“Every leaf speaks bliss to me; fluttering from the Autumn tree.” – Emily Bronte
Ok, so yesterday I showed everyone how easy it is to cook luscious, inexpensive, healthy sweet potatoes in my post Perfect Baked Sweet Potatoes.
And today, I’m going to give you five easy ways to modify a basic sweet potato.
If you’ve only ever eaten sweet potatoes before at Thanksgiving, cooked in a sweet potato casserole with maple syrup and nuts marshmallows … this is where you need to start. The basic. Just a sweet potato, “butter”, salt, and pepper. Let your tastebuds get used to … well, what a sweet potato actually tastes like, without added sugar. You may be very surprised.
Variations: Add a touch of cayenne pepper. Or substitute garlic salt for the sea salt.
This is one of my favorites. If you are new to veg or plant-based, you may not know that many “bacon bits” are “accidentally” vegan (like McCormick Bacn Pieces™ Bacon Flavored Bits and Betty Crocker’s Bac-Os Chips.) Plus there are so many unabashedly vegan “bacon bits” brands now. Load up your potato as usual with “butter”, salt, and pepper – then add a large handful of “bacon bits.” The smoky, salty bacon bits combined with the sweetness of the baked potato is nothing short of phenomenal.
This is my other favorite. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I adore North Indian/Punjabi food. Garam masala is actually a lot like “Pumpkin Spice,” only a little – ok, a lot feistier. I adore garam masala on vegan mac and cheese, winter squash … and sweet potatoes. Try adding a little EarthBalance “butter” to your sweet potato, then sprinkling on some garam masala. For extra credit mix in a little chopped chili pepper or a pinch of red cayenne pepper (not pictured here).
Another Indian fusion version of a baked sweet potato. If your idea of Indian food is curry powder and coconut, this is for you! Just spoon in a little Earth Balance Coconut Spread, sprinkle a small bit of curry powder, and fluff with a fork.
Got leftover chili? Take your baked sweet potato and add your leftover chili and whatever toppings. Personally, I prefer regular chili with white baked potatoes, and black bean chili with sweet potatoes – but any kind of chili will work, even leftover white bean chili. If you don’t have leftover chili, try adding about 1/3 to 1/2 can Amy’s Black Bean Chili, then topping with vegan sour cream or non-sweetened soy yogurt, green onions, and sliced pickled jalapenos.
Now, Go Wild!
Hopefully this post has inspired you to try eating baked sweet potatoes a few different ways – and to create your own ways to eat them! You can get as fancy and elaborate as you like – and some people do get quite fancy! But for purposes of lunch meal prep and fast dinners, I like to keep it simple.
Here’s What Didn’t Work For Me
Cheese, both real cheese when I was vegetarian and “faux” cheese when I went vegan. I think cheezy sauces are best suited for russet potatoes. Of course, try it for yourself – your opinion might be different.
Avocado. I looove avocado but not on a sweet potato. Yuck!
Greens. I know, greens look so pretty mixed in with a sweet potato, and it seems healthy. But do you know what amount a serving of greens is? One serving is one cooked cup of greens. No way are you going to be mixing one cup of cooked greens into your sweet potato! So do the healthier thing, leave the greens out of your sweet potato. And instead have a cup of collards or kale on the side, or a salad.
Please tell me your favorite ways of enjoying baked sweet potatoes!