Sweet potatoes have quickly risen through the ranks of the superfood world. Paleo-friendly and insanely versatile, we just can’t get enough of this popular tuber!
These powerful veggies are made up of complex carbohydrates that help balance your energy output throughout the day. Good sources of complex carbs like these sweet treats help keep your blood sugar levels steady without dips or spikes.
The vibrant orange hue of these tubers tells you right away that they are a fantastic source of beta carotene. Beta carotene converts into vitamin A in your body, which provides some fantastic anti-aging benefits.
Chock-full of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium, it’s pretty easy to see why sweet potatoes are on the superfood list. (1) Sweet potatoes are also one of the best sources of antioxidants in the vegetable world. (2) What’s not to love?
Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams
Sweet potatoes are sweet, starchy tuberous vegetables that vary in hue from orange, white, and purple. The long, slender, orange variety, dubbed “yams”, are actually not yams at all, but, in fact, sweet potatoes.
When the long, slender, orange sweet potato was introduced to the United States, the name yam came into play to help differentiate between the color varieties of sweet potatoes.
A true yam is of the Dioscorea genus and grown in tropical climates. Rough with thick, fibrous skin, with white to rosy or purple-hued flesh, true yams must be cooked in order to be consumed. They’re poisonous otherwise. (3)
Although yams are growing more and more common in the U.S., they are usually found in the international sections of your grocer.
Sweet Potatoes: 11 Different Ways to Eat Them
Mega-nutritious and completely satisfying, you can enjoy sweet potatoes prepared in a savory fashion or sweet, as the name suggests. Try them baked the classic way, or dressed up with complementing spices, fruits, sauces and herbs! Here are 11 ways to enjoy these sweet spuds.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
If you’re a veteran sweet potato lover, then you need not look further than the purist preparation: the baked sweet potato.
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then prick your scrubbed and dried sweet potato with a fork a few times all over and place on the sheet pan. Into the oven they go for an hour or more.
Roast until impossibly tender and even to the point the caramelized natural sugars run down the sides. Split the sweet potato open and dab with grass-fed butter, coconut oil, coconut manna, sea salt, maple syrup – whatever you pleasure may be!
Twice-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
This preparation is rather elegant and a great way to make a showstopper presentation out of our beloved baked sweet potato. The twice-stuffed potato essentially involves roasting, scooping, seasoning and then piping back into the shell. Here is how it goes:
Roast your sweet potato to perfection (as we discussed above) and be sure to throw an extra potato or two on the pan to ensure that you will have ample filling.
Let your roasted sweet potatoes cool down a bit before handling. Halve and scoop the flesh from each half, leaving enough behind in the skin to reinforce a sturdy shape for your filling.
To the scooped flesh, add an egg, butter, salt, maple syrup and preferred spices. Whisk until very smooth, almost like a thick frosting. If you need to add a bit of coconut milk or other preferred milk to achieve this texture, please do so.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a tip with the seasoned filling, and pipe artfully back into your potato skins. Bake once more for 20 minutes at 350°F.
Your twice-stuffed potato will be slightly puffed and completely delicious. Top with herbs, pomegranate seed and pecans, or even a tasty stone fruit relish.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
A sweet potato purée, or rustic mash, is a fantastic carrier for your favorite animal protein and vegetarian entrees. Serve with chicken, steaks, meatloaf, meatballs, fish filets, roasted veggies, and Portobello mushroom steaks.
Simply scoop the flesh from the roasted potatoes and whisk it in, or use a fork to mash it. Add grass-fed butter, salt, and a bit of coconut or hemp milk to make it all the more creamy.
If you dig the combination of sweet and savory, try adding a touch of cinnamon, smoked paprika and maple syrup to this mash-up as well. You can also keep leftover purée on hand to make Paleo pancakes and breads. It’s even a great egg replacement for your favorite Paleo baking recipes.
Sweet Potato Chips
If you crave crunchy and satisfying, there’s sweet potato chips. You can season them with warming spices or stick to a light sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt; both are delicious choices but the trick lies in the slicing.
To get your slices ultra-thin, as well as uniform so your chips will crisp up at the same time, opt for a mandolin. My number one rule is to go slow, practice, and keep your eye on the prize.
Mandolins are fantastic tools for any home cook to create ultra-thin and uniform slices of all of your favorite veggies. Unless you have superior knife skills, investing in a mandolin is a game changer.
Preheat your oven to 400°F, toss your slices with melted coconut oil and preferred seasonings, and be sure to spread them out on a parchment-lined sheet pan in a single layer with plenty of room between slices so you create crispy, not steamed, chips.
Keep an eye on your chips over the course of 10 to 20 minutes, agitate them a few times and rotate the pan halfway through. Enjoy with guacamole, soup or straight from the pan!
