Sweet Potatoes – The Versatile Vegetable
If you’re looking for a little variety to spice up your life, cooking with a versatile veggie such as the sweet potato may give your menu the satisfying kick you crave, along with a healthy dose of the nutrients your body needs.
Unlike many vegetables with a peak season that comes and goes, sweet potatoes can be found at your local grocery store year round with a consistent quality and
freshness. Because they are available fresh, canned or frozen, sweet potatoes offer the ultimate flexibility for healthy and delicious menu options at any meal.
With virtually no fat and low in sodium, sweet potatoes, or yams, fit perfectly into a low-carb lifestyle, with major nutritional bonuses to boot. In addition to being a source of vitamin B-6, iron, potassium and fiber, the sweet potato provides twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and more than one-third of the requirements for vitamin C.
Sweet potatoes also rank significantly lower than white potatoes in the glycemic index, which explains why many carb-counting diets encourage substituting sweet potatoes for white potatoes.
Creamy Smoked Sweet Potato Soup
Winner in the “Fresh” Category
Courtesy of Samantha Foglesong, New Orleans, La.
4 extra-large sweet potatoes (about 5 pounds)
4 cups seafood stock
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, picked free of shells
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
Prepare smoker to 200°F.
Smoke sweet potatoes 2 1/2–3 hours. Let cool, and peel. In large Dutch oven, combine sweet potatoes, stock and cream. Blend on high speed with an immersion blender until smooth. Heat over medium heat, and add 1/2 teaspoon salt, then cinnamon and nutmeg. Strain mixture through fine-mesh sieve into large bowl; discard solids.In medium bowl, combine crab, lemon juice, red pepper, remaining salt, butter and chives. Divide soup among bowls and top with crab mixture.
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Piquant Sweet Potato Quiche
Winner in the “Frozen” Category
Courtesy of Karen McGowan, Houston, Texas
1 bag (15-ounces) frozen sweet potato fries, thawed
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups shredded Havarti or Monterey Jack cheese
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups chopped cooked ham
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Spray 10-inch pie dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Pulse sweet potato in food processor until shredded. Transfer sweet potato to sieve and press with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Press potato into bottom and up sides of prepared pie dish. Brush with melted butter and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until edges of crust are golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. Reduce oven to 350°F. Add Havarti cheese, jalapeno, Swiss cheese, ham and chives to crust in one layer. In medium bowl, combine eggs, half-and-half, salt, paprika, pepper and cayenne. Pour evenly over cheese mixture and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean, 30–40 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.