Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse. And if you're only using the sweet, orange root vegetable when you need a quick pie or roasted side dish, you're missing out.
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Sweet potatoes are also full of antioxidants (in the skin and flesh), and have essential vitamins and nutrients. According to the USDA, 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes has the following key nutrients, to name a few:
- 214% Daily Value (DV) of vitamin A
- 36% DV of copper
- 35% DV of vitamin B5
- 20% DV of potassium
- 13% DV of magnesium
And because they're versatile (not to mention cost-effective), you can transform them into a soup, a dessert, a snack and more.
So if you've been in search of new ways to enjoy them or you're looking to get more nutrients into your diet, here are 27 tasty meal, snack and dessert ideas for that bag of sweet potatoes you might have lying around in your kitchen.
1. Breakfast Nachos With Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
These nachos are high in protein and breakfast-ready. Sweet potatoes give you the crispiness of hash browns but with more nutritional value. Top your nachos with sour cream, onions, peppers and all of your go-to nacho fixings.
Get the Breakfast Nachos With Sweet Potato Waffle Fries recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Curry Sweet Potato and Rice Salad
Upgrade your potato salad from a side dish to a full meal. This version combines sweet potatoes with brown rice, cranberries, pistachios, yogurt and curry. The result is a filling salad bursting with flavor.
Get the Curry Sweet Potato and Rice Salad recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Purple Sweet Potato Hummus
"The pigment that gives purple sweet potatoes their gorgeous hue has particularly potent antioxidant properties," Sass says.
Sweet potatoes with purple flesh have more anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant, than their orange-colored cousins, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Anthocyanins are shown to play a role in preventing diseases, while purple sweet potatoes are tied to helping to lower and regulate blood pressure, according to a January 2012 study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
We can't think of a better way to incorporate this healthy root vegetable than by combining it with protein- and fiber-rich chickpeas — which takes your basic hummus and turns it into something spectacular.
Get the Purple Sweet Potato Hummus recipe and nutrition info here.
4. High-Protein Breakfast Sweet Potatoes
Stuffed sweet potatoes aren't just for dinner time, try filling them with different combinations throughout the week to switch up your morning fuel.
Go for savory and sweet by topping your sweet potatoes with cottage cheese, pear and honey. Or try a Mexican-inspired version by filling up your sweet potatoes with eggs, black beans, avocado and cheese — or nix the cheese to make it vegan!
Get the High-Protein Breakfast Sweet Potatoes recipe and nutrition info at Love & Zest.
5. Harissa Sweet Potato Fries
If you're following a gluten-free or grain-free diet, sweet potatoes are the perfect way to get your fiber in. Fiber is linked to helping reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer, per the Mayo Clinic.
This recipe for sweet potato "fries" hits the right note thanks to being baked, not fried.
Just watch your portions: Most people should stick to 1/2 cup of cooked sweet potatoes, Sass recommends, adding that your sweet potato side should be combined with about 2 cups of non-starchy veggies, a portion of lean protein and a source of healthy fat."
Get the Harissa Sweet Potato Fries recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Spicy Tempeh, Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Hash
This recipe calls for tempeh, a plant-based protein made from fermented soybeans. Just one serving supplies your daily requirement of copper and more than your daily recommended amount of manganese.
Both of these minerals are needed to support tissue repair while promoting cellular communication in the brain, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Because tempeh is a mild, nutty-flavored protein, the dish's flavor profile goes full spectrum — both sweet and spicy — thanks to the sweet potatoes and the jalapeños.
Get the Spicy Tempeh, Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Hash Recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Cheesy High-Protein, Twice-Baked Sweet Potato
"One cup of sweet potatoes with the skin on provides 950 milligrams of potassium. That's more than twice the amount in a medium banana," Sass says.
Potassium is an important nutrient to get into your diet. "It supports heart function, muscle contractions, prevents muscle cramps and helps maintain muscle mass," Sass explains.
In addition to delivering all the goodness of sweet potatoes, this recipe calls for low-fat versions of cheddar and cottage cheese for some extra calcium and protein.
