37 Secretly Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

June 21, 2017
Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes Title

So, you’ve tried getting creative and making your own baked sweet potato French fries, but now you’re looking to take things to the next level and use up all those sweet potatoes you’re seeing available everywhere? Well, there’s no better time than now to start experimenting with some new sweet potato recipes!

It’s that time of year when sweet potatoes are at their best and sweetest, plus they are sold at great prices everywhere you look! So take advantage of these nutrient-packed delicious tubers and start using them in some unexpected ways.

Sweet potatoes are thought to be one of the oldest consumed vegetables, dating back thousands of years ago in areas across Central and South America. Today there are many perks to eating and cooking with various types of sweet potatoes: they’re inexpensive, last a long a time in your refrigerator, are extremely versatile in recipes, and luckily their packed with important nutrients too.


Sweet Potatoes Recipes: Around the WorldRaw sweet potatoes halved

Because of their creamy texture and caramelized sweet taste when cooked (especially when roasted), sweet potatoes have tons of different culinary applications. They are a staple throughout nations in Africa where they are commonly used in breakfast stews, served with beans and fish, or made into flour. Throughout Asia they are featured in tempura dishes, soups, and stir fries. In the Pacific Island region, they are used in countries including Malaysia and Singapore in coconut milk based desserts and soups. And in Korea, sweet potatoes are used to make a type of popular cellophane noodle. Sweet potatoes are also literally a life-saver: they are one of the most vital foods and sources of nutrients for people living in the Philippines in impoverished areas because of their ease of growing, low cost, and long shelf life.


Sweet Potato Recipes Are Secretly Healthy!

Sweet potatoes really shine when it comes to their vitamin and mineral content.  They are packed with Vitamin A, potassium, and antioxidants too, especially beta-carotene (which is responsible for giving them, and other orange veggies, their bright hue). On top of this, they’re a great source of fiber (each medium potato has about 4 grams) as well as complex carbohydrates that the body is able to use for energy. All of these benefits make their way into one little sweet potato package of only around 100 calories (for an average medium sized potato)!

One medium sweet potato has roughly:

  • 103 calories
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 2 grams of protein
  • 7 grams of sugar
  • 438% daily value Vitamin A

Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable, meaning they grow below the ground and receive their nutrients from the soil. Like all root vegetables, sweet potatoes contain a good amount of starch in them, however their starch is known to impact blood sugar levels in a less dramatic way than simple carbohydrates- like white potatoes, bread, or pasta- do.

 

potato versus yam versus sweet potato Comparison Chart

 

Compared to white potatoes, sweet potatoes have a lower score on the glycemic index so your body is thought to absorb their sugar at a slower pace. So while sweet potatoes do contain some sugar – which gives them their signature sweet taste and of course their name – relatively speaking the amount is not very high in comparison to other processed carbohydrate foods.  Their benefits definitely outweigh their sugar content! Plus, their filling starch and fiber makes you feel satisfied after eating them, so you are less likely to be craving junk-food snacks between meals.


Sweet Potato Varieties and Availability

Sweet potatoes are usually available year round, but they are definitely their freshest and sweetest in the fall and early winter months. The most widely available sweet potatoes come in a dark orange color but there are actually many types in existence: Japanese sweet potatoes (buttery, with a white flesh), purple sweet potatoes, yellow fleshy sweet potatoes, pink and red varieties, and more. Different cultures tend to use varying types depending on what is most readily available. All types of sweet potatoes are great for you and contain similar health benefits, so feel free to branch out and try the different varieties in your sweet potato recipes.


38 Surprisingly Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

For inspiration, we looked at cuisines from around the world to bring you some unexpected and delicious ways to use sweet potatoes:

Note: A quick note on keeping all of these great recipes as healthy as possible: remember to use the best types of oils that you can opt for coconut oil when cooking at high heats and keep your olive oil for times when you are drizzling it or lightly sautéing. Also try to use sea salt whenever possible and use natural sweeteners like raw honey or organic coconut palm sugar to get the most nutrients out of these recipes. And of course, it’s always important to look for the very best quality animal products that you can (organic cheese, grass-fed meat, and organic cage-free eggs).


