Sweet Potatoes: A Love Story

If you follow The Sparkle Kitchen on Instagram, you may have seen me post a picture or twenty of meals that involve sweet potatoes substituted for all things carb (sandwiches, tortillas, tortilla chips, etc.). I wanted to pull together a post that highlights different ways that I’ve made my lunch or dinner a bit healthier by using a sweet potato base. 

Why the sweet potato? The answer for me is that they’re delicious. Plus, it’s the easiest way that I’ve come across to avoid preparing two meals for dinner for a Husband who craves comfort food and a wife who prefers kale and quinoa. But I can sell the sweet potato for many other reasons. 

Sweet potato perks:

  • Sweet potatoes are both inexpensive and have a very long shelf life when stored in a dark, dry place (especially compared to the shelf life of a pack of rolls or a loaf of bread). 
  • According to the USDA Nutrient Database, a medium sweet potato has 162 calories, over 100% of the daily recommended Vitamin A, and six grams of fiber. 
  • Portion control: you’re pretty well limited to the size of the sweet potato (except for my sweet potato French dip bowl pictured below), so it’s easy to keep indulgent ingredients to a level that won’t make you feel guilty (see my Mexican queso sweet potatoes below with no more than two tablespoons of queso – that would never work with tortilla chips!). 
  • Sweet potatoes are also rich in beta carotene, Vitamin C, potassium, and Vitamin B-6. 
  • They’re easy for a work-week lunch without worrying about your sandwich being squashed in the back of the communal fridge. 
  • Sweet potatoes are versatile (microwave, bake, fry, grill, steam, or roast) and need minimal “work” to enjoy (I’ve been known to simply microwave and drizzle olive oil over a sweet potato, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, when I’m pressed for time or want a no-fuss meal). 

Sold? Good. Now for the ideas!

French dip sweet potato bowlsHusband was craving for a French dip last week, so I made Rachael Ray’s recipe (plus sauteed mushrooms ,thin-sliced Provolone, and parsley) for a “his and hers” dinner. He got to enjoy the classic French dip:

And I had mine in a sweet potato (bonus: my serving was significantly larger than Husband’s!). 

To make my sweet potato French dip bowl, I microwaved the sweet potato until softened, then cut it into large chunks and placed in the bottom of a bowl. I added the au jus first, then placed a slice of Provolone on top and returned to the microwave for just a few seconds to melt the cheese before topping with beef, mushrooms, and parsley. 

Pulled pork stuffed sweet potatoes

We received a smoker for Christmas and have been feasting on ridiculous quantities of smoked meats ever since. I’ve been pulling in the sweet potato to avoid developing gout keep flavor interesting and meals somewhat healthy. 

Here’s my Husband’s amazing pulled pork (seriously, he’s become a pro at the helm of the smoker) the way that he enjoys it best: 

And here’s my dinner on the same night: 

Mexican-style sweet potatoes

In addition to sandwiches, I have substituted sweet potatoes in place of tortillas or tortilla chips when a Mexican craving strikes. And Mexican cravings strike often in the Sparkle household. Sweet potatoes pair exceptionally well with spicy flavors (in my opinion), downgrading the heat level of the hottest salsa to “tolerable”. 

Below: sweet potato with guacamole, salsa, and refried beans. 

The sweet potato below may be my favorite of the bunch. I had leftovers from dinner at Chuy’s and resisted the urge to eat all of the takeout in one sitting with a delicious sweet potato dinner. Now this is one of my go-to ways to enjoy Mexican food without overdoing it!

Below: sweet potato with Chuy’s jalapeno ranch, leftover queso, salsa, and fresh avocado.

Other sweet potato-based recipes you may enjoy, if I’ve made a fanatic out of you:

What are some of your favorite sweet potato ideas? 

Source: Blog

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