Friday, October 12, 2012

Twice-Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Chopped Walnuts & Dates

Twice-Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Chopped Walnuts & Dates

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: 

  1. the variety of sweet potatoes you choose 
  2. how fresh they are (local & in-season taste the best) 
  3. 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.

Twice-Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Chopped Walnuts & Dates
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!

yield: 2 servingsprint recipe

Twice-Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes

prep time: 5 MINScook time: 1 hour and 15 MINStotal time: 1 hours and 20 mins
Need a new way to serve sweet potatoes that'll have everyone gobbling up their portions and asking for more? Try this slightly sweeter and drier variety of sweet potato (Japanese 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 butter or coconut oil (like THIS)
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon organic turbinado OR real maple syrup (like THIS)
  • 1/2 teaspoon + a pinch, Ceylon cinnamon powder (like THIS)
  • 1/2 teaspoon + a pinch, ground nutmeg
  • 1 Medjool date, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts or stovetop candied pecans, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of raw honey


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What's your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?

Twice-Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Chopped Walnuts & Dates

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  1. Love the sweet/savory combo of this--sounds fabulous! I had no idea wine could be so dangerous...

    1. Thanks! It was so good that I wanted to eat both halves instead of sharing with my boyfriend! :) I am still baffled at how the wine glass managed to cut my leg. I've handled every wine glass and bottle I've touched since then very gingerly.


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