Regardless of the season, sweet potatoes are always a versatile, healthy option for a colorful, filling meal. Not only are they beautiful, they’re also loaded with fiber and nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. They can be grilled, baked, sautéed, and prepared in a huge variety of dishes—as you’ll learn from perusing this list of 45 healthier recipes sourced from around the web Effects of baking and boiling on the nutritional and antioxidant properties of sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] cultivars. Dincer, C., Karaoglan, M., Erden, F., et al. Faculty of Engineering, Department of Food Engineering, Akdeniz University, Turkey. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 2011 Nov;66(4):341-7. Read on and get cooking!
Breakfast and Brunch
Photo: Running to the Kitchen
Snacks, Sides, and Small Bites
Hummus just got even more exciting. The standard chickpea-tahini-olive oil recipe takes a turn on the wild side with the addition of garlic, sweet potato, Sriracha, nutmeg, and cinnamon. For an extra-sweet-potato-ey snack, pair this dip with the sweet potato crackers below.
Wow your dinner guests with these adorable little bites packed with flavor (thanks to some pepper, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard) as well as protein from goat cheese, healthy fats from pecans and olive oil, and vitamins from sweet potatoes, celery, and shallots.
These cheery crackers share the color of Goldfish—only their hue comes naturally, thanks to the sweet potatoes. Add in the baking flour of your choice and just a wee bit of butter, salt, sugar, and baking powder, and you’re good to go.
Perfect for meeting your veggie quotient on a cool day, these roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips get kicked up a notch with the addition of heart-healthy walnuts and honey, which research suggests may have antibacterial properties, especially in raw form.
This one’s pretty much as simple as it gets. Gather your sweet potatoes, some rosemary, sea salt, pepper, heart-healthy olive oil, and garlic—and that’s it. Mix ‘em all together, pop ‘em in the oven, and in no time you’ll have a nutritious savory side or snack.
As if we’d forget! These are so good you won’t even miss the Burger King variety. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, cut up some sweet potatoes, toss with any seasonings of choice (experiment with sweet options—like cinnamon or nutmeg—and savory ones—like cayenne pepper or curry powder—to vary the flavors), bake, and enjoy! Easier than easy.
This healthier take on chips is delicate, beautiful, and made with only three ingredients: sweet potatoes, coconut oil (one of our favorite cooking oils thanks to its connection to digestive health), and sea salt.
No need to add the marshmallow topping: These yams bring all the necessary sweetness to the table. Add in olive oil, rosemary, and an optional garnish of toasted pecans, and you’ve got yourself a much better-for-you version of this classic comfort food.
Soups and Salads
Loaded with onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and protein-rich black beans, this vegan recipe is hearty and packed full of nutrients. Bonus: The recipe only uses one pot for easy clean-up!
This recipe gives away nearly all its ingredients in the title. Good-for-you onions and sweet potatoes meet up with some chicken broth, a bit of butter and sugar, and several fragrant spices (including nutmeg and thyme) for a meals that's simple, tasty, and perfect for hot or cold weather.
Grilled sweet potatoes mix with sweet-and-sour onions for a simple, pretty side salad. This one’s ideal for warmer weather—who wants to grill on the deck when it’s 32 degrees outside?
Hearty enough to be a light meal, this salad is packed with filling quinoa, a plethora of nutrient-rich veggies, some avocado (and its healthy fats), a bit of olive oil, and a fresh squeeze of lime.
No potluck or tailgate is complete without potato salad. Try this healthier twist on the classic favorite: sweet potatoes, protein-rich Greek yogurt, toasted cashews, and some sweet and salty additions make this side dish good for the body and the taste buds.
This dish is love at first site and bite. Sweet potatoes, the pasta of your choice (go with whole-wheat for a healthier twist), a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a few heaping cups of superfood spinach make for a healthy, filling, meal that’s fit for lunch or dinner and hot or cold weather. Nom!
The name alone makes us drool. A sweet and garlicky sauce gets paired with a surprisingly good-for-you dough (it’s full of superfood spices such as ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon) and a delicious, wholesome filling of onions, sweet potatoes, curry paste, carrots, garlic, coconut milk, and lime juice.
Black beans bring the fiber and protein, ginger and garlic bring the flavor, and almond butter adds some healthy fats and a creamy texture to these easy-to-make vegetarian burgers.