SWEET POTATO RECIPES: Breakfast & Smoothies

1. Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Pancakes

Nothing is more satisfying than homemade pancakes.  Made with only 6 simple ingredients, these sweet potato pancakes are so easy, that you can whip them up even on a weekday or when you haven’t had time to plan ahead.

Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Pancakes
 Photo: Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Pancakes / Carrots ‘N’ Cake

 2. Sweet Potato Oats 

A unique twist on an old-favorite breakfast staple, oats get an update thanks to the warming spices and creamy sweet potatoes. Opt for a plant-based milk like almond or coconut milk, or a raw/low temperature pasteurized organic dairy milk, in order to keep this recipe entirely clean.


3. Cinnamon Spice Sweet Potato Bread

There are few things that smell up a home better than homemade sweet bread. Instead of relying on the store-bought kinds that tend to be filled with processed ingredients and way too much sugar, try making your own using healthy sweet potatoes!  

sweet potato cinnamon bread
 Photo: Cinnamon Spice Sweet Potato Bread / Averie Cooks

4. Sweet Potato & Mushroom Quiche 

Enjoy the delicious sweetness of sweet potato with the earthiness of mushrooms in this scrumptious quiche! Try this mouth-watering and delicious one dish meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner!


5. Sweet Potato Beet Hash

The perfect way to start your day: filling potatoes with an extra slight sweetness from beets, plus crispy, flavorful turkey bacon to provide some extra protein and staying power.  Add an egg or two to boost your protein and nutrition!

Sweet Potato Beet Hash, Dr. Axe Recipe Card
Sweet Potato Beet Bacon Hash, Dr. Axe Recipes
Photo: Sweet Potato Beet Hash / Dr Axe

SWEET POTATO RECIPES: Main Courses 

6Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties

Sick of eating frozen veggie burgers every time you don’t have time to cook a decent dinner? Try making these filling, gluten-free veggie burgers in bulk on the weekends and freezing them afterwards so you can whip them out of the freezer whenever need be. Top with all your favorite toppings, including avocado and plenty of veggies, and consider going “bunless” and having them over a salad instead.

sweet potato quinoa patties
Photo: Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties / A House in the Hills

7. Turkey Stuffed Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes 

Stuffing sweet potatoes with good quality, organic chopped turkey meat makes for one noteworthy and filling dinner that will surprise the whole family and make them wonder why you didn’t try this one sooner! Of course using some healthy ghee, coconut oil, or grass-fed butter is also an option in place of the recommended duck fat if this ingredient is unavailable to you.


8. Lentil and Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie

Love shepherd’s pie, but don’t always feel like having something so heavy? Try this lightened up version which is not only vegan, and uses zero dairy, and features satisfying sweet potatoes and filling lentils (high in protein, phosphorus, fiber, folate and copper) instead!

lentil and sweet potato shepards pie
Photo: Lentil and Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie / One Ingredient Chef

9. Sweet Potato Enchiladas with Avocado Sauce 

Enchiladas are one of those comfort foods that really hits the spot with most people, but all that cheese can lead to a food hangover afterwards! This recipe very cleverly uses creamy avocado to add a healthy fat boost while avoiding an overload of cheese. Sub the corn tortillas for mini, sprouted ancient grain wraps and these enchiladas will be seriously tasty, filling, and healthy too.


10. Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers 

This combination of potatoes, beans, oats, and spices makes one filling burger that’s totally gluten & meat-free! What’s not to like about a heart veggie burger topped with all the fixings on a cold Fall day? You can sub in almond, quinoa, or coconut flour for the millet in order to add even more gluten free nutrients. Try keeping the burger bun-free by serving it over a salad or along with your favorite side dishes.

Sweet potato black bean veggie burgers
Photo: Sweet Potato Veggie Burger / Cookie and Kate

11. Sweet Potato Noodles with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

The perfect thing to make when you’re craving creamy pasta, but you’re also looking to keep your meal nice and healthy. Roasted red peppers make a fantastic sauce when blended, covering the gluten-free sweet potato “pasta” in an irresistible way. You could also make this meal even bigger and more beneficial by adding extra wilted greens or filling beans for protein.


12. Caveman Stuffed Sweet Potatoes 

A sweet potato can really act as an entire meal when stuffed with healthy, filling ingredients like veggies, beans, or good quality, organic meat. You will want to omit the optional bacon if you’re a plant-based eater, or perhaps use organic, chopped meat instead if not, but either way these sweet potatoes won’t disappoint with taste.

