This Thanksgiving, I’m invited to feast with friends and they’ve requested that I bring a side dish. I’ve decided on sweet potatoes — something like these Coconut-Marshmallow Spiced Sweet Potatoes or these Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Macadamia Nuts.
Sweet potatoes are a starchy, sweet-tasting root vegetable that we refer to as a “tuber.” Beloved the world over, North Americans have been enjoying them for hundreds of years. Did you know that George Washington was a sweet potato farmer before becoming a general? I’ll bet President Washington would have loved our Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Honey-Pecan Drizzle!
Although sweet potatoes are an important part of our Thanksgiving feast, they’re an ideal food for any day of the year. Versatile, nutritious and delicious, sweet potatoes are perfect for salads, sides, mains and even dessert. In fact, you can substitute sweet potatoes for white, red or yellow potatoes in many recipes. Here are some favorite tips and ideas:
To bake and eat, simply 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. (I like to rub the skin of sweet potatoes with just a smidgen of ghee or oil before baking).
Enjoy roasted, steamed or even grilled if your fall weather allows it, like these Spiced Grilled Sweet Potatoes. They pair perfectly with salmon, roast chicken or turkey, pork chops, legumes, baked or grilled tofu or tempeh. Try these Coconut Roasted Sweet Potatoes, too.
Use interchangeably in recipes calling for butternut squash, pumpkin or other winter squash.
Add to soups, stews, chilies and chowders.
Enjoy for breakfast or dessert. These Especially Good Sweet Potatoes are great in the morning or after a delicious meal.
If you are wondering about the connection between sweet potatoes and yams, here’s the scoop: 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. They are rarely seen in the US, but because sweet potatoes are often referred to as yams, it’s common and acceptable to use either name.
Are sweet potatoes on your holiday menu? What recipe will you make? I’d love to know.