Help us fall in love with sweet potatoes!
October 7, 2017 12:33 PM   Subscribe

We're getting lots of sweet potatoes in our farmbox. Unfortunately, neither of us likes them very much and they go unused. Help us find a recipe that will make us want to eat them! Levels of difficulty: vegetarian, corn allergy (corn includes distilled or white vinegar). A few details inside.

I know there must be a recipe out there that we will love; I absolutely loathed summer squash until my partner found The Recipe and now we actually use the summer squash in our box.

All of the recipes we come across basically treat the sweet potato as the carb equivalent to Tofurkey: a less satisfying but more nutritional replacement for the potato. (Note: I'm a vegetarian, there's plenty of non-meat protein sources I like, but Tofurkey is not among them.) We have tried sweet potato oven fries, but they are not crispy and seem to be primarily a ketchup transfer mechanism. We've tried baked sweet potatoes - again, it's a condiment transfer mechanism but a less effective one than a russet potato would be.

If you have a recipe that made you love sweet potatoes (and didn't make you think "This is OK, but it would be really good if it were only made with a regular potato!"), please share!
posted by rednikki to Food & Drink (58 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Are there any dogs in your life? Sweet potato dog chews.

Have you tried roasting them?
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:43 PM on October 7, 2017

Use the sweetness to an advantage, goes great in curries, and other rice based dishes to contrast more savory flavors.

Sprinkle a little sugar on your sweet potato fries instead.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:44 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Simple roasting. Cut into cubes, accompanied with with whatever, cabbage, , broccoli, carrots, parsnip, "regular" potatoes, onions. Season as you like. Salt and pepper, or course. EVOO and balsamic. Curry powder, ginger and soy. We eat lots of sweet potatoes and I just make it up as I go, based on what's in the kitchen. 40 minutes, uncovered at 375-400F.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:44 PM on October 7, 2017 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I haven't made this in ages because it's a bit of a pain to make for just myself but it's good and different (especially with good/sweet sweet potatoes): African Chickpea Stew. I think I started adding some lemon juice too, and sometimes increase the amount of spice mixture. Apologies for the quasi-self-link, I try to store recipes online like that because sometimes the originals get deleted.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:45 PM on October 7, 2017 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Here is a recipe by the Minimalist Baker that really, really capitalizes on the flavor and texture of sweet potatoes. It would not be nearly as good with a regular potato. It's delicious, hearty, and vegan.
posted by Hellgirl at 12:50 PM on October 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Use them as the topping in a lentil based veggie shepherd's pie. Ftom memory the BBC has a good recipe for this.
posted by biffa at 12:51 PM on October 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Sweet potato works well with Tex Mex flavors. Some ideas: sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, guacamole and black bean loaded sweet potatoes, sweet potato huevos rancheros nachos.
posted by neushoorn at 12:53 PM on October 7, 2017 [16 favorites]

Sweet potato pie is preferable to pumpkin in my opinion. I like it with a graham cracker crust.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 12:56 PM on October 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I never used to like sweet potatoes, but have found that I like them when mixed with other vegetables. I like a mix of root vegetables cut into small cubes (sometimes including quartered brussels sprouts.) I spread them out on a pan, put some butter and olive oil on them, sometimes add some Dijon mustard, add salt and pepper and roast at 375-400F for an hour, stirring and turning them every 15 or 20 minutes.
posted by Redstart at 1:09 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Do you like sweet/salty stuff? Top your oven-baked sweet potato with vegan butter, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:16 PM on October 7, 2017

Best answer: This recipe, for braised coconut spinach and chick peas with lemon, is served in a roasted sweet potato and is one of my favorite recipes ever. I like sweet potatoes more than regular ones, though.
posted by deus ex machina at 1:20 PM on October 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Following on neushoorn's suggestion, I swear by this sweet potato/black bean chili.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 1:28 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I really like them in a Thai style green curry. Even better paired with sugar snap peas and bell peppers.

