I like sweets, and I like potatoes, why not sweet potatoes?
April 14, 2010 1:56 PM   Subscribe

What are some good recipes to transform a sweet potato hater into a sweet potato lover?

I've never really liked sweet potatoes, but I got a couple of them in my CSA box yesterday, and I have a feeling I'll be getting more in the coming weeks so I'd like to try and learn to like them. I've only had sweet potatoes as fries or in that Thanksgiving dish with marshmallow on top and didn't like either of those, but I know there's more out there. How should I try them?
posted by radiomayonnaise to Food & Drink (54 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
oh yeah, vegetarian recipes please!
posted by radiomayonnaise at 1:56 PM on April 14, 2010

Sweet potato pie?
posted by jquinby at 2:00 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

I would bet that a carrot or pumpkin recipe would be delicious with sweet potatoes too. Maybe a cream of potato?
posted by gjc at 2:00 PM on April 14, 2010

Sweet potatoes are literally my favorite food!

I usually bake them whole. Just wash and cut the nubs on the ends off then wrap in foil and bake for ~35 min at 400 or until soft. Then add a pat of butter and cinnamon and maple syrup.

I also buy canned vegetarian baked beans and put those on a plain baked sweet potato, which is amazing.
posted by kmavap at 2:00 PM on April 14, 2010

Slice into pingpong ball sized hunks. Coat in olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast. Squeeze a lemon over them when they come out of the oven. Toss. Eat. Enjoy.

At least, this helped me like them more. For me, they're too too sweet. And even sweet potato fries are just kind of meh and then sweet. This will give them a nice tang and a good savory flavor that will counteract the sweet nicely.
posted by greekphilosophy at 2:00 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]

I don't know if this is too close to sweet potato fries or not, but I would just cut them into bite-size chunks, toss with some olive oil/salt/pepper, and roast them (perhaps with other veggies cut into similar sizes -- e.g., white or gold potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, etc.) till they're awesome. (I would estimate this would take about 30-40 mins. in 425-degree oven, give or take about 25 degrees, but there's a bit of [delicious] trial and error involved in roasting veggies.)
posted by scody at 2:01 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bake 'em

Preheat oven to 400, coat sweet potato in veg oil (thin layer) top liberally with kosher salt. Toss it directly on the oven rack for 70 min or so. (I also slash the top of the potato so it breaks open a little easier when it is done and so some steam can get out, but I suspect that is somewhat optional).

I eat a baked sweet potato a couple times a week. It is so ridiculously delicious that it is hard to imagine that the damn thing is good for you.

If you don't like sweet potatoes like this, you will probably never like them, haha.
posted by milqman at 2:02 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I like to make mashed sweet potatoes with lime juice/zest, chili powder, and butter/salt. Peel, cut, and boil them up, and then just mash the heck out of them. Worth a try.
posted by Knicke at 2:03 PM on April 14, 2010

Bake until done, then top with salt, pepper, yogurt (the good tangy stuff) and chopped cilantro. Pure Bliss.
posted by gyusan at 2:03 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's what I like:

Cut 2 or 3 sweet potatoes into 1-inch wedges.
Toss in a big bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil.
Then add the following spices and keep tossing:
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cumin

Bake on a sheet for 25 minutes at 425.
posted by motsque at 2:04 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

I toss my sweet potato wedges in olive oil, sugar, salt, & chili powder and bake for 20 minutes. Easy and really good.
posted by something something at 2:06 PM on April 14, 2010

Sweet potato pizza!
Warning: I made this recipe up, so it is not precise. Oh, I love it, though.
1 pizza crust (I use the pre-made Boboli ones)
a couple of sweet potatoes
olive oil
curry powder, sweet, not hot. I use the cheap Jamaican style from Badia, often found in the ethnic foods section of the supermarket near the Goya stuff.
An onion
Parmesan cheese. Not pre-grated, not the stuff in the green bottle.
Salt and pepper.

Peel the sweet potatoes and slice them into rounds. Preheat the oven to 450 or so. Throw a pizza stone in there if you've got it.
Saute them with some olive oil and a goodly amount of curry powder and crushed rosemary and salt.
You may wish to steam them for a bit. You can do this by throwing a little (a few tablespoons) of water in the skillet you're sauteing them in, and then quickly covering it.
It's best if the sweet potato slices are entirely soft and a little bit browned when you're done sauteing them, but it's okay if they're not totally done.
Drizzle some oil on the crust. Spread it around and then sprinkle on some salt. Add more curry powder and rosemary.
Dice the onion and sprinkle it on, too. I usually end up using about 1/2 an onion per pizza.
Spread the sweet potato slices evenly over the pizza. It usually ends up being a 2-3 layers of slices. Don't get too crazy about making it even, it's fine.
Sprinkle on the parm. Not a terribly thick coating, it's a condiment, not a main ingredient. It's no mozzarella.
Add the pepper on top of the cheese.
Bake at 450 for 10-20 minutes, until the cheese is golden and a little crispy and the sweet potatoes are definitely done.