These versatile mini cakes can be used in a variety of ways: Top a salad, eat as a veggie burger, toss in a pita with some veggies and tzatziki, or just eat ‘em on their own. Veggies, garlic, quinoa, eggs, a small amount of whole-wheat breadcrumbs, and our dear sweet potatoes form the base for these pretty, wholesome entrees.
These wraps are stuffed with (and wrapped in) veggies in addition to tempeh and hummus. Perfect for a light lunch on a warm spring day.
Say good-bye to bacon bits: Top a baked sweet potato with garlic, olive oil, a whole bunch of kale, and protein-packed ricotta for complete meal that’ll leave you satisfied ‘til the next one.
Yes, these are as healthy as they sound: Veggies, avocado, and fruits such as cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, and lime combine with the complete protein of quinoa and (of course) sweet potatoes to make the filling for these corn tortillas. The sauce calls for half mayo, half plain yogurt, but feel free to up the yogurt ratio if you’re looking to cut back on calories.
A healthier falafel? Yes, please! These balls of chickpea flour, a whole bunch of spices, some garlic, and a baked sweet potato are baked, not fried. Serve them just as you would the real deal.
This hearty dish is chock full of veggies (seriously—we’re talking 12-plus varieties of produce!). It works well as a side dish or a full meal if you’re not in the mood for protein.
Beautiful to behold, this creative recipe is also full of protein and good-for-you ingredients like whole-wheat pastry flour, sweet potatoes, olive oil, garlic, kale, and just a bit of white wine (which is rich in antioxidants).
Better-for-you brown rice is rolled up with vitamin-rich sweet potato, bell pepper, and spinach to make a pretty, light lunch or dinner.
Save this warm, hearty curry for a cooler day to maximize the comfort-food element. A whole bunch of bosy-boosting spices go into this mixture of protein-rich lentils (which are also a good source of folate, iron, potassium, and antioxidants), nutrient-dense veggies, and a garnish of superfood almonds for crunch.
You might want to wear sunglasses while cooking: This meal is seriously bright. Cook together onions, garlic, cauliflower, sweet potato, tomato, raw cashews, and a slew of healthy spices (including cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper) with lentil sprouts before scooping them into red and orange pepper “bowls.” They’re sure to dazzle guests and delight your senses any day of the week.
Here’s another one for a cool spring day. Veggies, chickpeas, spinach, and seasonings are sautéed together to form a warm, nutrient-rich topping to be ladled over a baked sweet potato. It’s nutritious, comforting, and lovely all at the same time.
These bright quesadillas are filled with baked sweet potato, chopped spinach, and a little bit of cheese before getting all kinds of gooey in the oven. Top with fresh salsa and, if you’re feeling extra healthy, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
Fruit, veggies, and low-sugar sweetness, oh my! Pomegranate’s rich red color complements the sweet potato’s orange hue, while shaves of coconut and cilantro make this baked sweet potato almost too pretty to eat.
Photo: Healthy Food for Living
Um, YES. Pureed sweet potatoes provide the base for this remarkably healthy pudding recipe, which gains more sweetness and flavor from just a bit of maple syrup, almond milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla extract. We’ll take three cases to go, please.
Healthy spices, apples (a superfood in our book), a couple sweet potatoes, and a smidgen of maple syrup make for a pretty, healthier take on dessert.
This one offers further proof that going gluten-free doesn’t have to mean going without baked goods for the rest of your life. This wholesome-looking pie is made with only six ingredients: eggs, mashed sweet potatoes, some sugar, pumpkin pie spice, coconut milk, and gluten-free flour. Pop it in the oven and you’ll be spooning pie in no time.
Yet another gluten-free option, these gooey, flourless cakes are held together with sweet potatoes, potassium-rich bananas, honey, egg, and plenty of antioxidants thanks to dark chocolate.
We may have saved the best for last. These chewy brownies look like the old-school variety but use some seriously healthy replacements for classic pantry staples. Sweet potatoes, dates, avocado, applesauce, almond meal, vanilla, and raw cacao make for a sweet (yet relatively low-sugar), gooey concoction perfect for capping off a backyard potluck. Bonus: They’re gluten-free!
*This article was originally published August 4, 2013.