WTF is…Sweet Potato?

sweet potatoMan, do I love sweet potato.

It definitely saved me during the Paleo Challenge last year. Being one of the few starchy vegetables on the ‘can eat’ list, it was a food I turned to during many a carb-craving moment.

Whether paleo or not, you should definitely consider adding sweet potato to your diet – it’s delicious, versatile and good for you!

WTF is sweet potato?

Newsflash! It’s not a potato. (Well, it’s only distantly related to regular potato, which is part of the nightshade family. Sweet potatoes are part of the morning glory – yes, really – family.)

The most common varieties are orange in colour, but you’ll also find yellow, red, brown, purple and beige varieties. Personally, I like the orange ones as they are usually the sweetest!

Did you know – sweet potato is called kumera in New Zealand. Here in the USA, they also call it yam, even though technically yams are part of a different plant family. Yeah, bit confusing.

Why should I eat it?

Sweet potatoes are SOOOOOO good for you! Check it out:

  • 100g of cooked orange sweet potato will provide over 100% of your recommended Vitamin A intake (it’s from all that beta carotene, the stuff that makes it orange)
  • It’s also a good source of Vitamin B, manganese and potassium
  • Eating sweet potato is a great way to get more complex carbs if you’re gluten-free or grain-free

How do I eat it?

Sweet potato is so versatile it’s ridiculous.

  • Use as you would a regular potato: boil, steam, mash (ooh, maybe mash with some nutritional yeast??)
  • I LOVE roasting it in coconut oil. It brings out the natural sweetness. Yum!
  • Julienne it with this peeler, lightly steam and eat as a healthy pasta
  • Try it in a dessert. Yes, really. Google ‘sweet potato brownies’ and you’ll see what I mean.
  • TIP: cook it with some form of fat so the nutrients absorb into your system!

I once tried making a grated sweet potato pancake thing, but it failed spectacularly. So I googled “sweet potato hash brown” and found this simple recipe at Nom Nom Paleo. It was much easier than my version!

So if you’re short on time and want to add a healthy carby side to your meal, try this:

Super easy sweet potato hash

  • Take your sweet potato and grate it coarsely
  • Put a dollop of coconut oil or butter in a fry pan
  • Add the grated sweet potato, season with salt and pepper. Add any combo of the following if you fancy: paprika, cumin, ground ginger, cayenne pepper, etc.
  • Put the lid on the pan (the lid will trap moisture, helping it to soften)
  • Push the sweet potato around every now and again so it cooks evenly. If it dries out, add a bit more fat.
  • Give it 5-10 minutes. It will soften, and some bits will start to crisp up and caramelise.
  • Tip it out on to a plate or bowl, and serve!

It’s delicious with fried or poached eggs and avocado for breakfast, or as an accompaniment to delicious juicy roasted chicken.

Christina Canters Sweet Potato

Where the fork do I find it?

You’ll find it easily in supermarkets, markets and greengrocers (but it’s usually much cheaper at the markets). The orange variety is the most common, but feel free to experiment with other varieties too!

Do you eat sweet potato? How do you use it? I’d love to hear your ideas! Just comment below.