During this season of orange-colored produce, we wanted to take a moment to recognize and elevate one sweet offering in particular, the sweet potato!
Not only are sweet potatoes delicious, they are one of the most inexpensive vegetables out there, so their nutritional value compared to their monetary value is in your favor. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin A, all vitamins that help maintain skin, eye, and heart health. Additionally, this spud contains potassium and fiber, and their natural sugars are released slowly into the bloodstream, so no empty calories here.
Here are a few flavors that will bring out the best in your sweet potato.
Warm Herbs and Spices
The sweet potato has a distinct taste, but its flavor is mild enough that it can be dressed up with a large range of herbs and spices – particularly earthy or warm spices.
When baking sweet potato fries, try sprinkling them with salt and rosemary beforehand for an elevated snack. Roasting your sweet potatoes? Try adding a sprinkle of chili pepper to bring that warmth to a whole new level. Of course, the classic sweet potato combination is butter and brown sugar, but you can also add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to spice things up a bit. Coriander and cumin also pair beautifully with sweet potato.
Heat and Salt
Since sweet potatoes have a, well, sweet flavor, they pair very well with their culinary counterparts – spicy heat and saltiness.
Take your warm spice pairing to the next level by tossing your sweet potato cubes into a curry or sautéing them with a spicy meat, like chorizo. On the salty side, try topping your baked sweet potatoes with classic bacon crumbles or even crispy prosciutto threads and feta cheese.
While they are sweet, sweet potatoes aren’t overly sugary. This means using sweet ingredients – like maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, and marshmallows – pair perfectly with this produce.
If you’re looking for a new way to amp up the sweetness of your sweet potatoes, pair them with pineapples or apples. The natural sugars of these lighter fruits balance nicely with the density of sweet potato.
Because of their naturally rich flavor, sweet potatoes are beautifully complimented by earthy, nutty flavors. Top a sweet potato pie with pecans, stir chopped walnuts into your mashed sweet potatoes, toss a handful of pine nuts into your next sweet potato sauté – the added crunch and flavor will take your dish to the next level.
This also works with nutty cheeses, such as parmesan, gruyere, and cheddar.
If you want to add an adult flair to your sweet potatoes, take a trip to your liquor shelf. Most dark liquors – such as bourbon, whiskey, rum, and amaretto – add a rich flavor to your dish. These liquors make an excellent glaze for roasted sweet potatoes, or you can add a drizzle to your mashed potatoes before serving.