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Sweet potatoes are, you guessed it, sweet! But that doesn’t mean they can’t pack a savory punch as an addition to any meal. They are rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, high in fiber, and can be prepared in lots of ways!
Did you know: Sweet potatoes are often called “yams” in parts of North America, but yams and sweet potatoes are two completely different species! Sweet potatoes originated in North America from as far back as the 1600s, but usually were white or yellow in color.
In the 1930s, a new orange color sweet potato was cultivated. Farmers took the word “yam” from the West African “nyami,” which African slaves called sweet potatoes in remembrance of a starchy, shelf sturdy rhizome vegetable from their homeland. In all likelihood, the candied “yams” you eat on holidays are, in fact, sweet potatoes!
Sweet potatoes can be used in desserts, as fries, as a replacement for baked potatoes with a good steak, and much more! Read on for some great cooking ideas…
So What Kind of Spices Go Well with Sweet Potatoes?
- Cinnamon – Ceylon, Saigon, Cassia
- Ground Allspice
- Garlic – Powder, Granulated, Minced
- Ginger Powder
- Chili Flakes
- Paprika – Sweet, Smoked
- Nutmeg – Whole, Powder
- Cardamom Powder
- Coriander Powder
- Cumin Powder
- Grains of Paradise: A rare spice related to cardamom with a peppery flavor. Often used in Moroccan cooking.
- Black Malabar Pepper
- Ancho Pepper Powder: Sun dried poblano pepper with a mild to medium heat.
- Bird’s Eye Chili Powder: Not for the faint of heart! Flavorful with a heat level of about 150,000 Scoville units!
- Cayenne Powder
Traditional and Special Seasonings for Sweet Potatoes
- Baharat*: An aromatic salt-free blend of paprika, black pepper, cardamom, clove, coriander, ginger, cinnamon and allspice.
- Buffy’s Slayer Helper: All organic blend of minced garlic, garlic granules, garlic powder, chili flakes, parsley, sea salt, and basil.
- Ethiopian Berbere: Spicy and sweet blend of classic warming spices and peppers along with sea salt, turmeric and black pepper. Check out our recipe for Sweet Potato Berbere Stew.
- Humboldt Sazón: This sazón has no MSG! But it does have sea salt, black pepper, white pepper, cumin, garlic, onion, coriander, oregano, and annatto (for color)
- Piri Piri*: An authentic blend of garlic, aleppo, mustard, paprika, black pepper, piri piri pepper, and white pepper.
- La Dulce Vita: Translating to “The Good Life” in Italian, this is a spicy salty, sweet blend with salt, evaporated cane sugar, fennel, garlic, black pepper, basil, coriander, and bird’s eye chili.
- Veggie Sprinkle: Lemon zest, garlic, green peppercorns, grey salt, summer savory, sesame seed, Herbs de Provence, celery seed, and ginger.
- Ras El Hanout: A blend of 26 spices that includes floral notes of rose, lavender and hibiscus. A staple of Moroccan cooking.
- Mrs. Pinch Seasoning*: All organic and salt free, minced onion, coriander, granulated onion, celery seed, sumac, onion powder, dill weed, black pepper, and dill seed.
- Honey Chipotle BBQ: (not vegan) This blend of dehydrated honey, chipotle, sweet and smoked paprika, salt, garlic, onion and pepper gives a sweet and smoky kick to sweet potatoes.
- Baker’s Pie Spice Bundle – 3 Pack: Contains three great baking blends of It’s Just Peachy, Pumpkin Pie Spice, and Apple Pie Spice.
*Salt-less spice blend!
Tastiest Ways to Cook Sweet Potatoes
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray or brush with oil. Place thoroughly washed and dried sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and pierce with a fork or knife, carefully, about 6-10 times.
In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tablespoons of oil, salt, pepper, and one to two teaspoons of your desired seasoning. Brush each potato with the oil mixture, then put the baking sheet in an oven preheated to 425 degrees.
Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate sheet 180 degrees and bake for 15-30 minutes depending on the size of your sweet potatoes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut washed sweet potatoes into one inch cubes. (Peeling is optional, but I suggest cutting off the woody ends.) Cook potatoes until tender, approximately 20-30 minutes.
Drain water and add back into the pan. Add ⅓ cup milk (dairy or plant based,) and ¼ cup butter (again, dairy or plant based.) Add salt, pepper, and any of the seasonings listed above! You can also add a liquid sweetener, such as honey, agave, or maple syrup, or some brown sugar or coconut sugar as well!
Cut washed sweet potatoes into matchstick fries. In a large pot with salted water, add the fries and bring to a boil, then cut heat down to medium low and cook until pliable but not soft. Approximately 10 minutes.
Create a batter of 1 Tablespoon water and 1 Tablespoon cornstarch for each potato you are frying. Deep fat fry at 325-350 degrees on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until crisp. Drain the fries and season with your favorite seasoning!
Slice sweet potatoes into slices about 1 inch thick. Add to a heated sauté pan or iron skillet with a bit of olive oil and sauté on medium high heat for 10 minutes or until golden and soft.
This is my favorite way to make a bunch of prepped sweet potatoes for recipes like my Sweet Potato Pie Overnight Oats!
Wash sweet potatoes and place on a wire rack in your pressure cooker. Add 1 cup of water, and pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. Quick release and let cool. I like to keep these in the fridge for a quick “baked” sweet potato, “mashed” sweet potato, add it to a burrito, or any number of quick meals!
All this takes is a bit of prep of cutting your sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Place in the bottom of your slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Pierce a washed and dried sweet potato with a fork 6-7 times. Microwave on a microwave-safe plate for 5-8 minutes. If you don’t have a rotating plate in your microwave, rotate halfway through cooking.
Cut washed and dried sweet potatoes into equal sized cubes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Toss diced sweet potatoes with 2 Tablespoons oil and 2 teaspoons seasoning along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Roast at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes. This recipe for Roasted Veggie & Quinoa Meal Prep is a great way to use this method!
Wash and dry sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with 2 Tablespoons oil, 2 teaspoons seasoning of your choice, and salt and pepper. Gently transfer the sweet potatoes into a greased air fryer basket and air fry at 100 degrees for 20 minutes, making sure to toss or stir halfway through cooking.
You can do so much more with sweet potatoes than pies and fries! Try any combination of these cooking methods and spices for an offbeat treat!