Get the Cheesy High-Protein, Twice-Baked Sweet Potato recipe and nutrition info here.
8. Sweet Potato Nachos
Cut the refined carbs in your usual nacho plate and go for crafting the game-day crowd-pleaser with sweet potatoes instead. This colorful recipe features avocado, black beans, cheese and bright spices such as cumin and chili. You'll get 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber in each serving.
Fun fact: Sweet potatoes aren't even potatoes in the traditional sense, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They are root vegetables, like carrots, turnips and beets rather than tubers, like Jerusalem artichokes and jicama.
Get the Sweet Potato Nachos recipe and nutrition info here.
9. Quinoa Salad With Kale and Roasted Sweet Potatoes
If you've perfected your roasted sweet potatoes and are tired of eating them plain, try using them as a salad topping. This vegan and gluten-free salad is perfect for the fall and winter months and can be served warm or chilled.
It pairs crispy roasted sweet potatoes with hearty kale and quinoa, with a hint of tanginess thanks to the red wine vinegar and thyme dressing. Add your favorite protein to make the salad even more filling.
Get the Quinoa Salad With Kale and Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe and nutrition info at Eating Bird Food.
10. Sweet Potato Nacho 'Cheese' Dip
Going vegan or dairy-free doesn't mean you have to leave nachos behind. You can make a nut-free and dairy-free "cheese" by blending cooked sweet potatoes with nutritional yeast, spices and other ingredients.
In under 20 minutes, you'll have a flavorful dip for tortilla chips, vegetables and all the foods you love to cover in cheese.
Get the Sweet Potato Nacho 'Cheese' Dip recipe and nutrition info at My Heart Beets.
11. Sweet Potato Waffles
Give your favorite breakfast even more nutritional value by turning leftover sweet potatoes into waffles. These sweet potato waffles are a great low-carb option and can be made gluten-free and keto-friendly by swapping out a few ingredients.
However you choose to make them, your breakfast will be getting a dose of fiber and all the other great sweet potato benefits!
Get the Sweet Potato Waffles recipe and nutrition info at Feel Good Foodie.
12. Sweet Potato Soup
It's always a good time for soup, but this vegan sweet potato soup is perfect for cold weather. It features ginger, curry and coconut milk and is great for meal prep and freezing.
For variety, try topping the soup with crunchy toppings like nuts, seeds or croutons.
Get the Sweet Potato Soup recipe and nutrition info at Feel Good Foodie.
13. Sweet Potato Smoothie
If you usually start your day with a green smoothie, try this orange smoothie instead! Sweet potatoes aren't just for lunch or dinner —mix cooked sweet potatoes with mango and pineapple for a refreshing take on a smoothie.
Get the Sweet Potato Smoothie recipe and nutrition info at Love & Zest.
14. Turkey and Sweet Potato Enchiladas With Avocado Cream
It's time to start adding sweet potatoes to your enchiladas. Diced sweet potatoes and an avocado cream sauce offer a twist on classic enchiladas and give the dish an extra dose of fiber and heart-healthy fats.
These enchiladas can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the ground turkey or adding a plant-based meat substitute.
Get the Turkey and Sweet Potato Enchiladas With Avocado Cream recipe and nutrition info at Dishing Out Health.
15. Spicy Cranberry Apple Sweet Potato Bake
Sweet potatoes are a great base for many flavors. This cranberry-apple sweet potato bake offers a mix of spicy, sweet and tart ingredients. The dish also gets an extra helping of nutrients with the addition of baby kale.
Get the Spicy Cranberry Apple Sweet Potato Bake recipe and nutrition info at My Heart Beets.
16. Sea Salt and Sweet Potato Brownies
Brownies are a classic treat, and they're perfect for dessert or anytime you need a sweet pick-me-up. Give these sea salt and sweet potato brownies a try for a gluten-free twist, that's a little sweet thanks to the sweet potatoes and Medjool dates.
Get the Sea Salt and Sweet Potato Brownies recipe and nutrition info here.
