Sweet potatoes often get a bad rap, and that’s probably because we tend to make them unhealthy by covering them in oils and deep frying them into oblivion. But when cooked well, the festive sweet potato can be quite nutritious. These orange spuds are low in fat, high in fiber, and contain many important vitamins and other nutrients.
Swap out the cheese ball for one of these four recipes at your next holiday gathering—or any time throughout the year. They’re always delicious.
Healthy Potato Boats
Potato boats are usually synonymous with bacon, sour cream, and loads upon loads of cheese. NOT the healthiest option for any meal. But this version swaps out the heavy stuff for lighter, still tasty, fillings.
4 sweet potatoes (purple or orange)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped white onion
1 tablespoon fresh grated turmeric
1 cup chicken stock (unsalted)
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (your preference)
2 cups steamed/chopped kale
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.
Take olive oil, onion, and turmeric and cook in a medium saucepan (medium temp) until browned. Add stock and quinoa, let boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes (until most liquid is gone). Stir in kale, pepper, and a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Cut potatoes lengthwise and fluff each side. Spoon in 1/2 cup of mixture, put a spoonful of yogurt on top, and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Sweet Potato Spread
In a pinch, with little time to prepare an intricate dish? Try this easy dip or spread that’s healthy and hearty. Just be sure to serve it with healthier options like pita crisps, veggies, or wheat crackers.
1 cup mashed or baked sweet potatoes
1/4 plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor (or blender) toss in all ingredients and mix until texture is smooth and silky. Garnish with chopped scallions (optional). (See? Simple!)
Black Bean Chili-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Vegetarian)
This healthy and protein-packed variation on the chili-stuffed potato is a meal unto itself. But if you double or triple the recipe, you can also offer it as a side at a family feast.
4 medium sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or cayenne pepper, if you like a kick
15-ounce cans of black beans (do not drain)
3/4 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheddar (or non-dairy equivalent)
Cilantro, avocado and sour cream or Greek yogurt for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes, place on foil-lined baking sheet, and roast for 40-50 minutes or until done.
Prepare the chili by heating oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook until onions soften—around six to eight minutes. Mix in chili powder, oregano, cumin and chipotle chili powder or cayenne. Stir one minute. Add beans and tomato sauce and stir.
Bring chili mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until chili thickens. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Once sweet potatoes are roasted, split them open. Place about 1/3-1/2 cup of chili in each potato then sprinkle with two tablespoons of cheese. Top with cilantro, avocado, and Greek yogurt or sour cream, if desired.
Sweet Potato Stackers
These simple but savory snacks are almost bite-sized, easy to make, and help the holidays feel just a little cozier. (Butter has a funny way of doing that, doesn’t it?)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sage leaves
3 mashed garlic cloves
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds) (Keep the skins on to make them a little healthier. Skins contain fiber and potassium!)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a small pan and add sage and garlic. Reduce heat and cook until butter is foamy and browning. Remove sage leaves and place on paper towel.
Grab a muffin tray, line it with cooking spray, and place two slices of potato at the bottom of each slot with a little salt and parmesan. Add another two slices on top and cover with 1/2 teaspoon browned butter. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, drizzle remaining butter on stacks, and sprinkle remaining salt and cheese on top.
Broil on high for three minutes. Cool before serving and add sage leaves on top.