Cube and steam and then mix with celery, spring onions (scallions for you?), red bell pepper, rocket, parsley, feta and honey and mustard dressing for a delicious semi warm salad.
posted by kadia_a at 1:32 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This nutty sweet potato soup from Ellie Krieger is fabulous-rich tasting, healthy, flavorful and simple.

I don’t think of it as tasting much like sweet potatoes-more a complex medley, with the tomatoes and peanut butter. Vegan to boot, though you’d never guess.
posted by purenitrous at 1:34 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Try the sweet potato fries again, but this time:
Preheat the oven to 425. Cut the sweet potatoes into strips about the width of your pinky. Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil and coat well with a high heat oil, add fries and toss. In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder to taste. Add to fries along with salt and pepper, tosss to coat. Bake until fries are sizzling, soft in the center and brown on the outside. If you desire them to be even more well done, put on broiler mode for a minute or two keeping a close eye on them. Voila, southwestern sweet potato fries are yours.
If you like hummus, you can sub sweet potato for pumpkin in this pumpkin hummus recipe.
On that note, if you like pumpkin, you can substitute the same amount of sweet potato in any recipe.
posted by Champagne Supernova at 2:02 PM on October 7, 2017

Best answer: the only thing I do with sweet potatoes is this:

1. wash thoroughly. while wet, wrap in foil (ok to wrap several in same package.) put the package on a baking sheet or pan, because otherwise there will be impossible-to-clean caramel drips.

2. bake, 350 or so, wrapped, for 2+ hours. Yes, that long. Remove and let cool for a while before you touch them.

3. What you will find is that the yam is deeply, deeply roasted, squishy-soft, with liquid caramel pooled below. The steam from the moisture it went in with will make the peel fall right off. Remove the peel and plop the pulp in a bowl. Mix it up - all you'll need is a fork - with some orange juice concentrate or lemon juice, and some vanilla and salt. (I sometimes use no vanilla, and garlic salt instead of salt.) Pumpkin pie type spices are optional; I like nutmeg.

It is the most amazing tasting puree. You will not believe there is no added sugar. Try it.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:21 PM on October 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I love these sweet potato rounds with goat cheese and pecans and eat them constantly through the fall.
posted by Saminal at 2:25 PM on October 7, 2017

Best answer: A recent Cook's Illustrated had a new "Best Baked Sweet Potatoes" recipe base on their research that "Producing baked sweet potatoes with creamy, deeply flavorful interiors wasn’t just about cooking the spuds to a particular temperature (200 degrees or so). We discovered that we needed to hold them at that temperature for about an hour, which allowed time for the cell walls to break down, starches to gelatinize, and moisture to evaporate so that flavor concentrated?"

You can do that by baking 2-3 hours, but it can be reduced to 1 hour with microwaving them first. Here's the recipe:

  • Oven 425 degrees with rack in middle position.
  • Put foil on baking sheet and put wire rack on top. Use vegetable oil spray on rack.
  • Put potatoes on large plate and microwave 6 to 9 minutes (turning every 3 minutes) until they are slightly soft and the centers register to 200 degrees.
  • Transfer potatoes to rack with tongs and bake for 1 hour (potatoes will be lightly browned and feel very soft).
  • Slit the potatoes lengthwise, and using a towel so you won’t get burned, squeeze to push the cooked potato up and out.
  • Season with salt and pepper. (You really don't need butter or other seasoning when cooked like this).

  • (Here's the recipe on Cook's Illustrated, but it's a pay site)
    posted by ShooBoo at 2:33 PM on October 7, 2017 [7 favorites]

    Roast or microwave whole, like a potato (prick skin first). Halve and top with chili, salsa, and guacamole. It's the perfect combination of savory and sweet.
    posted by delight at 2:34 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: I use them like a squash or carrot, not like a potato. This eliminates the “I know potato, and you’re no potato” issue.
    posted by kapers at 2:37 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: This soup is the primary was I eat sweet potato, kale, or sausage. So good.