Caveman Stuffed Sweet Potato Recipe
Photo: Caveman Stuffed Sweet Potatoes / Civilized Caveman Cooking

13. Coconut Sweet Potato Curry 

If you are a fan of Indian-flavored dishes, you’ll love this take on sweet potatoes. A range of exotic but easily accessible spices add a big flavor punch while still keeping things simple enough to make. Chickpeas add a nice dose of filling protein, and quinoa could even be subbed in for jasmine rice to add even more.

Coconut Sweet Potato Curry
Photo: Coconut Sweet Potato Curry / One Ingredient Chef

14. Sweet Potato Chili 

Nothing says cold weather comfort food like chili! This sweet but savory plant-based chili makes the perfect weeknight meal than can also easily be stored as healthy leftovers for the next day.


15. Sweet Potato Pasta with Figs 

Shredded sweet potatoes stand in for traditional processed noodles in this savory grain free pasta dish.

Sweet Potato Pasta with Figs
 Photo: Sweet Potato Pasta with Figs / CivilizedCavemanCooking.com

16. Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi Risotto

There’s something so comforting about a creamy, hearty risotto that most of us love so much and crave thus time of year, as the weather keeps getting colder. Make your risotto even better by using coconut oil or grass-fed butter instead of olive oil, in order to get the healthiest source of fat that you can for this particular meal and preparation method. Using a cooking oil that is good for you, adds not only flavor and texture, but good fats that helps your body function and heal!

Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi Risotto
Photo: Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi Risotto / healthynibblesandbits.com

SWEET POTATO RECIPES: Side Dishes

17. Sweet Potato Nachos

Skip the poor quality fried corn chips and fake “nacho” cheese, and instead opt for making your own awesome loaded sweet potato nacho platter. Add filling beans and good quality organic cheese along with all the usual veggie toppings- jalapeños, plenty of salsa, and anything else you feel like getting creative with.

sweet potato nachos
Photo: Sweet Potato Nachos / Savory Style

18. Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Soup 

What’s more comforting during the colder months than a creamy bowl of soup? Garlic keeps this soup rich and savory tasting, while the sweet potatoes give it just enough sweetness and a velvety texture that makes it similar to a chowder-style soup.

Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Soup, Dr. Axe Recipe Card
Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Soup
Photo: Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Soup / Dr Axe

19. Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple 

Who would have thought that these two tastes went together? Roasting the potatoes brings out their natural sweet flavor and starchiness even more, so they pair up perfectly next to caramelized pineapple.


20. Sweet Potato and Pomegranate Salad

What makes a good salad? Many different satisfying colors and textures! Pomegranates add a pop of color to this simple potato salad, and some disease-fighting antioxidants too. Sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds and organic goat cheese for even more depth of flavor.

sweet potato pomegranite salad
Photo: Sweet Potato and Pomegranate Salad / Two Peas and Their Pod

21. Sweet Potato Hummus

What’s better then joining together two of your favorite health foods? Sweet potatoes and hummus make a perfect complex carb and protein-packed appetizer or snack that will definitely keep you more satisfied between meals than pretzels or potato chips. Hummus has enough health benefits on its own, but adding sweet potatoes makes this one impressive dip.

Sweet Potato Hummus
Photo: Sweet Potato Hummus / The Kitchen is My Playground

22. Sweet Potato with Pomegranate, Coconut, & Lime

A completely different Thai-feeling twist on your potatoes, this recipe will surprise guests and make you wonder why you never thought of this interesting, delicious combination of ingredients before.


23. Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes

Why not try something new an add some color to your average sweet potatoes? Purple sweet potatoes will stand out on your dinner table and maybe even get your kids interested in helping you mash them too.

mashed purple sweet potatoes
Photo: Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes / Spoon Fork Bacon

24. Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole 

The familiar comforting side dish, but without the unnecessary extra sugar, butter, and calories. Pecans add a pop of extra flavor and healthy fats too. Sub in a natural sweetener like pure maple syrup or molasses instead of brown sugar to keep this recipe as healthy as possible.


