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The Sweet Potato

Ah yes, the sweet potato. The broccoli of root vegetables, the sweet potato eludes the diets of most people because of a poor marketing campaign.

It’s terribly misunderstood, which is quite because it’s one of the healthiest tastiest foods available. Many people associate sweet potatoes with the holidays either in a candied form or whipping into oblivion with cream.

But there are far better ways to cook this tuber, and you’d do well to include it among your meal stables. I know, I know: it seems weird to treat a sweet potato with such seriousness.

Much like a roast turkey, it seems unfathomable to most people that you can (and should) eat sweet potatoes nearly year-round.

Consider the facts about the Sweet Potato

Believe it or not, a sweet potato can be quite good for you whenever it isn’t being smothered in cream, marshmallows, or butter. Like with any root vegetable, the sweet potato is best when it’s been baked under high heat to soften and sweeten the insides.

A sweet potato baked in nothing else but a little olive oil will taste sweeter than you’d believe, much sweeter than any other root vegetable, and better yet it’s loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.

Not convinced? A single serving (about a cup’s worth) of baked sweet potato contains approximately the following amounts of nutritious goodness. It has more than half your day’s worth of vitamin C, a third of your daily intake of vitamin B6, and a whopping 700% of your vitamin A. A single serving also yields more than half your day’s worth of manganese, and more than a quarter of your suggested daily potassium intake. It also has over a quarter of your daily fiber and has far fewer calories than a regular potato of the russet variety. Again, this is in a single cup of baked sweet potato.

So in case I need to spell it out for you: eat more sweet potatoes! At the very least, you should try substituting them for whenever you’d normally eat an old-fashioned potato potato. And to help you ease into sweet potatoes, here’s a flavorful and healthy recipe that will win over even the staunchest doubters.

Quick recipe: Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is adapted from a similar one on Serious Eats.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • Glug of olive oil
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • Salt and pepper

Start by setting your oven to 425-450 degrees. While the oven is preheating, get out two wooden spoons and your sharpest knife.

Set a wooden spoon on each side of a sweet potato lengthwise, and with your knife make perpendicular slices into the sweet potato until the blade hits the wooden spoons, leaving a little room for the slices to stick to the skin of the potato at the bottom. Repeat process for each sweet potato.

Mix the rosemary, garlic, and olive oil together in a small bowl, and spoon the mixture across each sweet potato, making sure that bits of rosemary and garlic fall into the slices.

Once the oven is preheated, place the sweet potatoes on a greased cookie sheet or baking pan for approximately 40 minutes or until crispy. Test the doneness of the sweet potato by sticking it with a toothpick or a knife. If the potato gives easily under pressure, then it’s ready.

Once it’s finished, serve immediately and enjoy!

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