17. Sweet Potato Hash Tacos With Feta
You can fill tortillas with all kinds of foods, and sweet potatoes are no exception. They pair perfectly with bell peppers, roasted pistachios and feta cheese to make a tasty vegetarian taco.
But you may find yourself reaching for these sweet potato hash tacos, even if you're a meat-lover!
Get the Sweet Potato Hash Tacos With Feta recipe and nutrition info here.
18. Thai-Inspired Peanut Sweet Potato 'Noodles'
Skip this one if you have a peanut allergy or swap out the peanut satay sauce for another sauce you love.
The base of this Thai-inspired dish is sweet potato "noodles," which you can make using a spiralizer or by thinly slicing your sweet potatoes. This will be your go-to pasta replacement.
Get the Thai-Inspired Peanut Sweet Potato 'Noodles' recipe and nutrition info here.
19. Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers
If you have black beans and quinoa taking up space in your pantry, add sweet potatoes and make a burger. These hearty patties can be topped with all of your favorite burger fixings, and can be ready to eat in under 20 minutes.
Get the Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers recipe and nutrition info here.
20. Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Steak Frites With Pecans
Your sweet potato fries just got a whole lot better. These maple-glazed sweet potato steak frites with pecans have crunch and added sweetness, to make your usual sweet potato fries even more delicious.
Get the Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Steak Frites With Pecans recipe and nutrition info here.
21. Almond Spice Baked Sweet Potato
Brown sugar and butter aren't your only options when it comes to topping a baked sweet potato. For a creamier and crunchier texture, fill one up with chopped almonds and almond butter, which adds an added dose of healthy fat.
Get the Almond Spice Baked Sweet Potato recipe and nutrition info here.
22. Winter Panzanella Breakfast Salad
Bread and salad are a winning combination. The two come together with sweet potatoes, kale and a poached egg in this recipe that is perfect for any meal of the day.
Get the Winter Panzanella Breakfast Salad recipe and nutrition info here.
23. Kale and Sweet Potato Baked Frittata Cups
Sweet potatoes, eggs and kale come together for a protein-rich, portable breakfast. Pair these tiny frittatas with a salad or hearty side dish to make them more filling, or enjoy them on their own.
Get the Kale and Sweet Potato Baked Frittata Cups recipe and nutrition info here.
24. Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Traditional shepherd's pie gets a makeover in this dish. Sweet potato replaces the usual white potato topping in this version of shepherd's pie and makes it a wonderful cold-weather dish that's full of potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C.
Get the Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie recipe and nutrition info here.
25. Tasty Sweet Potato Puff
Call it a sweet potato puff or sweet potato casserole — either way, this dish is a sweet, creamy and crunchy dessert or side dish option. Plus, there's a little fiber and protein.
Get the Tasty Sweet Potato Puff recipe and nutrition info here.
Satisfy that sweet tooth in the morning with this sweet potato-based cookie that won't wreck your diet.
And while we don't recommend eating these for breakfast every day, you will get a beta-carotene dose first thing in the morning thanks to the orange-hued vegetable. Whole grains, oats and pecans along with sweet potato equal a quadruple dose of fiber.
Get the Sweet Potato Maple Pecan Breakfast Cookies recipe and nutrition info here.
27. Sweet Potato Protein Hash
This sweet potato hash can be prepped in a bigger batch ahead of time, saving you crucial meal-making minutes. Store the spiced, baked sweet potato cubes in an airtight container until you're ready to use them.
Pop a serving of the sweet potato hash into a sauté pan and once warmed, add your favorite protein like tempeh (if you're keeping it vegetarian) or an egg. Toss in some hemp seeds for an extra dose of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
Get the Sweet Potato Protein Hash recipe and nutrition info here.
- NutritionFacts.org: “Sweet Potatoes”
- Oregon State University: “Manganese”
- National Institutes of Health: “Copper”
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Sweet Potatoes”
- Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry: “High-Antioxidant Potatoes: Acute in Vivo Antioxidant Source and Hypotensive Agent in Humans After Supplementation to Hypertensive Subjects”
- Cedars-Sinai: “In Case You Need a Reason to Eat More Avocado”
- USDA: "Sweet Potatoes"