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Sweet Recipes for Sweet Potatoes

February is National Sweet Potato Month — let’s celebrate!

In 1760 the French settled the town of Opelousas, Louisiana where they discovered the local Indian tribes eating sweet potatoes. The settlers quickly grew to love them and, as fate would have it, there ensued a long, sweet history of cultivation in my home state.

Today, North Carolina leads the US in sweet potato production and China leads the world.

Sweet potatoes are a sweet, starchy root vegetable we call a tuber. Although sharing the name, sweet potatoes are only distant cousins to the actual potato. Around the world, sweet potatoes are baked, sautéed, made into soups and desserts, fried, steamed, boiled and fermented.

Growing up, we loved sweet “patata” (pronounced quickly as pa-tate-a) covered in marshmallows and brown sugar for Thanksgiving and baked up into one of my grandmother’s sweet-“patata” pie recipes, of which she had more than a few.

Here are a few updated ways to enjoy sweet potatoes:

  • Bake and eat: Wash and pierce sweet potatoes with the tines of a fork. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet (for easy clean up) and bake at 375°F until fork tender, about an hour or so. The longer they bake the sweeter they become.
  • Here’s a delicious recipe for Herb-Roasted Sweet Potato Skins and here is a recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Macadamia Nuts that I created in my kitchen in honor of my two favorite states: Louisiana and Hawaii.
  • If you love pie, you’ll love this tropical Coconut-Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie.
  • We love colorful, tasty dishes. Sweet Potatoes with Collards and Aduki Beans is a healthy and good-looking recipe.
  • Sweet potatoes can be used in many recipes that call for plain potatoes such as potato salad, Sweet Potato Pancakes, and Baked Sweet Potato Fries.
  • Enjoy a side dish of roasted or steamed sweet potatoes with salmon, roast chicken or turkey, pork chops, or baked or grilled tempeh.
  • Roast apples or pears with sweet potatoes for a hearty winter dish.
  • Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Pears adds natural, warm, seasonal “aroma” to your home while baking!
  • Mash sweet potatoes and add to cookies, muffins and quick breads.
  • Use interchangeably in recipes calling for butternut squash or pumpkin.
  • Try equal amounts of sweet potato in place of pumpkin in these Cornmeal Muffins and these Millet Muffins.
  • Make traditional ethnic dishes with sweet potatoes.
  • Here is a recipe for Turkey and Sweet Potato Curry.
  • Consider adding sweet potatoes to soups or a favorite vegetable or meat stew.
  • Here’s an idea for Split Pea-Sweet Potato Soup.

If you are wondering about sweet potato vs. yam, here’s the deal: The two are often confused but, in reality, they are hardly related.

Yams are larger than sweet potatoes and are grown in Africa and Asia. Did you know a yam can grow up to 100 pounds? Probably not, because they are rarely seen in the US.

Because sweet potatoes are often referred to as yams, it’s common and acceptable to use either name.

When shopping, always choose firm sweet potatoes with no soft, decaying spots. The skin should be smooth with no wrinkling.

To keep them fresh, store in a cool dry location such as a pantry or cellar. Sweet potatoes don’t like humidity, so keep them out of the refrigerator.

When stored properly, (around 50 to 60°F), they will last a month or so. If you plan to use within a week, keep them on the kitchen counter. Remember: Don’t wash until ready to use.

Got a sweet tooth for sweet potatoes? What about a favorite recipe? Let me know!

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Rob Sugar says …

I love sweet potatoes! Here's the simplest-to-make and most delicious recipe for mashed sweet potatoes—it uses ingredients that most people have in they pantries. It's in this sample PDF of recipes from a great cookbook: http://www.auras.com/cookbook/DeliciousByDesignWEB.pdf

Vered says …

I love sweet potatoes and have been using them instead of regular potatoes, since they have a lower glycemic index. My favorite recipe is these Mini Sweet Potato Soufflés - http://healthyrecipesblogs.com/2011/11/19/mini-sweet-potato-souffles-savory/

Pat Smith says …

I have always loved sweet potatoes. My mom would bake & fry them. I will mash with butter,milk,cinnamon,brown sugar & nuts and baked with marshmellows. My husband will only eat them sliced & fried in butter, little oil with sarghum, brown sugar,cinnamon,salt until tender. I take them out of my pan and cook any liquid down to a syrup to pour over them. They are wonderful & with all the sweet it is not good for a person but we love them anyway.

