If you ask me, sweet potatoes are sweet enough without the marshmallows.
This time of year, sweet potatoes — you might call them yams in your family — will grace many holiday tables, but unless you just really, really look forward to those toasted marshmallows on top, here are a few new ideas for one of the most nutritious and affordable vegetables you’ll find in the produce section.
Like regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have a nutritious skin that you can leave on, but many recipes call for peeling before cutting. Sometimes, I’ll peel half of a sweet potato so some of the pieces still have a little bit of skin on while others are skin-free.
Sweet potatoes roast nicely with other vegetables or meat, which is my favorite way to cook them. You can steam them, too, for an easy mashed side dish. Several of these recipes call for leftover mashed or pureed sweet potato, so make extra and freeze in an ice cube tray if you want to be able to prepare that hummus or granola on a whim.
Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter
Quite possibly the fluffiest roll you will ever have, these dinner rolls disappear from the table in an instant thanks to their sweet flavor, light texture and melted honey butter on top. Sprinkle them with sea salt and prepare to be amazed. For beginning bread-makers, this is a great first bread-baking recipe. It uses leftover mashed sweet potatoes for color and flavor, but you can use white potatoes as well if you wish. If you are making these for a crowd, this recipe can easily be doubled. Freeze the rolls once they are shaped so you can heat and serve them when the craving strikes.
— Megan Keno
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, more depending on moisture of dough
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the milk and water. Heat in a microwave until the temperature reaches between 102 degrees and 110 degrees, about 40 seconds. Stir sugar into the mixture and add the yeast. Gently mix in the yeast, and set aside to allow the yeast to activate and become foamy, about 5 minutes.
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the egg, salt, 3 tablespoons melted butter, sweet potato and flour and mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the yeast mixture, and allow it to incorporate. Mix until the ingredients are smooth and doughlike and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom. This will take about 8 minutes. If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl after 8 minutes, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough releases from the sides.
Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until it becomes a smooth, uniform ball. Place it into a lightly greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.
Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and cut it into 8 to 10 equal pieces. Roll the dough into small balls, and place them seam-side down in a greased skillet. Cover and let the dough rise until the rolls have doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown on top and have reached 200 degrees when tested with a thermometer.
In a small dish, mix together 1/4 cup room-temperature butter and 2 tablespoons honey until smooth. Brush the tops of the baked rolls with this mixture, sprinkle with sea salt and serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.
— From “Cast Iron Gourmet: 77 Amazing Recipes with Less Fuss and Fewer Dishes” by Megan Keno (Page Street, $21.99)
Sweet Potato Tahini Dip with Za’atar
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), scrubbed
1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon sumac
Coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and wrap each one tightly in foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast until the flesh gives easily when pressed, about 1 hour. Unwrap and set aside to cool completely.
To make the za’atar, toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over low heat until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the thyme, sumac and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and set aside.
Peel the sweet potatoes and place them in a food processor. Add the tahini, water, lemon juice, hot sauce, a few turns of pepper, olive oil and 2 teaspoons of the prepared za’atar. Puree until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Makes about 2 cups.
— From “Friendsgiving: Celebrate Your Family of Friends” by Alexandra Shytsman (William Morrow, $16.99)
Sweet Potato Pie and Cashew Smoothie
Naturally sweetened, this nourishing, spiced smoothie is like dessert in a glass. But unlike desserts made with refined sugar, the natural sugars from sweet potato and banana (both prebiotics) are released slowly into the bloodstream, providing a balanced source of energy and helping to keep blood sugar spikes at bay.
— Carla Oates
2 tablespoons raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1 medjool date, pitted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (available from health food stores)
Pinch of Himalayan salt
3 1/2 oz. sweet potato, peeled, cubed and steamed
1/3 cup almond milk
1/4 frozen banana
6 ice cubes
1 teaspoon maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra to serve
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Coconut cream, to serve (optional)
Toasted flaked coconut, to serve (optional)
Soak the cashews in enough cold water to cover for 1 hour, or up to overnight, in the refrigerator. Drain and rinse the cashews.
Place the cashews and remaining ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend together to make a thick smoothie.
Pour into a tall glass. Drizzle with coconut cream, if desired, and dust with extra cinnamon to serve. Top with toasted flaked coconut, if desired. Serves 1.
— From “The Beauty Chef” by Carla Oates (Hardie Grant, $35)
Sweet Potato and Aduki Bean Casserole
There is a rather crazy mix of flavorings happening here — miso, Marmite or nutritional yeast and coconut milk – but it forms a richly layered sauce that bubbles up around the edges of the sweet potato slices, rendering them perfectly crisp.
— Áine Carlin
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little extra for the sweet potato
2 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon chili flakes, plus a little extra for the sweet potato
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated, plus a little extra for the sweet potato
1 tablespoon tomato purée
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 vegetable stock cube
1 cup cooked aduki beans (drained, if using canned)
1 teaspoon Marmite or nutritional yeast
1 heaped teaspoon miso paste
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 large sweet potato, peeled and finely sliced into rounds
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and chili flakes. Season and sweat until the onion becomes translucent. Add the red wine vinegar and cook over a high heat until it evaporates.
Reduce the heat and grate in the ginger before adding the tomato purée, coconut milk and stock cube. Simmer until the vegetables are soft.
Add aduki beans to the pan along with the Marmite or nutritional yeast and miso. Simmer gently for several minutes before tumbling in the frozen peas. Season and simmer gently until the peas are heated through. Transfer to a casserole dish.
Toss the sweet potato slices with a little olive oil, some grated ginger, chili flakes and salt. Line the top of the casserole with the sweet potato, overlapping to ensure it all fits in. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes before removing the foil and cooking for a further 20 minutes or until crispy and golden. Serves 2 to 4.
— From “The New Vegan: Great Recipes, No-Nonsense Advice, and Simple Tips” by Áine Carlin (Kyle Books, $19.95)
Spiced Sweet Potato and Carrot Granola
This deliciously spiced granola gets its sweetness from fibrous sweet potatoes and carrots, which will keep your blood sugar from spiking. Healing cinnamon also helps to balance out your insulin.
— Angelique Panagos
3/4 cup sweet potato, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
1/4 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup almond meal or flour
1 cup almonds, sliced
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons flaxseeds, ground
5 tablespoons coconut yogurt
Almond or coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 small handful blueberries
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking tray with baking paper, or grease the surface with a touch of coconut oil. Steam the sweet potatoes and carrots until soft, for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once cooked, put the sweet potatoes and carrots into a high-powered blender, along with the coconut oil, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt, and blend. You may need to add up to a cup of water if it’s hard to blend, but be careful not to make the purée too watery. Allow the mixture to cool while you prepare the dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine the coconut flakes, ground and sliced almonds, pecans and seeds. Add the wet ingredients from the blender to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. The dry ingredients should be thoroughly coated. Spread the granola in a thin layer on the prepared tray and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and turn the granola to prevent it burning — oven temperatures can vary, so keep a close eye the first few times you make it. Return to the oven, this time leaving the oven door open an inch — this will allow moisture from the oven to escape and will help crisp up the granola. Bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes, or until the granola is golden and crunchy.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then put into an airtight container and store for up to two weeks. To serve, spoon granola into a bowl, and top with the yogurt or milk and sprinkle with the cinnamon and blueberries.
— From “The Balance Plan: Six Steps to Optimize Your Hormonal Health” by Angelique Panagos (Aster, $24.99)