Need a new way to serve sweet potatoes that'll have everyone gobbling up their portions and asking for more? Look no further!
Why Your Normal Sweet Potatoes Suck
I spent years eating ho-hum sweet potatoes, always wondering why they tasted bland (not sweet like their name implied) and needed tons of toppings.
Well, it turns out several factors come into play to affect the final flavor:
- the variety of sweet potatoes you choose
- how fresh they are (local & in-season taste the best)
- how you cook them
Through trial and error, I discovered that sweet potatoes taste the best when they're slow-roasted in the oven. This method helps to bring out their natural sugars and give the sweet potatoes a ton of flavor with a hint of sweetness.
They taste so good after roasting them that you could eat them plain with no toppings whatsoever. I've done this before! Or, I'll whip them with fresh ingredients like my orange-maple mashed roasted sweet potatoes.
However, I still prefer to add a bit of sea salt and grass-fed butter or coconut oil (healthy fats) to help my body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the potato.
My Favorite New Tuber: Japanese Sweet Potatoes
If you've looked for sweet potatoes at the grocery store lately, you might have noticed there are quite a few varieties to choose from - not just regular ol' yams. One of my all-time favorites for the ultimate sweet potato experience is Japanese sweet potatoes (when they're in season).
These lovely sweet potatoes have a deep red/purple colored skin with a butter-colored interior flesh, which darkens into a nutty, golden color after cooking. And their texture is drier and much sweeter than typical (orange) sweet potatoes.
Because of this, Japanese sweet potatoes are delicious eaten plain or with minimal toppings for a weeknight dinner. I've done this many a time.
But why settle for good when you can have stellar? Japanese sweet potatoes are over-the-top delicious when they're mashed and mixed with toppings that contrast and compliment their inherent sweetness.
How do I know this? Sheer experimentation! And a desire to switch up one of my current favorite foods.
Hence the creation of this twice baked sweet potato recipe. My first thought was to add chopped walnuts, but I decided that was too simple. Then I remembered eating Medjool dates with walnuts baked in them, which were FABULOUS!
I had a feeling the caramel and nut combo would compliment the potato's delicate sweetness. And at the spur of the moment, I added tangy goat cheese into the filling to contrast the sweetness of the dish and drizzled a tidbit of honey on top to finish.
The verdict? The flavors are glorious together!
If you're looking for a new way to serve sweet potatoes that will make everyone's belly happy without the need for brown sugar and marshmallows, give this recipe a try!
Twice-Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes
A slightly sweeter and drier variety of sweet potato twice-baked and mixed with butter, tangy cheese, warm spices, dates, walnuts, and a drizzle of raw honey.
1 small Japanese sweet potato, rinsed thoroughly
2 teaspoons grass-fed butter or coconut oil
2 tablespoons goat cheese
1 teaspoon organic turbinado OR real maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon + a pinch, cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon + a pinch, nutmeg
1 Medjool date, chopped
1/2 a palmful of walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons of local, raw honey
Large baking sheet (these are the work horses in my kitchen)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the potato thoroughly, dry off, then poke the skin a few times with a fork. When the oven is heated, bake the sweet potato for an hour.
Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop the filling of each potato half into a small bowl, making sure to keep the shell (sweet potato skin) intact. Mash the sweet potato, then mix in butter, goat cheese, turbinado or maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using a spoon, fill each sweet potato shell (or boat/skin) with half the mixture. Pit and chop one medjool date and a 1/2 palmful of walnuts (about 4-6). Sprinkle the date and walnut bits evenly on both sweet potato boat.
Place on a large baking sheet and back into the oven for another 15-25 minutes, or until the filling is adequately reheated. Remove from oven and drizzle each sweet potato boat with raw honey.
What's your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?
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