Roasted Sweet Potato Cube Skewers with a Cilantro-Jalapeno Aioli Dip

roasted sweet potato, sweet potato, cubed sweet potato, roasted sweet potato skewers, sweet potato skewers

My first introduction to fine dining (which I wouldn’t call fine dining anymore nowadays) was when my parents took us to Max’s Bistro when I was in high school.  It was for no special occasion, but to try this restaurant that had just opened up, which was trying to introduce this town to “California cuisine.”  It was one of the only “upscale” restaurants that I could recall at that time when I was younger.  So we were all very excited.  We even got all dressed up for this non-special, special occasion.  We salivated as we looked over the menu.  I saw sweet potato fries with a cilantro-jalapeno aioli and begged my parents to order it.  They were a little reluctant partially because they aren’t too keen on appetizers, but also because the price tag on the dishes were a little high at that point in time for the city we live in.  But hellooooo?!  Fried sweet potatoes?!… Yes, please!  Anything with the word fries was magic to my ears (and it still is!).

Mmmmm.  Sweet potato french fries.  I can still recall how amazing it was the first time I tried a sweet potato fry… crispy panko coating on the outside, and just the right about of tenderness on the inside.  It was perfect.  But then dip it into that aioli, and oooooooh weeeeeee!  It was 100 times even more amazing.  The aioli was tangy, cilantro-y, and had just the right amount of heat from the cilantro.  Yum.  Unfortunately, the only thing that impressed us that night was the sweet potato fries, and dessert.

Coming from a family history of the restaurant business, I grew up with the mantra of “the customer is always right.”  Service.  It’s a really important part of any business dealing with customer relations.  In my humble opinion, if the service sucks, then the food sucks.  I know the logic may seem oversimplified to some, but it can really ruin the mood of a great meal.  If the entree costs more than $25, I expect to be wined and dined by the wait staff.  And of course, the service that night was snooty and unattenative, which completely turned my parents off.  My dad actually vowed never to go back to the restaurant because of the poor service, and he still hasn’t to this day.

I have found myself at the restaurant a few times here and there over the years for business and pleasure, and find the food a bit of a hit or miss.  But it’s those sweet potato fries and the aioli that I crave.  So I did what any other foodie would do, and that was to recreate one of my favorite appetizers.  But in a more healthy matter.  I still haven’t been able to bring myself to fry anything in the house.  I’m afraid of the smell of fried oil lingering around the house for days.  So I’d rather not.  But trust me, I really want to fry foods like fries and chicken.  I’ve tried the oven-“fried” sweet potato fries, but we weren’t a big fan of them.

My solution… roasted sweet potato cubes.

Roasted Sweet Potato Cube Skewers with a Cilantro-Jalapeno Aioli Dip

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil
Paprika
Salt and pepper
Skewers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Dice the potatoes into 1 inch cubes.   Place the cubes in a medium sized bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season with paprika, salt and pepper.   Toss with hands to coat evenly.  Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.   Roast for about 30 minutes, or until tender, but slightly crispy in the outside.   Stir the sweet potatoes once or twice during roasting.   Remove from oven, and allow to cool just enough to be easily handled.  Skewer the cubes, and enjoy with your favorite dip!

Cilantro-Jalapeno Aioli

1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise (we really like the Trader’s Joe brand)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded (if you like it less spicy) and chopped
Juice of one lime, plus more to taste
Salt, to taste

In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, cilantro, and jalapeno; pulse until smooth. Remove the mayonnaise and pour into a bowl. Add half of lime juice and salt, to taste. If you like it more citrusy, add more lime juice, which is how we like it. Cover and refrigerate for one hour before serving to allow all the flavors to develop. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.

This is the perfect prescription for sweet potato fries, or with fish or shrimp tacos.

Makes about 1 cup of aioli.

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59 responses

  1. Amazing.. I’m a huge fan of sweet potatoes, cilantro and jalapenos but never would’ve thought of putting them together this way – so creative, thanks for sharing!!

  2. Just thought I’d say that I made these a few nights ago and they were AMAZING! The sweet potatoes and cilantro-jalapeno dip seemed a little funky together but when I made them they complimented each other so well. They were a huge hit. And the dip was just good in general. Definitely will be making these again. Thanks for the recipe!

    • I’m soooooo happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipes!! I agree, it does seem kind of weird pairing the two flavor together, but boy does it work! Cheers! :)

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  4. The recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it in my toaster oven. The temperature here is over 100 degrees so I don’t do any inside cooking.

    I have to say that when dining out I’m a little more demanding than you. Since I can cook, the reason I go anywhere is to have a pleasant time. So I expect good service even if we are at IHOP. The worse the service, the lower my opinion of the experience and restaurant. Also, the tip reflects my disappointment.

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  6. These were a big hit at my BBQ this weekend. Didn’t even need the dipping sauce. My friends were eating them off the cookie sheet before I could get them on skewers. Thanks for recipe!

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  13. Are you referring to the Max’s Bistro in Fresno? They have the absolute best sweet potato fries and aioli in the world! Starline grill in Tower is a close second.

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  18. I’m wondering if these can be grilled! These look too aMAzing not to try !! I’m asking only because i’m going to make them on the boat this week for trip to Martha’s Vineyard! Cant wait to try them!

    • Greetings Cape Cod Foodie! Yes, these can certainly be grilled and tastes just as good!

      Place the potatoes in a pot of water, and boil until fork tender. Drain the potatoes, cut into large cubes or wedges, toss with oil and seasonings. Grill until cooked through with some nice char marks. And serve with the cilantro-jalapeno aioli dip :)

      Hope you like the recipe!

  19. Mmm! MMm! Made this tonight — not as pretty — with my cilantro’s last hurrah. It is an amazingly awesome combination! Now we’re brainstorming more things to do with the aioli left. I think wraps with blackbeans and tomatoes… yes? Thanks for the great side dish.

    • I’m so happy to read that you enjoyed the recipe :) You’re right, aioli is sort of misleading since aiolis usually contain garlic. I might just change it to a dip… thanks for catching that!

    • I’m so sorry this is a late response! The sweet potato skewers could be served at room temp, but I’d be a little more cautious with the aioli. I wouldn’t want you and your dinner guests to get food poisoning! Happy New Year! :)

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  21. This was wonderful; I made a meal out of it!! The aioli was a bit spicy for me, even after seeding the jalepeno and taking out the membrane. I just added a bit more mayo. Such a unique recipe and yet so easy to make. I might just try the aioli with quinoa cakes. Delicious recipe, thank you!

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe! :) The aioli is extreme versatile… over fish, a condiment in tacos, and slathered over black bean burgers. Happy New Year, Pam!

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