25. Stuffed Fluffy Sweet Potatoes

This recipe will remind you of your grandma’s cooking! Use lean organic turkey bacon in place of regular bacon and opt for grass fed butter in order to keep this comforting recipe on the still-healthy side.

stuffed fluffy sweet potatoes
 Photo: Stuffed Fluffy Sweet Potatoes / Grandmother’s Kitchen

26. Southwestern Cold Sweet Potato Salad 

Jazz up your typical mayo-based potato salad with this lightened up version that features black beans and spices, filling you up guilt-free. This would make the perfect addition to your next BBQ or picnic.

Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
Photo: Southwestern Cold Sweet Potato Salad / twopeasandtheirpod.com

27. Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries 

You knew this one had to make the list! So easy to make, crunchy and a great addition to any meal, make these sweet potato fries tonight! For a variation, try also with homemade garlic aioli as a dip!

Sweet Potato Rosemary Fries, Dr. Axe Recipe Card
rosemary sweet potato fries, Dr. Axe Recipes
Photo: Rosemary Sweet Potato Fries / Dr Axe

28. Sweet Potato Egg Rolls

A surprising filling inside your favorite Asian-flavored side dish! Sweet potatoes, veggies, beans, and optional chicken make these almost satisfying enough to be a main meal.


29. Sweet Potato Biscuits

If you love a buttery biscuit but wish that there was a better way to soak up your favorite recipes, try making these upgraded sweet potato biscuits. To avoid using processed flours or any gluten, try swapping in oat flour or another type that you like instead.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
 Photo: Sweet Potato Biscuits / Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

30. Sweet Potato & Apple Quinoa Salad 

This has Thanksgiving dinner written all over it! What better way to use up all the apples and sweet potatoes available at the farmer’s market throughout the Fall season.


31. Sweet Potato Spinach Balls

What’s not to love about “meatballs” made with healthy and colorful spinach and sweet potatoes? Even your kids are sure to love these bite-size goodies. These would make a great addition to a brown rice pasta, over a salad, or served along with some roasted veggies.

sweet potato spinach balls salad
 Photo: Sweet Potato Spinach Balls/ In Simone’s Kitchen

32. Mexican Sweet Potato Skins

If potato skins are something you or your family are always drawn to when eating out, try making your own healthy version instead, this time with a Mexican twist. The beans make the skins even more filling, making them a great lunch or dinner option when served with some salad or veggies. Remember to use organic grass-fed cheese or even try using goat cheese or organic Greek yogurt, which has the tartness of sour cream.

mexican sweet potatoe skins
Photo: Mexican Sweet Potato Skins/ Pinch of Yum

SWEET POTATO RECIPES: Desserts

33. Sweet Potato Brownies 

Brownies made out of sweet potatoes might sound strange, but blended potatoes work surprisingly well to add moisture and extra gooeyness, while helping to cut down on the amount of butter and sugar needed. The same trick works well with banana, apple sauce, squash, and even beans too!

Sweet Potato Brownies, Dr. Axe Recipe Card
sweet potato brownies, Dr. Axe Recipes
Photo: Sweet Potato Brownies / Dr Axe

34. Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pie 

Coconut and almond flours make this pie dense and filling while still keeping the sugar low and traditional taste kept in tact.

gluten free sweet potato pie
Photo: Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pie / The Roasted Root

35. Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies 

A guilt-free, and gluten free, way to enjoy everyone’s favorite after dinner treat. These cookies get an upgrade using nut butter instead of flour.

sweet potato chocolate chip cookies
Photo: Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies / PaleOMG

36. “Better than Ice Cream” Sweet Potato Shake 

All of the cold, creaminess of ice cream without the heavy cream, loads of sugar, and extra fat. This is a totally plant-based way to make a smooth and delicious shake, perfect for a Fall night when you’re craving something sweet.


37. Sweet Potato Cookie Bars 

A dessert so healthy and yummy made with rolled oats, raisins, and coconut oil.  You may find yourself saving some for breakfast the next morning!

Sweet Potato Cookie Bars
Photo: Sweet Potato Cookie Bar / The Kitchen Whisperer

So next time you’re at the grocery store or farmer’s market, take a look at the versatile, super healthy sweet potatoes that you may be passing by. Keep these sweet potato recipes in mind when you’re baking something sweet for breakfast, are in need of a sugar or oil replacement, or when you’re looking for some Thanksgiving side dish inspiration this season.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy the hearty delicious goodness of sweet potato?  


Josh Axe

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