    My husband makes it and substitutes a milk/half-an-half mixture for the heavy cream...still rich and lovely.
    posted by Tandem Affinity at 2:45 PM on October 7, 2017

    We often have a glut of sweet potatoes. We actually just finished last years crop.

    My favorite flavors with sweet potato are goat cheese and green chile. Mashed sweet potatoes with goat cheese and green chile are a go-to side for southwest or tex-mex fare around our house. We cook the potatoes in the Instant-Pot and mash everything to taste with a little salt and butter. I feel like this plays up the sweet potato strengths.

    Similar, we sometimes do sweet potato and goat cheese quesadillas. grated sweet potato, goat cheese and whatever other veggies are around (and probably some green chile.)

    I also really like them roasted with a hash. Soyrizo is like the only faux-meat I've ever liked and it's amazing scrambled up with some roasted sweet potato cubes, eggs, roasted red peppers and cheese.
    posted by piedmont at 2:49 PM on October 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

    I hate them too, except for very occasionally when they appear in a terrific stew (also vegetarian here) with a bunch of other things, or when they come in crispy deep-fried fry format from a food truck called "The Sweet Potato," which makes its own dips: a ranch-based one, a chipotle-based one, and a coconut curry one.

    The crisp, thin, deep-fried sweet potato fries are excellent with just a little salt -- I would quit messing with the oven and get out the oil -- and you say they're a condiment vehicle like that's a problem! I submit that this means you are using inferior condiments, as loads of American foodstuffs are condiment vehicles, and quite good at what they do...
    posted by kmennie at 3:02 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: I love this raw beet and sweet potato salad with creamy garlic lime dressing. Crumble some goat or feta cheese over the top to make it even better. I leave the pepitas off because don't think they add anything to it.
    posted by BoscosMom at 3:19 PM on October 7, 2017

    Oops, here's the recipe for the dressing.
    posted by BoscosMom at 3:23 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: This recipe for sweet potatoes with goat cheese and olives is magically good!
    posted by bluebird at 3:43 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: Roasted sweet potatoes. We cut them into wedges & just toss in olive oil and roast in the oven until they are golden brown on the outside. Serve with sour cream & sweet chilli sauce. We do this with a selection of pumpkin, sweet potato & regular potatoes.

    Sweet potato & coconut soup is great too.

    Sweet potato is amazing in curries.

    Sweet potato goes great with a huge range of asian flavors and is delicious in tempura.
    posted by wwax at 4:04 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: I looooove this caramelized sweet potato and red onion braid!

    Maybe you could try this sweet potato and black bean hash without the corn?
    posted by kittydelsol at 4:23 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: This Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Spinach Curry has turned out really well each time I've made it.

    Gordon Ramsay's Sweet Potato Frittata with Tomato Salsa has also turned out awesome each time.

    I've also enjoyed doing a baked sweet potato with black beans and spinach. The black beans temper the sweetness really well.
    posted by belau at 4:25 PM on October 7, 2017

    I like them baked, with vegan 'butter', a bit of pepper, and plenty of salt. Many recipes add sugar, but they're already quite sweet.
    I often roast one in the microwave and make wraps with scrambled egg, black beans, maybe some rice, and salsa.

    Do you like roasted butternut squash? They're very similar; maybe roast a mix sweet potatoes and squash. Or roast with white potatoes, dousing with hot sauce, like buffalo wings.
    posted by theora55 at 4:52 PM on October 7, 2017

    I like them with peanut butter and salsa. And also with onion, cumin, and black beans.
    posted by metasarah at 5:01 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: This Miso Sweet Potato & Broccoli Bowl is amazing. Its the miso-sesame sauce/dressing that makes it. You don't even need the grain. Or the broccoli. The salty savory sauce perfectly counters the sweetness of the potatoes. (Thanks ulfberht!)
    posted by dogmom at 5:05 PM on October 7, 2017