It ends up being not very sweet, quite salty, with a great sweet potato flavor and nice little sweet bits of crunchiness from the onions. Mmmmm.
posted by Adridne at 2:09 PM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]

Chopped and mixed with other assorted veggies(broccoli, onions, and carrots FTW!), lightly coated with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, and roasted at high heat until everything is starting to brown and is tender... That's the way you do it.
posted by owtytrof at 2:10 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I microwave them in the skin until soft, cut open then eat like a baked potato with butter and salt. I like to serve them with steamed broccoli and black beans mixed with salsa. The contrast in colors makes a really pretty plate, and the flavors complement surprisingly well.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:14 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Despite this being an Emeril Lagasse recipe, sweet potato fries with cinnamon, sugar, cayenne pepper and salt are teh sexxx.
posted by superquail at 2:16 PM on April 14, 2010

Wash them, peel them, chop them up and boil them until half-soft.

Then fry them in a pan with oil, curry powder, cumin, and a splash of white wine.

Then, serve them with a dollup of sour cream and some chopped cilantro.

posted by cranberrymonger at 2:17 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sweet potato and butternut squash soup. I recommend adding honey and freshly ground nutmeg to that recipe. You could also add a carrot or two. I like to use vegetable stock, though the recipe says water is OK. (If you're making vegetable stock specifically for this soup, use some of the fresh ginger in the stock.)

Also, try sweet potato risotto using vegetable stock. I'm sure there are lots of recipes you can Google.
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:18 PM on April 14, 2010

The trick with overcoming a sweet potato problem, I've found, is to introduce them in an already enjoyable form. A frame of reference that one can relate to if you've had a bad experience or two with sweet potatoes in the past. I recommend french fries. Cut em thin and small and try your favorite sauce/condiment to go with them, not just boring old ketchup. Paprika and cumin work well with sweet potatoes. Any type of Chipotle mayo or something more acidic would also work as well.

Also, it could be that you just don't like the way Americans do sweet potatoes. Lucky you, they're quite common in Asian dishes as well. If you like sweet, check out this Sweet Potato In Ginger Syrup recipe. Good Luck!
posted by willie11 at 2:19 PM on April 14, 2010

Chipotle mashed sweet potatoes are yummy.
posted by cabingirl at 2:19 PM on April 14, 2010

I like sweet potatoes, but very much prefer them in savory/spicy/acidic preperations as opposed to sugar/cinnamon/marshmallow ones, since I tend to think they're sweet enough on their own. These Lime Cilantro Sweet Potatoes are very yummy and very easy. I often use a little minced chipotle instead of the cayenne.
posted by mostlymartha at 2:21 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mmm. I love sweet potatoes and these recipes look delicious. However, if you aren't currently a fan, I recommend easing into them. Cut them up into chunks and throw them into a vegetable soup. It will dilute their sweetness and provide you with just a touch of flavour.

Alternately, you may want to make a mash that is half white potato, half sweet potato. Throw in some butter or cream and lots of salt and pepper and possibly some cajun spice.
posted by valoius at 2:21 PM on April 14, 2010

Is there anything you don't like in particular about sweet potatoes? Texture? The type of sweetness? Anyhow, I had this a while back it it was pretty flippin' delicious:

West African Peanut Soup With Chicken
posted by kkokkodalk at 2:24 PM on April 14, 2010

Oh, whoops, missed the vegetarian part. I bet you can make the soup without chicken just fine though.
posted by kkokkodalk at 2:26 PM on April 14, 2010

I loove baked sweet potatoes topped with butter, salt, and a little brown sugar, and my dad is a huge fan of sweet potato pie. I make it at Thanksgiving in addition to pumpkin pie, and it's usually gone first. The texture of the sweet potato pie is a little... curdier? That's not really the right word, but it's not as perfectly smooth as pumpkin pie.
posted by alynnk at 2:35 PM on April 14, 2010

Sweet potato is amazing in an Indian-style curry. I like to do it up in chunks with cauliflower, onions, and green beans. The sweetness really balances well in curries without being overbearing (like that super gross marshmallow dish).

Also if you've never baked fries with some chilli powder and spices, it's a totally different experience from the plain ones.
posted by shownomercy at 2:39 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I asked a question similar to this one, in case you missed it while searching the archives.

