Spotlight on Sweet Potatoes

Forget butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon as the only toppings for sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be a quick, easy, and filling lunch, and they are surprisingly versatile. Below are some of my favorite, out of the box accoutrements for a baked sweet potato. I know some of them may seem rather peculiar, but just give them a chance and I promise that you will be pleasantly surprised! Also, a lot of people have been asking me recently how I have so much time to cook during the school year. It’s all about finding shortcuts and planning. If you microwave the sweet potato for 6 minutes or so, depending on the size (make sure you pierce it first or it WILL explode, trust me) or bake a few ahead of time for the week, these recipes (except for the last one) will take 10 minutes or less, including clean-up – promise!

1. Almond Butter

Shown here with almond butter, shredded coconut, and cinnamon. Also try dried fruit (my favorite is dried cherries!)

Shown here with almond butter, shredded coconut, and cinnamon. Also try dried fruit (my new favorite is dried cherries!).

2. Guacamole

Shown here with homemade guacamole* and crushed tortilla chips. Also try black beans, peppers, and cheese.

Shown here with homemade guacamole and crushed tortilla chips. Also try black beans, peppers, and cheese.

**For easy homemade guacamole, mix William Sonoma Guacamole Starter or tomatillo salsa with fresh avocados** 

3. Loaded Breakfast Style

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Shown here with arugula, yellow cherry tomatoes, sunny side up egg, rosemary, lemon pepper, and cayenne pepper.

4. Hummus

Shown here with one of my favorite hummuses (...hummi?), TJ Three Layer Hummus - it has roasted red pepper, traditional, and cilantro. Also great with fresh veggies and pita chips!

Shown here with one of my favorite hummuses (…hummi?), TJ Three Layer Hummus – it has roasted red pepper, traditional, and cilantro. Also great with fresh veggies and pita chips for dipping!

5. Curried Sweet Potato

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Shown here with Greek yogurt (instead of mayo), curry, and cilantro, dried cherries, and walnuts. To really infuse the flavor, scoop out the sweet potato flesh and mix thoroughly with yogurt/mayo and spices (a little goes a long way – I used just a tablespoon or so of yogurt), then top with dried fruit and nuts.

6. “Fries”

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The secret to crispy oven baked “fries” is to soak the cut sweet potatoes in water for 30 minutes or more (even overnight!). Then, in a plastic bag put your choice spices (I used rosemary and cayenne pepper) and 1 tbsp of cornstarch or flour per whole potato used. Shake the fries until lightly coated and place on a nonstick baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over them and bake at 425F for 15-25 minutes, or until golden brown, and flip them about halfway through.

I served these with black bean burgers from the blog of my favorite trainer/singer/master chef, Megan Conner. For the recipe, check out her awesome blog here! The only change to the recipe I made was that I used black rice instead of red quinoa because that’s what I had in my pantry. Shout out to my PR/chef partner-in-crime, Julia Gabriel, for helping me out with these – warning these are difficult to make, but so worth it!
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Shown here on a bed of arugula, topped with with avocado, BBQ sauce and honey mustard, which is also great together for dipping the fries (yes, together – don’t knock it til you try it!).

I hope y’all enjoy trying some of these new variations of sweet potatoes, and let me know if you have any cool ones of your own!

Fun fact - sweet potatoes are a healthy, human snack for dogs. And this one sure seemed to enjoy it!

Fun fact – sweet potatoes are a healthy, human snack for dogs. And this one sure seemed to enjoy it!

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