A Versatile Vegetable - The Sweet Potato

The house smelled of the delicious Pork Roast which had been cooking in my crockpot all day. I racked my brain for a perfect side dish, however nothing came to mind so I found myself searching through the deep dark shelves of my pantry for the perfect complimentary side dish. I happened upon two large sweet potatoes; they were just laying there waiting to be whipped into perfection. After a quick peeling I cut them into chunks, threw in the microwave and then mashed and whipped them in the Mix Master with some Splenda, olive oil and milk...the result was a fabulous side dish that was fluffy, flavorful and easy! These heavenly whipped potatoes made an otherwise good meal into a special meal. I love these vibrant orange veggies even though I didn't really embrace them until the age of 30.

I briefly discussed the health benefits of incorporating Sweet Potatoes into your life last month; however felt the need to extrapolate on how fabulous they are. Sweet Potatoes regularly end up on the top "Super Foods to Eat" list because they are a nutrional all-star. "Super foods" are foods which have a significantly higher nutritional value than most others. Sweet Potatoes are one of the best vegetables you can eat as they are loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.  Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A in your body and switches on DNA that's in charge of producing new skin cells and shedding old ones. Besides all the health benefits they are also reasonably priced, easy to work with for beginning cooks and extremely versatile.

Sweet potatoes can easily become part of your diet by simply replacing some of your regular potato intake with them. In fact, you may find sweet potatoes so delicious that they become your potato of choice. If you can't find, or simply don't want, fresh sweet potatoes then the canned variety are available all year at your grocery store (search the bottom shelf).

I've included some Sweet Potato recipes below, which just prove how versatile they are. Just remember to have fun and experiment!

Southwest Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Prep: 10 min., Cook: 20 min.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

5 to 6 medium-size Sweet Potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1 cup Low-Fat Sour Cream
1/2 cup unsweetened Butter, softened
1 (4-ounce) can Chopped Green Chiles
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Pepper
Garnish: Fresh JalapeƱo Slices

Peel potatoes; cut into 1-inch pieces; Bring potatoes and cold water to cover to a boil in a large saucepan, and boil 12 minutes or until tender; Drain and return potatoes to pan. Add sour cream and next 4 ingredients. Mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Garnish, if desired. Serve warm.

Note: To make ahead, place prepared Southwest Mashed Sweet Potatoes in a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish; cover and chill up to 2 days. When ready to serve, let stand at room temperature 45 minutes; top with 1 tablespoon cut up butter, and bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Sweet Potato Fries
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 35 min
Serves: 4 servings

2 pounds Sweet Potatoes
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tablespoon Chili Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside.

Use peeler to peel sweet potatoes. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise then cut into 1/2-inch thick fries.

Place sweet potato fries in a large mixing bowl. Add oil and spices. Toss until they are thoroughly coated with spices.

Spread fries in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Place in preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes turning once to ensure even cooking. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
Prep Time: 5 min  Cook Time: 15 min
Serves: 15 to 18 biscuits

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 heaping tablespoons sugar or Splenda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened unsweetened butter
2 to 4 tablespoons nonfat milk (depending on the moisture of the potatoes)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate, large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes and butter. Add the flour mixture to the potato mixture and mix to make a soft dough. Then add milk a tablespoon at a time to mixture and continue to cut in. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and toss lightly until the outside of the dough looks smooth. (Note: Don't overwork the dough!) Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a greased pan and coat tops with melted butter. Bake for about 15 minutes. (Watch your oven: If the biscuits are browning too fast, lower the temperature.)

Lime Sweet Potatoes
Yield: Makes 4 servings

3 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Honey
2 tablespoons Lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Lime rind

Combine potatoes and olive oil, and spread in an aluminum foil-lined jellyroll pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Combine honey, lime juice, and lime rind. Pour over potatoes; gently toss. Bake 30 to 40 more minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Pecan Bundt Cake

This sweet potato recipe is a snap to prepare with a cake mix and mashed sweet potatoes. Drain and mash canned sweet potatoes to make this cake even easier.

•1 cup mashed Sweet Potatoes
•1/2 cup nonfat Milk
•3 large Eggs
•1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•1 1/2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
•1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
•1 package (18.25 ounces) Butter Pecan Cake Mix with pudding in the mix
•1 cup chopped Pecans

Spray Pam© cooking spray and dust with flour a 12-cup Bundt cake pan. Heat oven to 325°.

In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat together the sweet potatoes, milk, oil, eggs, and spices. Slowly beat in the cake mix. Beat on high for about 2 minutes. Beat in nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger.

Cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Invert onto a cake plate to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar or make a Caramel Glaze and spoon over the cooled cake.

Recipes adapted from Southern Living, About.com & The Food Network


  1. Oh My Gosh! I'm getting hungry! I am the only one who eats sweet potatoes in our house. I usually bake mine and add a little butter/margarine. Although my son will eat them when he goes to his Dad's @ Thanksgiving - he prepares sweet potatooes baked with all the sugar, marshamallows, sugar, and more sugar. Anyway, I am definitely going to try some of your recipes. Maybe they will help me convert my family to liking Sweet Potatoes. Thanks Marie!

  2. Yum! Love sweet potatoes in many ways.
    Have you tried sweet potato ginger muffins? To die for!

  3. I just love sweet potatoes. I recommend my mom to make it at every weekends. I like all dishes which are make it form sweet potatoes. I like the pictures of these items.