I studied abroad in Italy for about three months the spring semester my sophomore year of college.
Studying abroad was so important for me when choosing a university that I largely based my school decision on the type of study abroad program it had. I was signed up to go to our Italian campus before I even started my freshman year. Needless to say, I’m a planner.
The day I was scheduled to leave was probably the most terrifying of my life. Never had I been so far from home. Never had I traveled to Italy, a country whose primary language is not my own. Never had I been away from my parents for so long.
Yes, I was scared…but I was also beyond excited. Never had I had the opportunity to explore a city so far and different from my own. Never had I traveled to Italy, the “Motherland” from where my family came. Never had I had the chance to test my independence during my long stint away from my parents.
It was a life-changing experience for sure, and I adored learning about the different food styles and preparations on The Boot. What can I say? #foodieforlife
I lived in Italy with 60 of my classmates, so when we would travel as a group, meals would be fairly standardized, yet true to the city’s cuisine, at our various stops. Creamy Cacio e Pepe in Rome, seductive Chianti in Florence, the freshest seafood in Amalfi – we had it all. Most of it? Incredible. As Italian food is
arguably not-so-arbuably-if-you-live-in-the-Peduzzi-household the best cuisine in the world, having it prepared by the hands of my people? There truly was nothing better.
Following a gluten free lifestyle in Italy was surprisingly simple – Italians are much more conscious of that pesky protein. There was one food, however, for which I could not find a suitable g-free counterpart: bread. I missed out on the rich focaccia, the fluffy cornetti, and the classic bruschetta. While Italy has it goin’ on with their gluten free pasta and entrée offerings, their gluten free bread needs some work.
This Sweet Potato Bruschetta, while not “traditional” in any sense of the word, will have you speaking the Italian speak as soon as you start wafting the free smells coming from your oven. Cinnamon, maple, apple, sweet potato – all of winter’s wonderful and warming offerings. Mama mia! Delizioso! Let’s do this.
I cannot believe this is sweet potato‘s first appearance on Fooduzzi. Sweet potatoes are my main squeeze, and they often serve as the base of a quick meal for me during the hectic week. They’re starchy. They’re sweet. They’re loaded with vitamin A. They’re packed with fiber. And when you roast them and they get all caramelized and happy? Nature’s finest, as far as I’m concerned. I always add cinnamon to my sweet potatoes because the flavors are so complimentary of one another. Warm, comforting perfection in a bright orange package.
You have a choice of the “glue” that holds your toppings to your sweet potato “bread.” Yogurt, dairy-full or dairy-free, is a simple, easy-to-procure choice. Coconut whipped cream (there’s an easy step-by-step recipe here) is another great option; however, we must have some coconut milk lovers in the good ol’ 412…I couldn’t find the stuff anywhere. Ricotta is a more classic choice for your dairy-consuming folk. Regardless, we’re going to spice it up with some more cinnamon and a kiss of vanilla extract. We just need a little on each bruschetta to hold everything together.
Finally, we have the creme de la creme of this bruschetta. We’re sautéing some apples in a little fragrant and healthy-fat-packed coconut oil, following with some cinnamon, and finishing with some sticky sweet maple syrup. How could this be a bad thing?! I chose a nice and juicy Fuji apple for this application, but feel free to choose your favorite. Apples are a staple in my diet – I eat at least two a day. While they are delicious, I think it’s just because I really hate the doctor’s office.
I chose to top my bruschetta with some crunchy goodness in the way of some sliced almonds. Be a nut, and choose your favorite. The contrasting textures between the pillowy soft sweet potato, the creamy yogurt, the gooey apples, and the crunchy almonds? Bellissimo.
Sweet Potato Bruschetta
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: makes 6-10 bruschetta||Total:|
A non-traditional bruschetta recipe full of warming spices and winter veggie goodness.
- 1 medium to large sweet potato, sliced into 1/2-1 inch rounds*
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted & divided
- 1 tsp. cinnamon, divided
- salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup yogurt, coconut whipped cream, or ricotta
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 sweet apple (I suggest Gala or Fuji), medium dice
- 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- Sliced almonds, to top (optional)
- Prepare the sweet potato "bread": Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Brush both sides of each sweet potato round with coconut oil - you'll use about half of the 1 Tbsp. Sprinkle both sides with salt and a total of 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.
- Place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes until fork-tender and slightly darkened. Flip the rounds half way through the baking time.
- Prepare the yogurt: While the sweet potatoes are roasting, place yogurt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and vanilla in a small bowl. Mix until combined. Set aside.
- Prepare the apples: When the sweet potatoes have about 10 minutes of roasting time left, add the rest of your coconut oil in a small cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add apples. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. You still want the apples to have some texture, but they should be fairly soft.
- Add maple syrup and allow to boil for 20-30 seconds, stirring the apples constantly. Be careful not to let it burn. Remove from heat and place apple mixture in a small bowl until ready to serve.
- Assemble your bruschetta: Once the sweet potatoes are roasted, take one sweet potato round and spread with a THIN layer of the yogurt. Top with a few apple chunks and sliced almonds, if desired.
*My sweet potato was longer than it was round. I got 8 bruschetta out of this batch.
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