When I think of Thanksgiving, I instantly imagine my grandma’s sweet potato casserole – rich, buttery sweet potatoes covered with a gooey layer of toasted marshmallows. Yet, sweet potatoes are way more versatile than this traditional Thanksgiving staple. Easily transformed to be mashed, twice-baked, roasted, puréed into soup, or baked into a casserole, there are so many ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your family dinner. Plus, they’re way more nutritious than their white counterparts. So while you’re chowing down on stuffing, turkey and cranberry sauce, at least you can feel good about the awesome amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene packed inside those sweet potatoes…right?
1. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Sweeter and more nutrient-dense than your traditional white potato, mashed sweet potatoes are a simple and delicious side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. Try an even sweeter version flavored with maple syrup and cinnamon or a more savory, spicy version infused with chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. For a healthier alternative, try folding in Greek yogurt for extra creaminess and added protein.
2. Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Take your once-baked potato to the next level by scooping out the insides, flavoring them with your favorite spices and toppings, filling them back into the skin and baking them until golden brown. The perfect combination of crunchy skin and creamy pulp, twice-baked potatoes are infinitely better than traditional baked potatoes. For sugar-lovers, combine the sweet potato flesh with brown sugar, cinnamon and cream cheese. Or try a salty version by using chives, bacon and cheddar cheese. Get an awesome (healthier) recipe here.
3. Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Nothing is simpler than roasted sweet potatoes for a quick and easy side. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes and then place them on a rimmed baking sheet with your favorite additives. Try bacon, thyme, salt and pepper for a savory kick, roasting the potatoes for roughly 30 minutes. Another option is to add onions, rosemary and olive oil for a hearty, yet light dish that is ready to please a crowd in no time. For those with an extra sweet tooth, try this recipe.
4. Sweet Potato Soup
Nothing is more soothing on a cool fall day than a warm bowl of soup. For Thanksgiving, sweet potato soup is as a perfect appetizer to your meal. Try creating a sweet potato soup infused with ginger and coconut milk for a more exotic flavor, or cling to a more traditional base that is seasoned with green apple, carrots, celery, onions and bay leaves.
5. Sweet Potato Casserole
My personal favorite: sweet potato casserole is a Thanksgiving staple in my family. I love adding brown sugar, butter and cinnamon to boiled, mashed sweet potatoes and topping the mixture with mini marshmallows. I toast them until they are perfectly golden brown and cannot get enough of them! Yet, people have their differences. My sister prefers a sweet potato casserole with a rich topping consisting of brown sugar, pecans, flour and butter…so why not try both? The more the merrier, right?