Jennifer Trainer Thompson says …

I love combining sweet potatoes with hot sauce -- it creates that perfect pull of spicy-sweet. If anyone would like a sweet potato recipe, just let me know on facebook. Jennifer Author of Hot Sauce! (Workman, June 2012)

Christina says …

I'm down with the fad of sweet potato fries, but those roasted sweet potatoes look too good. I'll have to try those soon. :) Christina

Miranda says …

I just made a vegan chocolate sweet potato cake for Valentine's Day--now it's even more appropriate for February! http://chompton.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/i-made-you-a-love-cake/

Heather Hoog says …

Favorite recipe is to just wash them then put in the convection oven for HOURS !!! They are literally caramelized inside, open and just sprinkle with cinnamon. So Good. Start out at 400 the 1st hour then drop it down to 300 there after. I have gone up to 5 hrs in the oven this way.

Doris D'Andrea says …

California Sweet-potato Bake 4 medium sweet potatoes ½ cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup orange juice 1/4 cup seedless raisins 1/4 cup butter or margarine 3 tablespoons cooking sherry 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts ½ teaspoon shredded orange peal Cook potatoes in boiling salted water till tender; drain; peel, and halve lengthwise*. Arrange in shallow baking dish or pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Mix brown sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend in orange juice; add raisins. Stir while bringing quickly to boiling. Add remaining ingredients; pour over potatoes. Bake uncovered in moderate oven (350 degrees) 20 minutes or till potatoes are well glazed. Makes 4 servings. *Or use a 1 pound 2 ounce can (3 cups) sweet potatoes.

H. Tuck says …

Sweet Potato Salad Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 12:00 am St. Louis Post Dispatch Yield: 8 cups Salt 8 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes (about 4 large sweet potatoes) 1 cup finely diced red onion (about 1 medium) 3 cups finely diced celery (about 4 ribs) 1 cup reduced-fat or regular mayonnaise (1/2 yogurt – ½ mayonnaise) 2 1/2 tablespoons honey 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 3/4 cup toasted pecans 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add diced sweet potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool. 2. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, onion and celery. 3. In another bowl, stir together mayonnaise, honey and mustard. Stir into sweet potato mixture. 4. Transfer to a serving dish and refrigerate until cold. 5. Just before serving, top salad with chopped pecans. Per 1/2-cup serving: 190 calories; 9g fat; 1g saturated fat; 5mg cholesterol; 3g protein; 27g carbohydrate; 11g sugar; 4g fiber; 185mg sodium; 50mg calcium. Recipe from the Basket Case Deli adapted for home kitchens

Miranda says …

I was moved by the celebration of the sweet potato... we made sweet potato biscuits with the mashed sweet potatoes left over from the cake! http://chompton.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/celebrate-the-sweet-potato-sweet-potato-biscuits/

Denise says …

I am looking for a sweet potato risotto recipe -- any suggestions?

says …

@Denise While this recipe isn't specifically a sweet potato recipe, you could sub out the butternut squash for the sweet potato and get a similar effect. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/1759

Katie says …

Hands down right now my favorite sweet potato recipe is for sweet potato, chorizo and black bean enchiladas. The combo sounds weird, but it is fantastic!

Sam Bocchini says …

You're welcome Tara. I'm so glad that the recipe turned out good for you.

Ellen says …

I like them for breakfast. Roasted in their skins and then eaten like a baked potato with orange juice, a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon to soften and sweeten them. I've also had good results with putting cooked sweet potatoes into my Irish oatmeal and using brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice to liven it up.

Kathy Parker says …

I just found out that your Columbus Ohio store does not make sweet potato biscuits any longer. Can I get the recipe?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KATHY - I was unable to track down that recipe on our website. It could have been a wonderful creation by a team member at that specific location. I would encourage you to call the Columbus, OH, store at 614.760.5556 to see if they can provide a recipe for you!

Julie says …

I live here in West Vancouver and am looking for your recipe for the gingered mashed sweet potatoes that you sell in the Park Royal store...any chance you will share the recipe??? many thanks, Julie

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JULIE - This sounds like an awesome recipe designed by one of our fantastic in-store chefs. Reach out to the store directly for their recipe, if they have one written out, they will be happy to share it with you!

Heidi says …

I clicked on a link to get the sweet potable suffle recipe and it is not on this page - do you have it? I would LOVE to make them myself and I'm sure I could improvise but it is worth an ask…thanks!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@HEIDI - Can you let me know where you were clicking from? Happy to help you but I'm not finding any sort of sweet potato souffle in our recipe database. You can always try to search through them at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes.

Joymr says …

I am looking for a no oil used sweet potato fries recipe.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JOYMR - We have a recipe for baked fries on our website but it does contain oil in the recipe. You could leave this out but you will need to substitute something that will not make it stick to the pan. You could drizzle and toss with melted butter to prevent them from sticking.

Kathy says …

@JOYMR - try baking them on parchment paper to avoid sticking to the pan and oil. I was looking for the recipe for a sweet potato and white potato dish I had at the Annapolis Whole Foods. It was almost like a scalloped potato dish, but lighter and had an old fashioned name. Any ideas? Thanks