Sweet potatoes are a lovely addition to soups and grain bowls, but these simple, superpowered starches are so much more. Sweet potatoes can be the main attraction by amping them up with simple techniques and fridge-friendly toppings.
Here’s how to take your ho-hum sweet potatoes over the top and make them feel fresh:
Crank up your oven to 375°F (190ºC). While it preheats, scrub your potatoes clean. Poke your potatoes all over with a fork, then wrap them individually in aluminum foil to create a little steam tent for your potato. Bake until the potatoes are easily pierced with a sharp knife. The timing depends on the size of your potato, but 30–40 minutes is a great estimation. This technique renders sweet potatoes that are creamy and fluffy on the inside. Enjoy yours with a little swipe of ghee or coconut butter, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Twice-roasted potatoes are a double-win: You get crispy burnished skins and pillowy insides. To double roast, scrub 2–4 small, whole sweet potatoes and arrange them in a large, heavy ovenproof skillet (I use cast-iron.) Pour in a bit of water to barely coat the bottom of the pan, and cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake in a 400°F (200ºC) oven until the potatoes yield easily to the tip of a knife, roughly 30–35 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the sweet potatoes to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Return the skillet to the oven and allow it to heat for 15–20 minutes. Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Remove skillet from the oven and swirl 2 tablespoons of ghee or unsalted butter in the pan, then arrange the sweet potatoes cut side down in the pan and roast until edges are browned and crisp, another 18–25 minutes. Enjoy with a pinch of sea salt and a crack of pepper, or one of the tasty toppings listed below!
If you’ve baked your sweet potatoes, you can then simply split them in half and load them with tasty goodies. This is a great way to build a proper meal. A few favorite loaded sweet potato combos:
- Black beans, Greek yogurt, crushed red pepper, a sprinkle of cilantro and lime
- Chickpeas, tahini, pickled onions and fresh herbs
- Sauteed kale with crushed red pepper and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
Don’t wait until after you’ve cooked your sweet potatoes to start layering on the flavor. If you’re roasting cut sweet potatoes in shapes like wedges or fries, toss them with a bit of coconut oil, ghee or olive oil to conduct heat and promote caramelization, and sprinkle with ground spices.
Some favorites: coriander, smoked paprika or cumin, and spice mixes like harissa, za’atar and togarashi.
There are few things better than topping a steamy potato with a pat of butter, except maybe if you spike that butter with a little bit of honey or maple. You could also add a pinch of harissa and mint, or perhaps a super-savory smash up of lime juice, tahini, soy sauce and sesame oil. If it’s creamy and flavorful, your sweet potato is a pretty good canvas for a schmeared work of edible art.
Of all the ways to make your sweet potato a savory, satisfying meal, dropping a fried egg on top is one of the easiest. If you love a runny yolk, this becomes the sauce. Served on top of a perfectly browned sweet potato, you’ve got yourself a breakfast that never wants for toast again.
Note: If you’re rewarming your sweet potatoes, you have a few options. The microwave and the oven are self-explanatory, but my favorite is to warm them in the skillet where I’ll cook the eggs with a bit of ghee. This refreshes the crispness and creaminess and allows the potatoes to cool while you cook your eggs.
Just about anything you have in your fridge can become a sauce for your sweet potatoes, so don’t skip it. Try tahini instead of sour cream. But also, peanut butter and your favorite jam, or the last of that bottle of vinaigrette. Never leave your sweet potato naked.
No one craves a plain steamed sweet potato. But a plain sweet potato is a canvas for so many delicious ingredients. Make yours a meal by adding a protein — marinated lentils, crisped ground lamb or pork, or the egg described above. Then go for flavor, texture and color contrast. Here are a few great combos:
- Crispy chickpeas + herbs + greek yogurt
- Greek yogurt + honey + cilantro + black sesame seeds
- Black beans + Monterey Jack cheese + cilantro
- Salsa + queso fresco
- Lentils + hummus + pickled red onions
- Toasted pecans + maple syrup + ghee
Discover hundreds of healthy recipes — from high protein to low carb — via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app.