    You can also use cooked, mashed sweet potato in baked goods. I have a cake recipe that calls for some mashed potato and I sometimes use sweet potato or squash instead. The cake just tastes like cake, not like any kind of vegetable. If you search things like "sweet potato cake" or "potato chocolate cake" or "sweet potato bread" you'll see lots of possibilities.
    posted by Redstart at 5:08 PM on October 7, 2017

    One tip for roasting/fries mentioned above in passing: cut into cubes (or skinny fries, but cubes works better for me). More surface area, less volume crisps up better. You can't leave them in big steak-fry-like lumps like you can a potato.
    posted by troyer at 5:11 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: This sweet potato dahl-like stew is one of my very favorites. I'll eat it for lunch every day for a week.
    posted by hydropsyche at 5:58 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: Sweet potato (flour) pancakes:

    For actual sweet potatoes, sweet potato latkes or au gratin sweet potatoes ( may convert you. I haven't always like their texture and for me something like a goat cheese or sour cream rounds out the starchy sweet.

    I am not where my recipe book is but I have a sweet potato focaccia recipe to die for that has potatoes in the dough as well as on top. Memail me if you would like it and I'll type it out; it's from a local spa/retreat centre.
    posted by warriorqueen at 6:07 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: I do tex-mex filling for enchiladas or tostadas. I microwave (or roast) a sweet potato, scoop out the flesh, mash it with half a ripe avocado, add black beans, salsa, green onion, cumin, salt & lime juice. Sometimes i put cheese on the top . delicious.
    posted by ceramicblue at 7:34 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: I make this recipe with soyrizo and it's sooo good. Budget bytes has a few other sweet potato + chorizo recipes (enchiladas, chilis, etc) that are all really good, I think the sweetness of the potato goes really well with the chorizo (or soyrizo).
    posted by jouir at 7:38 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: I recently made sweet potato hummus loosely based on this recipe and it was really tasty.
    posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:50 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: Mashed. With lots of cream and butter.

    In this soup.
    posted by jeffamaphone at 7:52 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: I'm not much of a sweet potato guy, either, but I've made this a couple of times and really like it:
    posted by bricoleur at 8:21 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: This recipe for sweet potato gratin with chipotle cream sauce is incredible. This balance of hot and sweet will bowl you over. I took it to a family Thanksgiving and it went SO FAST and everyone asked for the recipe.
    posted by janey47 at 8:24 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: Mark Bittman's stir fried sweet potatoes are always great. Spicy soy sauce version. Browned butter and sage version.
    posted by maudlin at 9:43 PM on October 7, 2017

    Best answer: My mom bakes sweet potatoes and apples together and it's quite good. It's not something that would work with just regular potatoes either.

    I don't have the recipe on-hand, but you could look around for one that sounded good to you. This one from Bon Appetit sounds similar to what she does.
    posted by colfax at 1:45 AM on October 8, 2017

    I make pumpkin bread out of them. Just substitute cooked mashed sweet potatoes for canned pumpkin.
    posted by chainsofreedom at 6:42 AM on October 8, 2017

    Best answer: Seconding using them like carrots. This recipe for carrots with cumin and turmeric is an example of the sort of thing I'd absolutely do with a sweet potato too.
    posted by nebulawindphone at 7:45 AM on October 8, 2017

    They're good in a frittata.
    posted by flabdablet at 7:47 AM on October 8, 2017

    Best answer: Alton Brown's chipotle smashed sweet potato is incredible. The secret is steaming them.
    posted by General Malaise at 1:26 PM on October 8, 2017

    Best answer: My favorite sweet potato dish is probably a West African-style peanut stew; my recipe has chicken and chicken stock, but here's a pretty similar one that's vegan. I'd suggest using peanut oil instead of vegetable, if you have it, and chopped tomatoes instead of tomato paste. I also usually add some chopped okra (frozen works fine here), and a little bit of coriander, turmeric, and cayenne along with the cumin. It's good served on rice, especially topped with chopped cilantro and scallions.