While it's mainly about getting sweet potato fries to work, people threw in tons of other ideas about sweet potato recipes!
posted by SNWidget at 2:46 PM on April 14, 2010

I used to be a sweet potato hater and now I am a liker. Still, I can get overwhelmed by a big pile of sweet potato, so I'd recommend you start with dishes where they're chopped small and mixed with lots of other ingredients, like the curry above or this soup.
posted by serazin at 2:50 PM on April 14, 2010

I love them, but not when they're sweetened; they're already plenty sweet. Roasted, as many mentioned above, with onion chunks, and whole garlic cloves. Or cooked & mashed, in rollups with black beans, rice, and salsa. Or, just like baked potatoes, with butter and/or sour cream. With the sweetness, they're a perfect foil for spicy and/or salty dishes.
posted by theora55 at 2:55 PM on April 14, 2010

Rosemary sweet potato fries. I know you mentioned fries already, but these are an easy oven-baked version. I'm a big fan of savory over sweet, so this one suits me way better than the sugary concoctions sweet potatoes are frequently subjected too.
posted by Diagonalize at 3:08 PM on April 14, 2010

Slice them very thin. Use a mandoline if you have access to one. Go as thin as you can.

Fry them in peanut oil.

Toss these hot chips with a mix of ground cumin, dried cilantro, sea salt, black pepper, and a pinch each of garlic powder and cayenne pepper.

Don't eat them all in one sitting.
posted by kaseijin at 3:16 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's my basic roasted vegetables recipe that works with sweet potatoes. They are also good roasted with Old Bay, if you can get it (easier to find in New England, but, hey).
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:18 PM on April 14, 2010

I don't generally enjoy sweet potatoes, but this Mark Bittman recipe taught me savory sweet potato preparations are tasty:

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans and Chili Dressing

I make this all the time. Sooo goo, filling, and incredibly cheap. The lime, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro kind of makes it taste like guacamole, only minus the avocado.
posted by soleiluna at 3:24 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sweet potato-mushroom risotto
Peel and cut sweet potato into ~1 cm cubes. Chop mushrooms small; I usually just use "baby bellas" but you can use the fancier wild mushrooms if you want more flavor here.
Put sweet potatoes into the pan at same time as the rice.
As you're in the middle of the stirring phase, sautee the mushrooms in a separate frying pan until they are shrunken and crispy. Put the mushroom bits into the risotto juuust before the end of cooking.

Sweet potato- cheddar quesadilla
(Include other stuff you like - chives, cilantro, onion, chipotle, black beans, etc)

Sweet potato is good with chipotle, cayenne, etc.

If you don't mind sweet generally, curry soup:
Chop and roast 2-3 sweet potatoes. Chop onions and sautee in a pot, add roasted s.p.', add a good dollop of Thai red curry paste (I just use jarred kind), and a can of coconut milk. Warm to combine, then puree in a food processor.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:26 PM on April 14, 2010

Seconding LobsterMitten's quesadilla. I make them with two oven-toasted flour tortillas, lots of mashed sweet potatoes, shredded cheddar, and strips of turkey, and serve with cranberry jelly (simple recipe from the Boston Globe at some point). They are also good leftover, and the leftovers don't last long at all! Very easy.
posted by theredpen at 3:42 PM on April 14, 2010

Mashed sweet potatoes with fresh basil are a hit everytime I bring them to a dinner, and they are super simple to make. The garlic in them deepens and gives substance to the sweet potatoes, and the fresh peppery taste of the basil adds a lightening contrast.

Peel and cut into large chunks the sweet potatoes, boil with a half or whole peeled onions, depending on how many potatoes you are cooking (this gives depth of flavor and cuts the sharp sweetness). When done, drain most of the water, use the rest to blend/mash the SPs. You can add milk, or cream, or whatever other addition you would normally use for regular mashed potatoes. At this point, add garlic powder to taste. Make sure this is done when the SPs are still hot because the heat will cook the powder and makes it's flavor deeper and not bitter. It's probably better to err on the side of too much rather than not enough garlic here.

Take a big handful of basil leaves and mix them into the mash. You don't want to cut them up too fine, as doing this dilutes and weakens the flavor of green herbs. A very rough chiffonade is fine, or even just cutting the larger leaves in half.

