Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Sweet Potatoes

By Guest Blogger Becka Levin, GIC

Sweet potatoes are the healthy ingredient we will look at this week. A relative of the good ol’ potato, sweet potatoes pack in more nutrients with a slightly sweeter taste. They are a great substitute if you love those starchy root vegetables, but also great in recipes on their own.

Sweet potatoes are one of the best natural sources of beta carotene, a vitamin that is essential for eyesight and other bodily functions. They are also a good source of vitamin C, a key ingredient of a healthy immune system, and fiber, which we have discussed in depth in previous weeks. Fiber does a great job at keeping you full, helps protect you from intestinal and other cancers, and is also very beneficial to regularity.

Especially with Thanksgiving coming up right around the corner, these recipes can be a great addition to your table. Just like the regular potato, sweet potatoes can be prepared in a large variety of ways: baked, mashed, etcetera, but they stand out on their own in many dishes as well.


Homemade Sweet Potato Fries


2 or 3 large sweet potatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350⁰.

2. Cut up the sweet potatoes in long portions (the long way) to desired thickness – think steak fries or more fast food style.

2. Place cut sweet potatoes on a greased baking sheet.

3. Drizzle olive oil over cut sweet potatoes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices.

4. Place baking tray in oven, and bake for roughly 10-20 minutes. Keep a close eye on your fries, because cook time will vary greatly depending on your crispy preference and how thick your sweet potatoes have been cut.


Maple-Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes


canola oil cooking spray

3 cups hot sweet potatoes or yams, mashed

3 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon butter or no-trans margarine

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with the cooking spray.

2. Combine the sweet potatoes, orange juice, butter, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 1 cup of the marshmallows and beat on medium speed until fluffy. If the marshmallows aren’t melting, microwave the bowl for a minute and resume beating.

3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining marshmallows over the top and bake for about 15 minutes. The marshmallows on top should be lightly browned.

4. Serve and enjoy!


Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

From The New York Times – Well section


1 tablespoon canola oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 medium-size Yukon gold or russet potato, peeled and diced

6 cups water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock

Salt to taste


1. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.

2. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the ginger and stir together until fragrant, about 1 minute.

4. Add the squash, sweet potatoes, regular potato, and water or stock, and bring to a simmer.

5. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until all of the ingredients are thoroughly tender.

6. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or you can put it through the fine blade of a food mill or use a regular blender, working in batches and placing a kitchen towel over the top to avoid splashing). Return to the pot and stir with a whisk to even out the texture. Heat through, adjust salt and add pepper to taste.


Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes


2 1/2 pounds potatoes, sweet, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)

1/3 cup(s) maple syrup, pure

2 tablespoon butter, melted

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In small bowl, combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat.

3. Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 to 50 minutes more.


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