Plum tuckered out of pumpkins? Swap out the gregarious gourd for a tasty tuber. The sweet potato, a savory superfood,will satisfy your stomach and soul.
Starchy and sweet-tasting with an orange flesh, the root vegetable is staple in many cultures. In the South, the sweet spud is spewed into pie shells for Thanksgiving, mashed into cornmeal, casserole, or cakes while across the Pacific Ocean, in Japan, sweet potatoes are pureed with candied chestnuts for Oshogatsu, the Japanese New Year as part of osechi-ryori, the New Year’s food.
Part of the Morning Glory family, it’s no wonder the tuberous roots are deeply embedded in cultures around the world. Sweet potatoes and yams rank among the healthiest vegetables to eat. Rich in carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, iron and fiber and delicious when baked and eaten plain, or used in soups, casseroles or stir-fries, the variety of preparation makes this super spud life-saving and affordable for all. The carotenoids have important anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties that are anti-aging and anti-cancer, while Vitamin A is excellent for the eyes and vision, and Vitamin B6 reduces the risk for cardiovascular ailments, such as stress and blood pressure, and the potassium regulates the heart. Sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. All these benefits with only about 130 to 160 calories!
Easy Peasy (Sweet) Potato Dishes…
Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries: Sweet potato + olive oil + sea salt + garlic
Baked Sweet Potatoes (literally sweet!): Sweet potato + coconut oil + sea salt + cinnamon + brown sugar
Gingered Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup: Canola oil + shallots + sweet potato + carrots + ginger + curry powder + garlic + chicken broth
Moroccan Sweet Potato with Couscous: Diced sweet potato + ginger + salt + cinnamon + lemon + honey + chile + olive oil + couscous
Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Butter: Garnet sweet potatoes + butter + miso + chopped scallion
Sweet Potato Lasagna (Low Carb): Pureed sweet potato + Ground Turkey + low fat cottage cheese + Trader Joe’s autumnal marinara sauce + reduced fat mozzarella cheese + cilantro
Does the Sweet Potato Pony Up to the Pumpkin?
Both orange vegetables are an excellent source of beta-carotene. However, the sweet potato contains more beta-carotene – by weight or by volume – than any other fruit or vegetable, according to “The Color Code,” a book about the health benefits of colorful foods. Even though sweet potatoes are a better source of beta-carotene than any other food, it’s the only significant carotenoid they contain. Pumpkins also provide substantial amounts of alpha-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which effectively makes them a better source of antioxidants than sweet potatoes, according to “The Color Code.”
The winner, however, is the sweet potato. With that being said, both are nutrient dense, low calorie options that you should incorporate into your diet this season. Drum roll…
Sweet Potato + Pumpkin Dishes…
Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Pie with Candied Pecans (to satisfy the northerners + southerners at your Thanksgiving dinner): Pumpkin + mashed sweet potato + brown sugar + cinnamon + ginger + nutmeg + clovers + eggs + evaporated milk + pecans
Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Mousse: Canned sweet potatoes + pumpkin puree + honey + cinnamon + light whipped cream
Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Pancakes: pumpkin puree + baked sweet potato + plain greek yogurt + flaxseed + wheat flour + vanilla + cinnamon + nutmeg
Spicy Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Soup: Pumpkin + mashed sweet potato + coriander seeds + cumin seeds + oregano + garlic + onion + chicken broth
Roasted Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Pilau: Pumpkin + cubed sweet potato + diced onion + celery + chicken broth + brown rice + sage