This is endlessly adaptable, as you can also substitute cilantro for the basil, or you can continue to add milk/cooking water and make it into a rich soup instead of a mash. I once did this recipe, ate it as mash one day, then added some more liquid to have as a soup with some mini goat cheese raviolis thrown in, then used that soup (without raviolis) to add to a risotto which I then topped with crispy fried prosciutto.
Sweet potatoes can be heavenly.
posted by newpotato at 3:42 PM on April 14, 2010

sweet potato pancakes e.g. potato pancakes made with sweet potatoes. yum
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:47 PM on April 14, 2010

I usually just cut them into wedges, toss them in a bit of oil, cover them with a sprinkling of herbs and bake them. I vary what I add but fennel is pretty good. Serve with sour cream and maybe some salad. Awesome, but really easy to make.
posted by jonesor at 4:40 PM on April 14, 2010

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup
posted by kbuxton at 5:13 PM on April 14, 2010

Quinoa with Sweet Potato

This might be light enough on the sweet potato flavor that it doesnt overpower the dish and you can enjoy it as one small part of the total mix of flavor. This recipe is also very flexible. We sub canned mushroom pieces sometimes or a dash of red pepper instead of the cayenne. It's even better reheated the next day.
posted by prettymightyflighty at 5:58 PM on April 14, 2010

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

I make a different salsa verde (tomatillos, onion, cilantro, jalapeƱos) to go over the top, but the sweet potato black bean filling from that link is delicious!
posted by toodles at 6:40 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Y'all are awesome! I marked a couple best answers that are definitely on my "to make" list, but there are a lot of other recipes that look good. I made the Lime Cilantro Sweet Potatoes mostlymartha suggested to go with the tempeh bbq I made for dinner, and I thought they were great. I think taking them in a more savory/spicy direction is what did it for me, but I think I'll try sweet potato pie too.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 6:45 PM on April 14, 2010

A squeeze of sweet lime, simple and tasty.
posted by hortense at 6:49 PM on April 14, 2010

Oh, just pop on the outdoor grill like you would a regular baked potato. Sooo much better than the oven or the microwave at charcoal temperatures.

Then top with plain greek yogurt and chives. Or greek yogurt and salt and pepper and oregano. Or greek yogurt and fresh dill. Or butter and salt.

Or go butter and cinnamon and nutmeg- treat it as you would a pumpkin or apple pie filling.

All delicious.
posted by slateyness at 6:58 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Spicy sweet potatoes with lime-yogurt sauce. So good. If you don't like cilantro, substitute mint (excellent). I recommend draining the yogurt for half an hour or so before combining with the other ingredients, or it gets a bit watery.
posted by Lexica at 7:35 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you tried them roasted with a curry mayonnaise? Min linked to Bengali Squash recipe in a question I asked awhile ago and, its just as good with sweet potatoes. Cube it like you would the squash then follow the rest of the recipe.
posted by squeak at 8:36 PM on April 14, 2010

You can also grill sweet potatoes by cutting them into 3/4-1" thick rounds, coating both sides with olive oil, then grilling. This cuts grill time to 5 min per side. Grilled sweet potatoes are yummy.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:00 PM on April 14, 2010

It sounds a little bizarre, but sweet potato quesadillas are a huge hit at our house. Peel the potato, chunk it up, and boil (or microwave) until soft. Mash with a fork, maybe adding some cumin, garlic, and cayenne. Spread onto a tortilla, top with with cheddar cheese and black beans. Add another tortilla, cook in hot skillet. Half of this is more than enough for supper for one person, but it reheats surprisingly well--I sometimes eat leftovers for breakfast, reheating them in the microwave at work.
posted by MeghanC at 10:24 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos are addictive.
posted by KathyK at 6:05 AM on April 15, 2010

sweet potato gnocchi
posted by kenbennedy at 8:47 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

If the sweetness is what normally turns you off, anything tangy will give it a nice balance. I always put sour cream in my mashed sweet potatoes. Yogurt would provide a similar taste. Lemon juice was also mentioned, and that would work, but personally I like the combination of tangy and creamy added by sour cream or yogurt.
posted by spinto at 9:26 AM on April 15, 2010

If you like spicy curry soups, like Vietnamese green coconut curry soup for example, you can make fantastic sweet potato stew that has a similar flavor. There are lots of versions on the internet it turns out, but the one that got me hooked I found right here on AskMe from special-k. So good, so spicy.
posted by ifjuly at 10:32 AM on April 15, 2010

And I also agree with gnocchi or similar things that are pretty much mashed spiced sweet potato in dumpling form with some good herbs (hello rosemary) in a sauce or straight-sprinkled on top.
posted by ifjuly at 10:33 AM on April 15, 2010

Oh god make this make this make this :

posted by frankdrebin at 1:49 PM on April 15, 2010

I did this recently with batata, but it should work with sweet potato. Peel, cut into even pieces, bake at 350 until soft (in a little oil or butter), then make like mashed potatoes but with sweetened condensed milk and regular milk until just the right level of sweet and mixed. Then put in containers, top with strawberries, and bake until the strawberries are cooked and caramelized.
posted by ydant at 6:52 PM on April 15, 2010

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