They're so good in a pinch.

By Stacey Ballis
November 21, 2019

Sweet potato recipes are all over everywhere right now. Because with Thanksgiving happening effectively momentarily, and Christmas right on its heels, everyone suddenly goes all-in on holiday recipes for sweet potatoes. You can find them boiled, baked, mashed, casseroled, sliced, diced, roasted and toasted, garnished and candied. This is not about those sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are joyfully available year-round, and year-round you can almost always find a stash of them in my fridge, roasted to sweet soft perfection, just waiting for me. I usually buy them six at a time, roast them over the weekend so that I have them on hand.

As a person who is both working on eating healthily and needing to manage my type 2 diabetes, sweet potatoes might seem counterintuitive. Potatoes? On a healthy diet? Sweet is right in the name, shouldn’t diabetics avoid anything sweet? Thank goodness the answer to both of these is that roasted sweet potatoes are amazingly good for you.

Let’s be clear, not when you soak them in butter and top them with pralinated nuts, or whip with cream and top with toasty marshmallows, and not when they are the size of a football and covered in brown sugar at your local steakhouse, or piled into orange fries next to your burger. But a plain, medium sized roasted sweet potato is a high-fiber, low-carb, low sodium, 100 calorie powerhouse of good stuff like potassium and protein and a wallop of vitamin A.

I find roasting is both easiest and intensifies the flavor in the potatoes for maximum pleasure. To roast sweet potatoes, I wash them well, cut off both of the pointy ends, put into a shallow pan or baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for about two hours. Yep. Two hours. I like my potatoes seriously cooked, and this really does the trick. Then I stash them in the refrigerator to eat all week, at any time of day. They don’t lose anything in terms of texture or flavor by reheating, even in the microwave.

I might split one and sprinkle with cinnamon instead of morning toast, serving it with some yogurt or cottage cheese for more protein. I have stuffed them cold with chicken salad for lunch, sliced them into planks and topped with slices of fresh mozzarella for an afternoon snack, and smashed them up with ginger and red pepper flakes for a great dinner side dish. Cubed and enhanced with canned chickpeas it can make for a fast curry as an entrée all its own. If I’m craving something sweet after dinner, I might pop one in the microwave, mash it up, and crumble a graham cracker or two over the top or a sprinkle of granola.

Cooked like this they are just a fork away from being a puree, which means you are ready at the drop of a hat for fun cooking and baking projects like sweet potato ravioli, sweet potato pound cake, sweet potato choux pastry, sweet potato cheesecake, sweet potato bread, and of course, even a sweet potato pie.

I’ve even converted my husband to being a sweet potato fan. Having grown up in the South, he was used to his sweet potatoes either being casseroles, desserts, or candied into cloying sweetness. But roasted this way and enhanced more with salt and letting the natural sugars be the only sweet element, he is now team sweet potato. And even if the idea of an orange tuber beyond the holiday buffet is beyond you at the moment, once the tinsel is swept up, consider some sweet potatoes. They just might be your new favorite year-round all-day dish.

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