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10 appetizing recipes that make sweet potatoes a healthy part of your meal

Sweet potatoes have been playing second fiddle to white potatoes for far too long. This colorful, starchy veggie can do so much more than be a side dish for your Thanksgiving feast. In fact, sweet potatoes can pretty much do everything that their white potato cousins can do — and more. Sure, you can bake them, mash them, fry them, and roast them, just like white potatoes, but that’s just the start. 

Sweet potatoes go with just about anything, so if you’re wondering what’s good to eat with sweet potatoes, the choices are pretty limitless. From chicken to salmon, sautéed veggies to salads, everything is better with sweet potatoes. 

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With their high fiber and water content, sweet potatoes promote fullness, which will likely cause you to consume fewer calories, which could result in weight loss. If you’re looking to eat healthier — and maybe even cut calories — there are plenty of ways to eat sweet potatoes that don’t include a marshmallow topping. Try these healthy recipes, and give sweet potatoes their culinary due!

A few facts about sweet potatoes

Are sweet potatoes healthier than regular potatoes?

Not really. Both can be highly nutritious (depending on how they are prepared), and both have similar calorie, protein, and carb counts. White potatoes provide more potassium to your diet, while sweet potatoes are very high in vitamin A. 

What is the healthiest way to eat sweet potatoes?

To retain more beta-carotene, boiling is the preferred cooking method for sweet potatoes. You can retain up to 92% of the nutrients by keeping the cooking time shorter — about 20 minutes in a tightly covered pot is ideal.

Picking a good sweet potato

Here’s how to choose the very best sweet potatoes:

  • Look for orange- and red-skinned potatoes. These moister-variety potatoes are known to be sweeter, creamier, and less starchy.
  • Yams are different than sweet potatoes. Yams are more starchy and drier than sweet potatoes, so be sure you are getting sweet potatoes.
  • When it comes to sweet potatoes, beauty is skin deep. Choose potatoes with smooth skin, no discoloration, and no soft spots.

10 healthy sweet potato recipes your whole family will love

Sweet potato soup

Hearty, savory soups are not just for winter. This sweet potato soup is the perfect combination of creamy sweet potatoes, carrots, fresh ginger, and a hint of spice. Add a swirl of coconut cream, watercress, and chopped pistachios on top for an out-of-this-world weeknight meal. Prep it in 10 minutes and simmer it for 30; at just 254 calories per serving, it’s fine to have seconds!

Sweet potato black bean tacos

These vegetarian tacos spotlight smoky-sweet potatoes and a mashed black bean and onion spread that keeps the whole thing together. Served with your favorite taco toppings, it’s a filling and healthy 477 calorie dinner option.

Sweet potato salad

This sweet potato salad combines garlic-roasted sweet potato cubes with baby arugula, cranberries, and creamy goat cheese, topped with a tangy honey-mustard dressing. At just 381 calories per serving, you may never eat deli potato salad again.

Healthy sweet potato casserole

You’ll love this lightened-up, sugar-free version of the classic holiday favorite. Creamy, spiced sweet potatoes get topped with a delicious crumble of pecans, dates, pepitas, and almond flour, giving it the perfect texture combination of silky sweet and crispy nuts. It’s under 300 calories per serving, and you won’t miss the marshmallows one bit. 

Air fryer sweet potato fries

No time for oven baking? These air fryer fries take way less time and get even crispier. Add a DIY dipping sauce of mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce, and you’ll create a mouthwatering side dish or homemade snack you won’t be able to resist.

Sweet potato black bean burgers

Satisfy your burger craving without the meat. Make these vegan burgers by blending sweet potatoes with curry powder, form them into a patty, then sear them in a cast-iron pan. Go gluten-free by omitting the bun and serving in a lettuce wrap. Each burger is just 454 calories.

BBQ chicken-stuffed sweet potatoes

Stuffed sweet potatoes make a healthy and delicious choice for lunch or dinner. With just a few simple ingredients, this recipe is so easy to make. After baking your sweet potato, fill it with shredded chicken (a great way to use up leftovers from that store-bought rotisserie), mix it with BBQ sauce, and top with sliced red onion and fresh cilantro. It’s gluten-free and paleo-friendly, with 30 grams of protein and just 7.6 grams of fat. 

Paleo-friendly sweet potato chili

This chili will fill you up without weighing you down. It’s loaded with Italian sausage, vegetables, and of course sweet potatoes, and you can lower the calorie count by swapping out the pork sausage with turkey sausage.

Sweet potato peanut bisque

West African peanut soup inspired this vegetarian sweet potato soup, spiced up with a bit of hot green chilies and finished with chopped peanuts and scallions. Since it’s just over 300 calories a serving, you can add a mixed green salad for the perfect healthy meal.

Roasted sweet potatoes

We love a good sheet pan recipe, and this one features perfectly seasoned sweet potatoes and a savory spice blend of cumin, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper to satisfy your cravings and then some (at just 173 calories a serving).

Tip: Take care not to overcrowd the baking sheet. If your cubes of sweet potatoes get too close, they’ll end up steaming instead of roasting — losing all that delicious crunch. 

The next time you’re looking to think outside the box at dinnertime, pick up a few sweet potatoes and get ready to make something fabulous. Nutritious, colorful, and delicious, sweet potatoes should be on hand for last-minute meals and exceptional side dishes. 

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Kim Renta
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kim has written for Bloomingdales, Movado, and various e-commerce wine sites. When she's not writing about wine and…
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