SEEMA Cooks: Spiced Purple Sweet Potato-Cauliflower Bake

Aug/27/2021 / by Malathy Chandrasekhar
sweet potato
Image courtesy of Malathy Chandrasekhar

I love to cook – for the most part. For one, I find great joy in handling spices, and randomly throwing them into whatever I am cooking, depending on my moods. For another, the act of peeling and chopping (certain) vegetables is therapeutic. The aroma that wafts when bringing all the ingredients together on the stove top is heady. Yeah, cooking is relaxing. For the other not-so-fun-days, read on…

There are some summer days when the kitchen is the LAST place that I want to be. Of late, it has been so warm in north Texas that the air-conditioning has been struggling to keep up. We recently got a notice from the city to restrict usage of ACs and large appliances. I guess they don’t want a blackout situation like they had a few years ago.

On such days, I love to bake-grill my veggies. No fuss, no muss.

Spiced Purple Sweet Potato-Cauliflower Bake

My brother-in-law Sunil recently brought a grilled cauliflower dish to a party. He had prepped it on an outdoor grill.

Today’s recipe is a take-off from Sunil’s yummy dish. I’ve made a few modifications to his recipe. First, his was grilled, and I used my countertop toaster oven, and yet the veggies turned out excellent. Second, I’ve used purple sweet potatoes. That’s taken this dish to another level. Third, he added ginger and basil leaves to the dish. I skipped those because I forgot! Go ahead and make your own modifications!

Purple Sweet Potatoes

Talking of purple sweet potatoes, have you spotted these in the grocery stores yet? Move aside, regular sweet potatoes. These flavorful lavender cousins of the familiar orange variety are my all-new favorite tubers. The striking hue adds a colorful twist, and this has become a regular in my kitchen whenever I spot it in the grocery store (look for them during Fall and Spring).

I recently made an eggplant potato spicy medley, but substituted the regular potatoes with these purple beauties. Oh, bliss it was.


This colorful dish will be a great item to take to a potluck. I am certain kids can be persuaded to try it out (my picky 7-year-old niece did and didn’t make a face…that’s a small battle won!). It can be served as an appetizer before a main meal; and if you want to serve it with a dip, try creamy hummus or, even better, with baba ghanoush. If you are time-bound, a spicy Sriracha sauce will kick it up on the spice-scale. To follow up this dish, you can serve several items as the main meal, such as brown rice pulao with egg curry. Or quinoa pulao with mooli raita. The choices are endless, so bon appetit!

Why is this Healthy?

Purple sweet potatoes are truly natural wonders! They have the same antioxidant, anthocyanin, that make food look pretty, and are touted to also have beneficial health effects – eradicating free radicals linked to cancer, protecting the liver, and lowering blood pressure. They are also high in potassium, vitamins B6 and C, fiber, and antioxidants.

The nutrition profile of cauliflower is quite impressive. Considered a superfood because of its nutrient-rich content, it is high in fiber, and vitamins B and C. It also contains high concentrations of carotenoids (antioxidants) and glucosinolates which help protect cells from DNA damage.

The recipe

Want to see an ENTIRE head of cauliflower disappear magically at your family dinner or at an intimate party? With the help of purple sweet potatoes that have a rich, almost winey flavor, this colorful and delicious dish is sure to please every palate. Be ready to glow in the shower of compliments.

Course: Appetizer, side dish, snack

Cuisine: International

Special diet: Glutenf-free, grain-free, nut-free, no added sugar, vegan, vegetarian

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

Calories: 78kcal


  • 1 tbsp avocado oil, or any other high-heat oil
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 cups purple sweet potato,cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder – or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper powder, freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp lime juice


  1. Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Dice into 1-inch cubes. Wash cauliflower and pull out the florets. Cut large ones to about 2-inch pieces. Add the vegetables to a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, pepper powder over the veggies. Drizzle avocado oil and mix well until the vegetables are evenly coated with the spices and oil.
  3. Transfer to a baking tray and place the veggies in a single layer. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the veggies for 15 mins. Sprinkle salt, gently turn the veggies over, and grill for 15 more mins. I have used a countertop toaster oven for this recipe. If you are using a conventional oven, check frequently and alter the bake-grill times.
  4. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the veggies and serve hot.


  • Orange sweet potatoes will work too, but the bake-grill times may be shorter.
  • Use your imagination with spices. Substitute Asian spices with dried oregano, marjoram, basil, thyme, or any combination of these. The original recipe had generous amounts of ginger and basil leaves in the dish.
  • I used a countertop toaster oven for this recipe. If you are using your outdoor grill or your convection oven, the bake-grill times may vary.
  • One of the keys to successfully roasting vegetables is to make sure the vegetables are cut into similar-sized pieces. Cauliflower and purple sweet potato have similar densities, so their bake time is the same. If you are using any other combination of veggies, like bell peppers, then bake the cauliflower longer.

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible

For the full recipe, go here!

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For more by this author, check out Easy Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

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