    A good breakfast-style sweet potato hash with fried eggs and cheddar and/or sour cream on top is also tasty--I like to make it with chopped chipotles in adobo sauce, or a chipotle-based hot sauce.

    Also, sweet potato (or mixed sweet & regular potato) latkes are really good.
    posted by karayel at 3:40 PM on October 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: Roast bite size pieces of sweet potato until soft but not too soft. Toss with puy lentils and roughly chopped Sicilian olives and a bit of thinly sliced red onion. Add some toasted cumin seeds, pomegranate molasses and a bit of lemon juice.
    posted by the duck by the oboe at 4:27 PM on October 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: Smitten Kitchen's chard and sweet potato gratin is far from quick and easy, but it's so worth it. So delicious!
    posted by daisyace at 6:30 PM on October 8, 2017

    Best answer: The BEST SWEET POTATO RECIPE EVER (In my obviously humble opinion) is something that was served at every potluck I ever attended growing up in the south. It uses the sweet potato as a dessert, the way the Good Lord intended (another v humble opinion.) I searched Google, and this is the closest thing I could find: Paula Deen's Sweet Potato Bake BUT you also put a layer of mini marshmallows on the top and they get toasted and melty.

    It's literally one of my favorite desserts ever. I promise, it is so good. "Sweet potatoes" and "pepper and salt" do not belong in the same sentence.
    posted by quiet_musings at 8:20 PM on October 8, 2017

    Best answer: I just made "Eggs in a Nest" for this week's breakfasts. Just leave off the bacon. I'm pairing them with avocado and tomato.

    Also, sweet potatoes can be 'spiralized' and used in NomNomPaleo's Crispy Swoodles recipe (again, leave off the bacon) or as noodles in something like a pad thai dish.
    posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 9:51 PM on October 8, 2017

    Best answer: I made this for a dinner party recently and it was a huge hit, and definitely would not have been as good with regular potatoes.

    The savoury of the sage and the garlic contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the potatoes, which is mellowed by the cream. It's a bit calorie dense for every day for me, but feel it would be worth trying as a way to fall in love with the sweet potato!
    posted by Dwardles at 3:21 AM on October 9, 2017

    I prefer sweet potato fries to regular fries as long as they are crispy. A limp sweet potato fry is just sad. So, cook them longer and be prepared to pull the smaller ones out before they burn while leaving the larger ones in. My favorite restaurant dish that uses sweet potatoes is a massaman curry that has half white and half sweet potatoes.

    Last Thankgiving, I did a sweet potato dish by grating them and mixing with an onion/garlic slurry with lots of thyme and rosemary. Again, the baking time is a lot longer than a standard potato. If I do a similar thing this year, I will try to pre-microwave trick from above.
    posted by soelo at 8:43 AM on October 9, 2017

    Best answer: Similar to quiet_musings suggestion, I make this sweet potato dish for Thanksgiving and so many people have told me that they don't normally like sweet potatoes, but they love this. I had half a box of gingersnaps leftover from another recipe once, and crushed them up as a part of the streusel topping. Now I do that every time, but otherwise, I follow the recipe as written.

    My dad hates sweet potatoes (and most vegetables) with a passion, but he goes back for seconds on this.
    posted by terilou at 10:34 AM on October 9, 2017

    Response by poster: Thanks everyone! We'll be working our way through these recipes for ages to come. We've already found one winner! There's been so many good recipes posted part of me feels like I should leave this open just so more can go up.
    posted by rednikki at 9:57 PM on October 10, 2017

    I'm not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but really enjoy them topped with something like this:

    * can of black beans
    * bunch of greens (mix of chard and baby kale, I think)
    * half a jar (or more or less) of salsa
    * loads of green onions and cilantro on top, with a good squeeze of lime

    Just cook all the above together and put it on top of the baked sweet potato. Really good.
    posted by kristi at 9:35 AM on October 11, 2017

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