Sweet Potato Fries
For quick sweet potato fries, preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice sweet potatoes into matchstick-sized pieces and place them in a bowl with melted ghee, salt and pepper. Feel free to add any of your favorite seasonings here – paprika and garlic powder taste great! When the fries are evenly coated, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes until crispy.
Sweet Potato Soup
A sweet potato and roasted red pepper soup with cashew milk is creamy, unique and satisfying. Start with grass-fed butter and sauté your mirepoix (carrot, celery, onion) until tender.
Add chopped sweet potato, skin and all, along with jarred, or home-roasted, sweet red bell peppers. Cover with chicken stock, bone broth, or vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
Add to a high-powered blender with a handful of soaked cashews and some water. Blend until ultra-smooth.
Tip: A blended soup should be the texture of heavy cream, so you may need more water than you think!
Add your perfectly-blended soup back to your pot and season with salt to taste. Add a squeeze of lemon to balance and add a touch of acidity to your soup. Now you’re ready to cozy up with your favorite chair in front of the fire!
Sweet Potato Salad
Potato salad is always a fan favorite. In the colder seasons, I love to make sweet potato salad with warming spices and homemade aioli with lots of Dijon mustard.
There are plenty of Paleo mayos on the market, as well as some amazing hacks to make your own avocado or cashew-based mayo swap.
To really amp up your potato salad game, try using purple, white and golden varieties. Chop and roast your favorite varieties of sweet potato and throw into a large mixing bowl.
Add plenty of salt and warm spices like allspice, coriander and cumin. Chop fresh savory, rosemary, sage, and thyme along with garlic and red onion, and a couple small handfuls of your favorite seeds or nuts like pecans, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts or black sesame.
Stir in plenty of aioli, a bit of apple cider vinegar and another handful of either dried tart cherries, cranberries or even pomegranate seeds.
Let sit in the fridge for an hour or two before enjoying; the flavors will marry and you will have yourself a very tasty, Paleo-friendly sweet potato salad.
Sweet Potato Paleo Pie
This is a homey, satisfying and just sweet enough treat to enjoy throughout this entire holiday season. It’s indulgent, but loaded with healthy perks.
Delightfully familiar if you are a pumpkin pie fan, sweet potato pie will satisfy that craving and then some. Try this easy Paleo recipe for Sweet Potato Pecan Pie here.
Sweet Potato Latkes
Latkes are traditionally made with potatoes and served with applesauce and sour cream. These sweet potato versions are delightful when served traditionally, but I prefer to eat with an egg-over-medium plonked on top. Enjoy these sweet potato latkes as a breakfast, a side or a quick snack.
Shred scrubbed and dried sweet potatoes with a box grater until you have about one cup. Add shreds to a bowl with one egg and 1 tablespoon of coconut flour.
Zest and juice one lemon and add a large pinch of sea salt. Add your favorite herbs and spices to taste. I like to use seasonings like cumin, crushed garlic, fresh sage, or allspice.
Stir your mixture until just incorporated. Heat a high-heat oil, like avocado or coconut oil, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. There should be enough oil that it comes about half the way up the latke when in the pan.
Working quickly, scoop a couple tablespoons of your mixture into the hot oil and spread out to form a nice, round layer, not more than a ¼-inch in thickness. Add as many more as you can to the pan as long as there is plenty of room between latkes so you can flip with ease as well as ensure a nice golden color on each side.
Keep an eye on the heat and oil as you take out the finished latkes and add more to the pan. You must allow new oil to come back up to a hot temperature before adding new batter to the pan. Drain on paper towels and top with your favorite additions or enjoy right away.
Sweet Potato Crostini
Using sweet potatoes as a landing site for all sorts of toppings is a fail-safe, Paleo crowd pleaser! Try slicing and roasting a slice of sweet potato and serve piled high with some fabulously delicious toppings.
Swapping the common toast point for a perfectly roasted round of a sweet potato will let your Paleo buddies dive into holiday platters with ease. Some great toppings are pestos, nut butters, savory fruit relishes, dips and other thick sauces like tapenades or guacamole.
Sweet Potato Noodles
Sweet potatoes shredded into long, luxurious “noodles” have proven to be worth their salt in the decadence department. You can use a spiralizer to make these noodles, or even a vegetable peeler to create long strands that are Paleo-friendly and hold up to classic pasta sauces.
You can blanch these noodles quickly, or enjoy marinated or even raw. Sweet potatoes can carry a multitude of flavors and pair so nicely with classic tomato sauces, vegan-style cashew cream-based Alfredos and most certainly pestos.
(Make This Next: Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole)