The common sweet potato and its uses in cooking have evolved a long way from Grandma’s candied yams with marshmallows on top. While there’s nothing wrong with that recipe if it is something you enjoy, there is a whole new world of sweet potato dishes out there, as well as some fantastic new uses.


Filled with fiber, the sweet potato has been hailed as one of the best vegetable foods to incorporate into your diet as much as possible. It is low in refined starches and sugars, while being high in carotene and other flavinoid antioxidants. It also has a magic ability to float back and forth as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. The sweet potato can be a part of a hearty meal as often as it can make its way into desserts.


One great, simple use for this awesome tuber is mashed sweet potatoes. They go great with pork and chicken, or can be an awesome lunch all by themselves. Simply bake your sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven until they are soft and smell nice and caramelized. The peel usually comes of quite easily at this point, but you can also put your baked sweet potatoes in a paper bag and shake them up. This will help remove some of the peel if it is still too hot for your fingers.


Then mash the peeled potatoes in a bowl, mixing in any combination of the following ingredients to your taste: butter, brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and a dash of salt. You can use all of them, or only a few, and make sure to taste as you mash so you know where you are in flavor. Top it off with a dollop of Greek yogurt.


Another neat idea is to replace the bread in your bruschetta type dishes with sweet potato. They show six cool applications of this idea in the linked article, but the possibilities are probably endless for both savory and sweet appetizers, with just a bit more excitement and fiber than using plain white bread.


The sweet potato is a humble vegetable, but with a little creativity, you can make this healthy ingredient really sing in your dishes.


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