When it comes to Thanksgiving side dishes, we’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. Among the veggies, grains, and starches that line the buffet, there’s so much to choose from that’s so tempting (and surprisingly healthy).

Still, if we had to pick a top contender for the coveted spot on the plate next to turkey, we’d go with the orange chameleons of flavor and texture: sweet potatoes.

Sure, these veggies have notoriously been smothered under a thick blanket of marshmallows or sweetened with a heavy hand in pies. (And, hey, sometimes that’s just what you crave as a comfort food on Turkey Day.)

But there’s a lot more to sweet potatoes than the “sweet” in their name. Here’s a lineup of Thanksgiving sides that show off the tubers’ versatility in everything from salads to appetizers to — yes — even dessert.

As starchy veggies go, sweet potatoes make a smart pick for your health (when they’re not slathered in brown sugar, that is).

For one thing, they’re famous for their off-the-charts vitamin A content. At 1,960 micrograms per cup, they provide 217 percent of the Daily Value for men and 280 percent for women. Other micronutrients like calcium, potassium, and vitamin C join the party to support good health.

Meanwhile, sweet potatoes’ fiber content of 6 grams per cup provides prebiotic “food” for the good bacteria in your gut (and, let’s be honest, may have you BM-ing like a rock star). The veggies’ complex carbs will also keep you full longer than simple carbohydrates.

Compared with white potatoes, sweet potatoes sometimes seem to get a broader “health halo,” which may lead you to believe they’re a better choice than other spuds.

All potatoes provide health benefits — and we’d never throw shade on any nightshades — but sweet potatoes do outrank white potatoes in terms of fiber, vitamin A, and a lower glycemic index.

Ready to up your sweet potato game this Turkey Day? Check out these fresh takes on appetizers, sides, and desserts. And see how each of these dishes hold up after day 1 with our leftover rating.

Leftover rating

5 – Great (Just as good or better than day 1)

4 – Good (Holds up really well after day 1)

3 – Fine (It might need some doctoring, but passable)

2 – Not great (Edible, but not recommended after day 1)

1 – Nope (Strictly for day 1 eats)

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Glazed pecan sweet potato rounds

In this artsy-looking appetizer, skin-on hunks of baked sweet potatoes provide a rustic backdrop for a topping of crunchy crushed pecans. The tender bites are almost too pretty to eat. (Almost.)

Leftover rating: 1

These bites are best served immediately.

Sweet potato nachos

That’s right, we said nachos at Thanksgiving — because there’s really never a bad time for nachos. This creative starter uses baked sweet potato slices as dippers for traditional nacho fixin’s like cheddar, black beans, and avocado.

Leftover rating: 1

Like most nachos, these are best when fresh.

Crispy sweet potato latkes

Whether you call them latkes, rösti, or potato pancakes, one thing’s for sure: These little nests of crispy grated sweet potato will disappear fast as you wait for the turkey. Make them more substantial by adding Greek yogurt and a slice of smoked salmon.

Leftover rating: 5

Latkes make awesome leftovers! They’re freezer-friendly, too. So, make extra and stash them away for December holidays.

Quinoa and sweet potato stuffed mushrooms

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you know all too well that holiday spreads can be a minefield for your diet. Get ahead of the game by bringing these plant-based sweet potato-stuffed ‘shrooms to the Thanksgiving potluck.

Leftover rating: 4

Mushrooms reheat well in the microwave. Pop these in for 30 to 60 seconds for next-day vegan goodness.

Cranberry wild rice pilaf with sweet potatoes

With rice, veggies, herbs, and cranberries, this hearty side is basically an entire Thanksgiving dinner in a single bowl. Sauteed sweet potatoes add color and savory flavor to the superfood mix.

Leftover rating: 5

This wild rice keeps well in the fridge and makes an amazing Thanksgiving weekend lunch.

Baked spiralized sweet potato curly fries

Spiralize your way to an unconventional side that’s likely to be the hit of the Thanksgiving feast. Then, whip up a simple Sriracha or garlic-herb aioli for dipping these DIY curly fries.

Leftover rating: 4

We’d eat these cold straight out of the fridge. But they’ll perk up even more after reheating in the oven or microwave.

Savory sweet potato galette with feta

What’s a galette, you ask? It’s a freeform pie of sorts, typically with a savory filling. In this version, sweet potatoes, herbs, and feta get cozy inside a whole wheat crust.

Leftover rating: 3

Homemade pastry may dry out in the fridge. So, wrap leftovers tightly and finish them off within a day or 2.

Loaded stuffed Southwestern sweet potatoes

These stuffed spuds offer an unexpected Southwestern twist on same-old sweet potato sides. Meanwhile, they’re mega-healthy, topped with veggies and salsa.

Leftover rating: 1

Fresh avocado tends to get brown and icky a couple of hours after slicing. Eat this one right away.

Moroccan sweet potato salad

There are some strong feelings out there about potato salad. Either you’re on board or you aren’t. This Moroccan-spiced option, tossed with an olive oil-based dressing, is worth a try for a lighter side dish that pairs perfectly with the mild flavor of turkey.

Leftover rating: 5

This salad holds up fabulously for several days with no need to reheat leftovers.

Roasted sweet potatoes and figs

Roasting brings out veggies’ natural sweetness — making caramelized sweet potatoes the perfect complement to aromatic fruits like figs. A drizzle of balsamic reduction finishes things off.

Leftover rating: 1

Since this dish has a mixture of cooked and fresh ingredients, leftovers will be tricky to reheat.

Garlic and goat cheese mashed sweet potatoes

Thanksgiving mashed potatoes may be a perennial favorite, but their traditional prep can make them a lead weight in your belly. In these mashed sweet potatoes, goat cheese and milk stand-in for butter and cream.

Leftover rating: 5

This simple side gets an A for next-day eating after a quick stint in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Twice baked sweet potatoes with cashew cream

Packed with broccoli and greens and topped with a creamy cashew dressing, these twice-baked sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and micronutrients. Slice the hearty taters into smaller wedges for more petite portions.

Leftover rating: 1

Fresh greens atop baked potatoes mean these are best eaten immediately.

Arugula and sweet potato salad with mint yogurt dressing

Every Thanksgiving dinner needs a green salad to round things out in the veggie department. You can’t go wrong with spicy arugula peppered with roasted sweet potatoes and tossed with a mint-yogurt dressing.

Leftover rating: 2

Green salads are typically best when eaten with 24 hours of preparation.

Sweet potato coffee cake cookies

Finish off the feast with a sweet potato dessert that thinks way outside the marshmallow box. An irresistible cinnamon streusel dusts the tops of these intriguing cookies.

Leftover rating: 3

For later nibbling, keep these in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days.

Jamaican sweet potato pudding

It doesn’t get much simpler than this! Blend sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and a handful of other ingredients, then put the whole shebang in the oven to bake. Top with a dollop of vanilla ice cream for a bit of Caribbean heaven.

Leftover rating: 3

If you end up with leftovers of this pudding — which we doubt — it should keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Sweet potato chocolate cake

You’ve heard of sweet potato pie, but what about sweet potato cake? (And what about chocolate sweet potato cake?) Pureed orange spuds amp up the moisture in this unforgettable dessert.

Leftover rating: 4

With plenty of moisture, this cake should stay tasty in the refrigerator for up to a week.