Are you in need of some snack-spiration? A little meal-time revamp? Well, you’re in luck. I’m here to help with sweet potatoes for every occasion. I find sweet potatoes to be incredibly versatile and they’re truly one of my favorite ways to consume carbs. Seriously, though, sweet potatoes are cheap, readily available, nutritious, and as we’ll see today, can be dressed up with all sorts of different flavor profiles. Let’s dive in, shall we?
There’s a little something for everyone with these sweet potatoes. I wanted to share some of my favorite combos here, and hopefully this will give you some ideas for toppings of your own. Each topping combination requires just three ingredients, and the combos range from savory to sweet, so you’re sure to find a mix to suit whatever craving strikes. Here they are – my three-topping sweet potatoes, four ways:
- Feta cheese, dried cranberries, & pecans
- Soy sauce, tahini, & chives
- Almond butter, banana, & cinnamon
- Avocado, cilantro, & tomatillo salsa
Looking at the photo above makes it embarrassingly evident that I shop primarily at Trader Joe’s, doesn’t it? Oops! Luckily, all these ingredients are easily found wherever you shop, and I bet you even have a lot of them at home right now.
First up, let’s take a look at that cranberry, pecan, and feta combination. Think of this as your Thanksgiving inspired sweet potato, but with a little extra tang from the feta cheese that produces the most perfect contrast against the sweet potato. Yum! This combination is best right out of the oven so that the feta starts to soften and you can really mix it in with the sweet potato. This would make a great side at dinner with a simple chicken breast or pork tenderloin. Or go big and pair it with some roast turkey if you’re really hankering for that Thanksgiving feel.
Next up, my newest discovery, and one that I’ve since made 3 times in the last two weeks: soy sauce, tahini, and chives. Tahini and soy sauce turn a sweet potato into this deliciously savory, complex potato, and oh my gosh once you have it you’ll never go back. During Valentine’s week, we had sweets exchange at work (which promptly put me in a sugar coma), but I needed a light dinner before my nighttime workout class, and had a sweet potato pre-roasted and waiting for me in the fridge. Not being able to stomach anything else sweet was the impetus for this savory combo, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s salty, creamy, and has a mild bite from the chives. I like to have this for lunch, with a side of cottage cheese for some protein (now, I’ve really lost you, haven’t I?), but I see this pairing really well with some baked salmon if you want to make a full dinner of it.
OK, on to the third combination, and the one you’re probably giving me the most side-eye for, right? The combo of almond butter, banana, and cinnamon embraces the sweetness of the potato and actually makes for a fantastic breakfast. I bet peanut butter would also be pretty delicious if that’s more your style (oddly enough I haven’t tried that combo yet, but it’s now on my to-do list for next week). Give this one a chance and your breakfast, post-workout snack… or even dare I say dessert, might have just received the revamp it needs.
Finally, on to my favorite dinner combination: avocado, cilantro and tomatillo salsa. Add some black beans and you’ve basically got a riff on my loaded baked sweet potatoes I posted back in 2015. This combo is a classic, made simpler by paring it back to just three ingredients. Use your favorite tomatillo salsa for this to control the amount of heat. I like Trader Joe’s brand clearly, but Frontera brand also makes a fantastic salsa that’s sold in most major grocery stores. Again, pair this with almost anything (chicken, pork, black beans), or go full on Guac for Dinner style and just call this your meal.
Possibly the greatest news of all of this is that sweet potatoes are very re-heating friendly, which means that you can bake up a batch on Sunday, and keep them in the fridge throughout the week, and then top them as your mood strikes. You can, of course, also cook a sweet potato in the microwave, but I tend to prefer the flavor of a sweet potato that’s been cooked slowly in the oven. I’ll include instructions for baking them below, but remember that sweet potatoes are pretty forgiving – if you’re already baking something at a different temp, feel free to toss your potatoes in along with said item, and just keep an eye on the timing – you might need to adjust it up or down a little bit. Also, I highly encourage ignoring all measurements below and just eyeing how much topping your sweet potato needs, but I’ll include rough estimates for the more improvising-hesitant among us.
Now the only question is… which one will you try first!?
Sweet Potatoes, Topped Four Ways
Time: 1 hour (includes baking time for sweet potatoes)
Yield: How ever many sweet potatoes you want to bake! Measurements for toppings below are for 1 sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes, however many you want to make
A few drops of coconut or olive oil
Toppings from combo of your choice
Combo #1: Thanksgiving
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
1 Tablespoon roughly chopped raw pecan halves
1 Tablespoon crumbled Feta cheese
Combo #2: Savory Soy
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon tahini
2 teaspoons chopped chives
Combo #3: Breakfast
1/2 banana, sliced thinly
1 Tablespoon almond butter
1 pinch cinnamon (I recommend shaking into your hand first – I can never control the shakers properly!)
Combo #4: Almost Guacamole
1/4 avocado, sliced
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon salsa verde
To bake sweet potatoes in the oven, preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub your sweet potatoes and dry them thoroughly. Drizzle with a few drops of oil. I like to use coconut oil, but olive oil will also work. Pierce with a fork a couple of times. Wrap each sweet potato loosely in foil and place them all on a baking sheet to catch any accidental drips. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a fork pierces through it easily. You can bake them at a lower or higher temperature (from about 350°F – 450°F), just adjust timing accordingly – they might take a little less time at a higher temperature, and more time at lower temps.
Allow your sweet potatoes to cool enough to handle, slice down the middle and add desired toppings. The only prep you’ll need is for Combo #2 “Savory Soy”: in a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce and tahini before drizzling on your potato. Taste the mixture, and feel free to adjust the ratio to your taste (I prefer more soy heavy, but a 1-1 ratio is also delicious and a little more creamy).