- Food and Cooking
Sweet Potato Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert
If I had to pick my favorite vegetable, it would without-a-doubt be the sweet potato. I have been eating sweet potatoes forever, but as I've grown I've realized that there are so many different uses for them! In many cases, when you find a food you love, its usually not the healthiest out there, but that is luckily not the case with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are actually only distantly related to the common potato and are considered to be much healthier. They are best known as a great source of beta-carotene (same thing that is in carrots - it is what makes them orange!). In our bodies, beta-carotene changes into Vitamin A, which is great for eye health, a strong immune system, and healthy skin. Luckily, sweet potatoes can be cooked to be sweet, savory, or even spicy. I have used them as a main dish, a side dish, and even in desserts! I have included some of my favorite recipes below. I hope you have the time to try some of them and enjoy them as much as I do.
Did You Know??
North Carolina leads the country in production of sweet potatoes, providing the U.S. with 38.5% of all the sweet potatoes we eat.
Sweet Potato Recipes
There are so many different ways to cook sweet potatoes - especially beyond the most popular version that includes marshmallows and brown sugar (though that's still delicious and worth trying!). Below are some great recipes to try out that will give you a new taste of the sweet potato!
Sweet Potato Hash
Everyone loves hash browns, but the problem is they're not all that healthy. I know you're thinking what I'm thinking - why not use sweet potatoes instead? This recipe is really easy and it's a great way to incorporate sweet potatoes into your breakfast.
- 1 sweet potato
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 slice of vidalia onion
- Using a potato peeler, peel the skin off of your sweet potato and discard.
- Once the skin is removed, use the peeler to peel the entire potato into tiny slices.
- Use a knife to cut the slices into bite sized chunks (about the size of a quarter).
- Pour a small amount of olive oil into a frying pan and add all of the sweet potato peelings.
- Let the sweet potatoes fry, flipping occasionally to prevent burning.
- Serve with your favorite eggs or breakfast meat!
Chocolate Chunk Sweet Potato Blondie Bars
Thought veggies couldn't find there way into desserts? Think again! This is a great dessert to have on hand that adults and kids will love (the kids don't even have to know about it). :)
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 bag chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel and dice sweet potatoes into nickel-sized pieces.
- Add to boiling pot of water until sweet potatoes are soft (a fork should easily slide into them).
- Drain sweet potatoes and mash until very smooth. You can also use a food processor for this process.
- In large bowl, mix the sugar, butter, oil, egg, and vanilla together until smooth.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of the mashed sweet potato to the mixture and mix until smooth.
- Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until smooth.
- Mix in chocolate chips and walnuts. If you'd like, save a few extra chocolate chips and walnuts to sprinkle on top.
- Spread into greased 13x9 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool once baked. Serve and enjoy!
If you're following recipes like this one, then it's probably time to replace your cookbook stand with a tablet stand.
Thai Sweet Potato Bisque
YUM! This one-serving Thai delight is an easy meal to make on a night alone - or perfect to double for a date night. The Thai flavors are warm and earthy, great for a Fall night.
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1-2 cups coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel, dice, and boil the potatoes until they are soft enough for a fork to slide through.
- Add potatoes to the blender.
- Add all other ingredients. Depending on the consistency you are looking for, you will want to add more or less coconut milk. One cup of coconut milk will create a very creamy consistency (visible in picture).
- Once everything is thoroughly blended, put back in pot to reheat.
- Add to bowl and garnish with extra chipotle chili pepper and minced garlic.
If you're ever worried about how much dirt surrounds your potato, you'll love these gloves. Just wear them as you wash the potatoes and they'll help scrub all the dirt off!
Garlic Sea Salt Roasted Sweet Potatoes
This is one of my favorite recipes and it is so, so easy to make. These go great as a side to any meat, or even on their own if you don't want a huge meal but still want to be full.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- olive oil
- sea salt
- minced garlic or garlic salt
- Preheat the oven to 465 degrees.
- Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into squares that are between the size of a dime and a quarter. The smaller you cut, the less time you will need to bake.
- Lay the sweet potatoes out on a baking sheet.
- Brush a layer of olive oil over the potatoes. You can do this by using a cooking brush, dabbing with a paper towel, or put all of the sweet potato pieces into a giant ziplock bag with some olive oil and shake.
- Sprinkle sea salt, pepper, and minced garlic over the sweet potatoes (you can also use garlic salt if you don't have fresh garlic on hand).
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, flipping the sweet potatoes over (using a spatula) half-way through the baking time.
- When done, tips of sweet potatoes will start to brown. You're ready to serve!
Your four-legged friends can benefit from the healthy components of sweet potatoes too!
Great Pin Boards dedicated entirely to sweet potato recipes!
Sweet Potatoes in Your Diet
How often do you incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet?
Did You Know??
The darker orange the sweet potato is, the more beta carotene is found in it.
How to Grow Your Own Sweet Potatoes
Unlike their distant cousins, sweet potatoes need a very warm climate to grow in and will most likely not survive through a frost. So your first step is to make sure you wait until the ground is warm and there is no chance of a chilly night coming back. If you live up North, you will only be able to grow sweet potatoes in the summer months. Luckily, other than their taste for temperature, sweet potatoes are pretty hardy growers and will do well in most environments. They can handle most types of soil, but will do best if there is lots of air in the soil. Some people even mix a little sand in with the soil to make sure air and water can make it through.Sweet potatoes grow in the ground, but a long vine will start to grow at the surface. You will want to plant your potatoes about 12 inches apart, so as the vines grow, they will actually start to form a ground cover. Sweet potatoes can survive without much care from you if you have regular rain, but you should make sure they get at least one good watering a week.Sweet potatoes will need to stay in the ground for at least 3 months, but should definitely be pulled up before the first frost comes. Be careful when pulling up! They are not like carrots that will just come up with their leaves. You will most likely need to use a shovel and be very gentle.I know it will be hard, but you will then have to wait at least 10 days before eating your potatoes. Let them sit in a warm area so they can become sweeter and better tasting. After that, you are ready to wash and eat!
All the Great Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
As mentioned before, sweet potatoes are best known for their high doses of beta-carotene. Beta-Carotene left to itself is technically not essential for our survival. However, in our bodies, beta-carotene converts into Vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient that we need to survive - and thrive. Sweet potatoes can give us up to 700% of the Vitamin A we need each day! This characteristic of beta-carotene, among others, is what makes it such a powerful nutrient for our bodies. And it doesn't stop there - sweet potatoes are also packed with Vitamin C, calcium, folate, and potassium. Here are some more details of what the sweet potato is actually doing for us:Strong Immune SystemBeta-carotene is a strong antioxidant that helps our bodies fight off serious chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer. It does this by fighting off "radicals" in our bodies that cause oxidation, which can be very harmful. Various studies have shown that at least 4 servings of beta-carotene a day will make you statistically less likely to develop these diseases.Healthy SkinThe same oxidation that causes serious illnesses also contributes to the aging of skin. Filling up with sweet potatoes will actually slow the aging of your skin! In fact, many common skin care products use vitamins that have been extracted from sweet potatoes.Healthy Eyes and VisionSweet potatoes are great for the health of your eyes, especially with night vision and preventing dry eyes.Mental Health One of the other affects attributed to oxidation in our bodies is the loss or impairment of our cognitive abilities. For this reason, beta-carotene has actually shown to slow the decline of cognition, especially in men. So make sure beta-carotene is a life-long part of your diet!Reproductive HealthOxidation affects a host of things in our body - one of which is sperm production in men. A healthy dose of beta-carotene, therefore, will help more sperm to survive in the body. For women, beta-carotene will increase the production of cervical fluid - which helps those little guys find their target. Because of these benefits, many people actually consider beta-carotene to be a natural remedy for some forms of infertility.
Did You Know??
Not all sweet potatoes are orange - there are variations that are white, green, and even purple!