Sweet potatoes

Call me crazy, but on Thanksgiving, I think sweet potatoes should appear in at least two side dishes. Sweet potatoes are just that good. The bright-hued root veggie is amazing in salty, spiced dishes, and, quite miraculously, in sweet recipes, too.

If you’re still pondering how to prepare your sweet potatoes this year, take a look at the three following recipes for sweet potatoes. Each dish is unique and full of tasty (and healthy) Thanksgiving dinner-worthy ingredients.

1. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Macadamia Nuts (via Whole Foods Market)

The following recipe is super simple. It calls for the use of classic, fall flavors (fig, maple syrup and pomegranate) and the tasty macadamia nut:

Ingredients

1/4 cup macadamia nuts

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for the dish

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Ground black pepper to taste

1/2 tablespoon fig or pomegranate balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Method

“Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread macadamia nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from oven, cool and chop. Increase oven temperature to 400°F.

Oil a baking dish. Cut sweet potatoes lengthwise into wedges and toss them in the baking dish with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.

When potatoes are done, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.

Whisk together remaining oil with vinegar, maple syrup and mustard. Drizzle over sweet potatoes and garnish with toasted macadamia nuts.”

Yield: 4 servings (if you’re expecting a big crowd, I’d at the very least double this recipe.)

2. Smashed Spiced Sweet Potatoes (via EatingWell, October/November 2005)

I’d fill my plate with mashed sweet potatoes over boring, “regular” mashed potatoes any day:

Ingredients

4 pounds sweet potatoes, (4-5 large)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground (see tip)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Method

“Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pierce each sweet potato in several places with a fork. Place directly on the oven rack and roast until soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to a cutting board; let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Slip off the skins and cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch slices; transfer to a large bowl. Add butter. Smash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or fork until fluffy but some lumps remain. Add maple syrup, chili powder, ground cumin, ginger, salt and pepper; stir to combine.”

Tip

“Toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Grind in a spice mill or blender into a fine powder.”

Yield: 12, 1/2 cup servings

3. Ana’s Sweet Potato Ginger Parfaits (via Huffington Post)

If you want to step away from the traditional sweet potato pie, give this sweet, sweet potato treat a try:

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes, at 1 lb. each

2 tablespoons organic brown sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk

1 tablespoon organic blue agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

8 ounces softened lo-fat organic cream cheese

8 ounces vanilla non-fat organic yogurt

2 tablespoons organic honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 tablespoon Cointreau liqueur (optional)

1/3 cup crushed ginger crisp cookies

Method

“Roast the sweet potatoes in a 375 degree oven until soft, about 45 minutes. While still warm, scoop out insides; put in food processor, add brown sugar, and puree until sugar has melted, about 30 seconds. Add soy milk, agave nectar, and cinnamon, and puree until smooth and light, about 1 minute. Transfer to bowl, fold in ginger, let cool to room temperature.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, yogurt, honey, vanilla, orange zest and Cointreau; beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Divide half the sweet potato mixture among four 8-ounce parfait glasses, sprinkle a half-tablespoon of ginger crumbs over each. Divide half the cream cheese mixture among the glasses, and sprinkle another layer of crumbs. Repeat again with a layer of each, and end with a slight sprinkle of crumbs on the top. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.”

Yield: 4 (again: big crowd? Double it!)

If these sweet potato recipes sound blah, give the following sweet potato centric articles a read:

“Salute to the Spud: 16 Delicious Sweet Potato Recipes”

“Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup: Thanksgiving Round 2″

Image: Stacy Spensley