I’m a couple days late, but dear Sweet Potato, will you be my Valentine?
Sweet potato mashed with cinnamon and fresh vanilla bean, on toast with almond butter. My favorite way to eat sweet potatoes!
There’s a lot of confusion around the sweet potato. Often confused with a yam (a starchy, scaly root, that is rather low in sweetness and beta-carotene), the orange “yams” you often see in the grocery store are really just orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes come in many colors– from light yellow (my favorite) to orange to purple– and are extremely diverse in the ways you can eat and prepare them.
In fact, a sweet potato is not a potato (which is a tuber) at all, but a root. Packed with beta-carotene, with a host of other awesome health benefits (that is a good article if you’re interested in specifics), they are rated among the healthiest vegetables. And they taste sweet! Eating a sweet potato is like getting away with something– when in fact you can eat as much as you like (within reason) and reap the benefits. They are easy to digest, to boot!
Sweet potatoes clock in at about 25 calories per ounce. I find them to be very filling, and they are a great addition (or focus) in a meal or snack. All sweet potatoes are different shapes and sizes, and I have found that I can always find the right size for my particular needs. My favorite way to eat them is baked until mushy (when the skin gets partly caramelized!), in the oven at about 425 -450 degrees F. No need to peel (in fact, the skin is as good as the flesh!). There are so many ways to eat a sweet potato– from sweet to savory settings, as part of snack, the heart of a meal, in a baked good, or any other number of options. Here’s a list of things I have done with my beloved sweet potatoes!
- Baked and wrapped up– to be eaten on the go (it’s kind of like eating a big candy bar!). This is a great option for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. This has been a godsend with all the rehearsals (and nor performances) I have with my play– last week I had a huge sweet potato, a handful of almonds, and a banana for dinner at the theatre!
- Steamed and mashed for mashed sweet potatoes. No need for butter, sugar, or marshmallows (perish the thought!). This mash is a great, starchy sweet addition to a meal. Some fresh ground pepper on top is wonderful
- Used leftover mash in baked goods for flavor and moisture. I have yet to experiment a lot with baking with sweet potatoes, but stay tuned! Some day I want to try making a sweet potato pie….
Baked sweet potato with homemade roasted almond butter and fresh black pepper.
- Baked sweet potato topping bar! This is a recent favorite in my house for breakfast. Bake up sweet potatoes and lay out a bunch of toppings for it– fresh and dried fruit, nuts and nut butter (almond butter is mandatory), cinnamon and nutmeg, stevia, and more options abound. My dad really likes soy yogurt on it (not sure how good that is, but thought I should mention it). You could also have a savory topping bar!
- Cubed and thrown in soups
Baked sweet potato with homemade roasted almond butter and a blue berry sauce (made with blueberries and reconstituted dried elderberries).
- Roasted almond butter and sweet potatoes are soul mates. My favorite way to indulge in this pairing is mixing chopped vanilla bean and cinnamon into the mashed innards of a baked sweet potato, then spread on GF toast or a brown rice tortilla with almond butter. In fact, the sweet potato mixture is delicious on bread or tortilla on its own, but the almond butter is a wonderful addition.
- My Little sister loves coconut butter on sweet potatoes. I’m sure it’s delicious, but I’m still a bit too occupied with my almond butter pairing to pay much attention to it yet :).
- I’d say the mashed innards would make a great addition to any sandwich or wrap.
Funny! I thought I had way more suggestions that that– I guess I’ve been sticking with the same three or four ways of eating sweet potatoes! What are your favorite uses for sweet potatoes? Any cool ideas I need to try?