6 Creative Ways to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes This Fall
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6 Creative Ways to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes This Fall

From pizza to smoothies, it’s easy to add this in-season veggie to your diet.

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By A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez and Olivia DeLong

Adding fall-inspired foods to your weekly lineup should be pretty easy—and beneficial. Eating “in season” is often cheaper and the foods are fresher. And, if you’re buying local in-season produce, it’s likely the shipping time is going to be quicker. As a result, there’s less artificial ripening and more natural nutrients in these foods when they get to you.

One of our favorite fall veggies is the sweet potato, a starchy root vegetable with a sweet orange flesh. The sweet spuds are loaded with fiber, which promotes healthy digestion; provides beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A which supports the immune system; and boosts beta carotene for eye health.

New York City-based Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition, agrees—sweet potatoes are a must when it comes to fall. But instead of enjoying them with excess added sugar, Gorin recommends incorporating the veggie into your diet in a more nutritious way. “Sweet potatoes offer sweetness of their own, so I’d try to cut down on added sugar when you’re using them in a dessert recipe.”

Here are some drool-worthy ideas.

Toss them in salads.

2 / 7 Toss them in salads.

An easy way to eat more sweet potatoes is by adding them into a popular diet staple: salads. While most salads are packed with good stuff already, like dark leafy greens, tomatoes or nuts, why not add roasted sweet potatoes for an extra nutritional punch? They’ll add some texture to your bowl, too.

Roast a sheet pan or two of cubed sweet potatoes on Sunday, then store them in the fridge for up to 4 days. To roast, cut the potatoes into cubes, toss with avocado or olive oil, salt and pepper, onion powder (or any of your other favorite spices), and roast for 30 minutes at 425° F. Mix your spuds with the rest of the salad and top with your dressing of choice.

If you want a lighter dressing, avoid cream or mayo-based dressings like ranch and blue cheese. Try using fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, agave and salt and pepper instead.

Snack on baked fries.

3 / 7 Snack on baked fries.

Baked sweet potato fries are a much healthier alternative to fast-food chains. At-home baking allows you to choose better-for-you oils or cooking sprays—or skip the oil completely!—which can cut calories and avoid iffy ingredients like saturated fat and extra chemicals.

Cut the potatoes into fry-shaped pieces (leaving skin on or peeling off). For sweet, sprinkle cinnamon on top; for savory, use a small amount sea salt, pepper and chili powder. Want more flavor? Try garlic and parmesan! Bake them for 20 to 30 minutes at 425° F, or until desired crispiness.

Blend them in smoothies.

4 / 7 Blend them in smoothies.

Move over, spinach—sweet potatoes are another great veggie to throw in the blender. Not only do they add those nutrients, but they also make for a thicker, creamier, delicious treat.

Chop and puree ½ cup of sweet potatoes for the base. Add 1 cup of light coconut or almond milk, a splash of maple syrup, a small scoop of vanilla protein powder and a whole cubed banana. Blend until smooth, then enjoy.

Turn your pizza up a notch.

5 / 7 Turn your pizza up a notch.

Fall is the perfect time to experiment with new, seasonal pizza toppings! Gorin recommends using sweet potato puree in place of marinara for a slightly sweeter take on pizza. New flavors and more nutritional value–what's not to love? Her vegetarian cauliflower flatbread pizza is a flavorful one to try:

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • ⅓ small head cauliflower, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 premade pizza flatbread
  • ⅔ cup canned sweet potato puree
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle
  • ½ shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 ¼ ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Coat a cooking sheet with oil, place cauliflower pieces on the sheet and coat it with spray oil again. Roast 20 minutes, turning once. Remove and place in a small bowl. Re-coat cookie sheet with cooking spray, lower oven temperature to 375° F. Place pizza crust on sheet, and bake for 2 minutes. Combine sweet potato puree and chipotle in a small bowl. Remove pizza crust from oven and spread the sweet potato mixture. Top with cheese, cauliflower, shallots and a little black pepper. Place back in the oven for 4 additional minutes. Cut and serve.

Make baby food or puree.

6 / 7 Make baby food or puree.

If you're interested in making homemade purees and food for your little one, throw in some sweet potatoes, which could support their young immune system.

Preheat the oven to 400° F and bake 2 whole potatoes until tender (usually about an hour). As they cool, steam a few fresh peaches or apples (or both) until soft. Peel cooled potatoes and add all produce to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Sprinkle in nutmeg for extra flavor, and add water for desired consistency, then blend again.

Want to store some for later? Scoop it into an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to a month. Heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute when you're ready to serve—but let it cool before serving to your child.

Whip up some hummus.

7 / 7 Whip up some hummus.

It’s not uncommon to see black beans, avocados, lentils or pumpkin added to supermarket hummus varieties. So why not celebrate the season and experiment with your own sweet potato version? When using sweet potatoes, your hummus is sure to be heartier. And don't let "homemade hummus" intimidate you; it only takes a few ingredients to whip up.

Roast 2 sweet potatoes until the insides are soft. Let them cool and combine the soft insides with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 2 tablespoons of tahini and lemon or lime juice in a blender. Sprinkle in sea salt, pepper and any other spices, like smoked paprika, garlic chili powder or cumin, for flavor. Blend until smooth, then serve with veggies.

There are so many savory (and sweet!), flavorful and fun ways to enjoy sweet potatoes this season, whether it's in a smoothie or on a pizza. So, get creative in the kitchen and turn your meals up a notch this fall.

Healthy Foods & Cooking

Healthy Foods & Cooking

Do you want to cook healthier? With some simple tweaks, you can lighten up regular recipes for brownies, casseroles, and other tasty treats. Plan healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner by learning about healthy food substit...

utions. For instance, you can sprinkle powdered sugar on cakes instead of using frosting. Reduce fat and calories in baked goods by cutting the fat ingredient such as butter or margarine by one-half and substituting a moist ingredient like applesauce, fat-free sour cream or orange juice. Read on to learn more tips about healthy foods and in no time you will be cooking healthy recipes for you and your family.
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