is, because, people, it’s something else.

spice + sweet potatoes |
sweet potato fries |

I first pinned these fries way back in July when Joanna first posted them, the way I’m always pinning things I like, just about every day when I scroll through my Reader and click Twitter links and find random photos that make me go woah.

Every time I would think about making them, I’d realize we didn’t have cumin or, worse, sweet potatoes, and I’d file them back in my brain, or, more accurately, Pinterest, because, let’s be honest, that site is nothing if not a great way to stop having to remember everything all the time.

But this week, going through my to-cook board and realizing I had everything I needed to make these, which is another way of saying no reason not to, I went to work right away. And one afternoon while we worked side by side on the sofa near our Christmas tree, Tim and I ate one giant plateful of these spicy, savory beauties, crispy on the outside, hot and soft when you bite in.

sweet potato fries |

Joanna cuts hers into thick wedges; I slice mine into thin strips. Either way, they’re covered with just the right amount of dark, fragrant spices to make them both satisfying and addictive, the kind of snack to leave you longing for more when the last fry is gone. Do yourself a favor and make them tonight—only double the recipe if you’re smart—and, in the meantime, pop over to Honey & Salt for some good reading from a generous soul—I like going over there to find myself laughing and crying and nodding along with Joanna whenever she gets to write.

Joanna Linberg’s Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
Adapted from Joanna Linberg’s Honey & Salt
Serves two

The original recipe calls for three sweet potatoes, but I only had two, and I wasn’t about to let that stop me (again!) from trying this recipe out. Good news: two works great! But either way is probably cool.

Also, how good would these be with a harissa dipping sauce or a homemade honey mustard! I’ll leave it to you to try that out.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon onion powder (I went with a garlic-herb spice blend instead)
1/2 tablespoon red paprika
salt to taste (I like coarse salt on these)
2 or 3 sweet potatoes, washed and cut into skinny matchsticks
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine chili powder, cumin, onion powder (or substitute), red paprika, and salt in a large bowl. Add the sweet potatoes and melted coconut oil and toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.

Spread onto two pans and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Then, turn the oven to broil and broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until the skin and tops of the fries are crispy.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, via Instagram or through the blog's Facebook page.

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Kathryn

    I can see why you had to make these! I love that combination of smoky spice from the cajun flavours and the sweet potato. Can’t wait to try these : )

  2. Megan

    I’m a huge fan of savory sweet potatoes rather than sweet. Can’t wait to try these beauties!!

  3. Kathryne

    I’m so thankful for the friendships I’ve made through the world wide web. Spicy, oven-baked sweet potato fries are dinner more often than I’d like to admit. I’ll never get tired of them!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Me too, Kate, including yours. Someday, I hope our KC/Nashville paths cross in person!

  4. Sonja

    Shanna, these look awesome! We have been in search of a crispy sweet potato fry for ages! We’ve tried lots of different techniques to no avail. I assume that the broiler makes for a crisp fry in this case? I can’t wait to try them out!

    Also, what a sweet story about you and Joanna’s friendship! It is amazing how the Internet can connect us. I know some people fear isolation with the boom of technology, but I feel like it make life much more connected to people all around the world.

    PPS Love the new site design :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I know, it’s such a marvel to me, honestly, the way we can reach across to each other from different states and countries with shared interests and passions. Such a gift! Hoping 2013 has us connecting with you and Alex, I mean it!

      and PPS thank you!!

  5. little kitchie

    i LOVE making sweet potato fries, but mine don’t look as pretty as yours! will be giving this recipe a try soon – love the flavor profile here!

  6. sarah kate branine

    Yep. I’m making these tomorrow! Can I tell you how happy your blog makes me? Very happy : ) And, I love the new changes too!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Aw, thanks, Sarah! I can’t tell you how much I love your site’s look, so that means a lot! : )

  7. Amy

    Oh deliciousness! I have sweet potatoes, and every other ingredient (except for coconut oil – would olive be okay?) so these will be appearing on our dinner table sometime this week. What a pity I am one of the only people who likes sweet potatoes in our family….

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Amy, If ever there were a way to change their minds… : ) And by the way, yes, olive oil should be fine. (We typically prefer coconut oil because of its higher smoke point and health benefits, but we use olive oil often, too.)

  8. wesley @ the way home

    Yum! And also, so exciting about printing your book! May or may not have to order one even though I already ordered the online version :) It’s so pretty I could just display it on my coffee table!

  9. Becky @ Olives n Wine

    These look (& sound!) amazing. Maybe a little spice will trick my brain into thinking I am in a warm climate instead of the current blizzard conditions! :)

  10. love cooking

    This looks good. Of course smell good too with those herbs and spices. I am thinking to add some brown sugar to have some sweet taste. :)

  11. Joanna

    You are the sweetest, my friend. Everybody reading this can probably guess them for themselves: Your heart is the most guileless one I’ve met so far. Your generosity blesses me and inspires me!

    So, next time we’re together, let’s make a big batch of these and watch Downton and talk, k? You’re my favorite.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Yes! And let’s let it be soon.

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  13. Madison @ Espresso and Cream

    Both of you beautiful ladies are such an inspiration and most certainly have a way with words (and food!). Thanks for reminding me to give Joanna’s recipe a try, Shanna!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Also glad Joanna brought you and your voice into my life, Madison!

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  15. Cindy

    These were so good! Not being a fan of Cumin, I just added a bit. I kicked it up by adding a little Chipolte Chilli Powder in addition to regular Chili powder… I need to start using my Coconut Oil more, Thanks!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Hooray! So glad to hear that, Cindy! Thanks for letting me know!

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