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Sweet Potatoes 3 Ways

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Awhile back, I had a quick informal survey where I asked those of you reading what you'd like to see more of on the blog. Turns out, everyone wants recipes. I've been mulling this over for the past year, wondering if this is something that I can actually do. Turns out, it's not my strength.

Here's the thing. I love cooking, and I'm a pretty good cook. But I'm not one to follow recipes, or make the same thing twice, or to write down what I did. And I keep forgetting to take photos during the process. Do you know how frustrating it is to get ready to post a recipe and realize that you ate it before you captured it?!? My food photography also lacks a little luster at this point, but I'm working on improving my skillz (yes, skillz with a "z"). Bear with me, it's going to take a bit before anyone is pinning my photos as inspiration.

My photography is getting better.

My photography is getting better.

Instead, I'd rather talk about the nutrition of a food, and show you what others have done with it. Or maybe provide my favorite quick and easy way to make a vegetable. But - spoiler alert - the recipe will probably just involve roasting or quick saute. I'm going to highlight some of my favorite ingredients (focusing on vegetables, fruit, and grains) and different ways to use them, to help YOU find a new favorite.

Today: Sweet Potatoes

Source: Robin on Flikr

Oh how I love sweet potatoes. They're so easy and so versatile, and packed with lots of great nutrition. Serving size is a little difficult with sweet potatoes, because you often see them listed as "small", "medium" and "large". What does that mean??

One medium sweet potato is defined as 2" by 5", and weighs about 4 ounces (115 grams) when cooked. Another way to measure is 1 cup of cooked sweet potato weighs about 7 ounces (200 grams).

I'm going to use 1 cup of cooked sweet potato as my reference point, because I think that's more realistic to the size of most sweet potatoes in the grocery store. Your one cup of cooked sweet potato provides:

  • 180 calories
  • 41 grams of carbohydrate, including 6.5 grams of fiber
  • 4 grams of protein

That one cup of sweet potatoes is rich in antioxidants vitamin A (214% DRI), vitamin C (52% DRI), manganese (50% DRI), and a good source of potassium (27% DRI) and many of the B vitamins (pantothenic acid, B6, biotin, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin).

And now, for the best part. Eating them! If you've only eaten sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows on Thanksgiving, this might shock you, but they can be enjoyed in savory form, as well. They are good on their own, with a variety of toppings and in soups and stews. A few of my favorites.

Breakfast: baked sweet potatoes are easy to make ahead

  • topped with plain yogurt or Siggi's orange ginger yogurt + dried cranberries + walnuts
  • topped with goat cheese + wilted greens + poached egg + cracked pepper

Lunch: soups and stews are easy to reheat at work

Dinner: roasted sweet potatoes are delicious fresh out of the oven

  • Vegetarian Sweet Potato Nachos (details below)
  • Baked sweet potato fries roasted in olive oil + salt + cinnamon + cayenne - a great side with burgers, grilled chicken, or just because

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Nachos

(serves one)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (mexican blend, cheddar, pepper jack, etc)
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Cut the sweet potato into coins, about 1/4 inch thick. Toss in olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet, lined with foil or a Silpat baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through (thickness will determine final cooking time). They're done when you can easily pierce the middle of the coin with a fork.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the oven. Top potatoes with jalapeno (if desired), cheese and beans. Bake for an additional 10 minutes to melt the cheese.
  5. Top with avocado and cilantro. Enjoy!

Note: these are extremely versatile, and the topping ideas are endless. Add or omit to your heart's content. Shredded chicken or ground beef would make a great non-vegetarian option. Have other veggies you need to use up? Dice them and add to the potatoes for the second round of cooking.


What's your favorite way to enjoy sweet potatoes?