Venn Diagram Cooking: Making the Most of Sweet Potatoes

by Lentine Alexis
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Venn Diagram Cooking: Making the Most of Sweet Potatoes

Remember when you were in grade school and you had to study Venn Diagrams — with intersecting circles that show where things overlap and different elements collide to create endless possibilities? Your kitchen is like that, too, especially when it comes to sweet potatoes.

You’ve seen just how easy it is to turn simple ingredients like eggs and oats into over-the-top delicious meals. Did you know you could make the same stellar spreads and snacks with sweet potatoes? Below, we dive into three quick and easy recipes to make meals out of minimal pantry items. With just a few additions, you can make snacks, lunches and dinners with healthy, nutrient-rich sweet potatoes. As always, we assume your pantry has a few basics. Olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt and maple syrup are all things you’ll want in your pantry to make any meal great, and you’ll certainly use them here.

+       1 INGREDIENT: Tahini + Sweet Potatoes = Sweet Potato Hummus

Chop one large sweet potato and toss it generously with olive oil and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 375°F oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Let the potato cool slightly. Then, transfer to a blender or food processor and puree with 2 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons tahini and 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add 1 cup water. The mixture’s texture will resemble hummus. If not, add a bit of extra water until smooth. Makes 8 servings at 1/4 cup each.

Bonus: Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime.

+       2 INGREDIENTS: Yogurt + Herbs + Sweet Potato = Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Creamy Yogurt Dressing

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss 2 pounds whole sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then tear into pieces (no need to remove skin), then spread out on the same baking sheet again and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until crisp around the edges. In the meantime, whisk together 1 1/4 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Makes 4 servings at 1 cup each.

Bonus: Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed chilies and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds to the yogurt. Spread the chili yogurt on a plate, top with sweet potatoes and sprinkle with fresh mint or cilantro. Sprinkle with another pinch of sea salt, a small drizzle of olive oil and enjoy.

+       3 INGREDIENTS: Radicchio + Sausage + Yogurt + Sweet Potatoes = Sweet Potato + Radicchio Salad with Sausage

Preheat the oven to 400°F and combine 1 clove crushed garlic with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Prick 2 large sweet potatoes with a fork and smear with 1/2 of the garlic olive oil (set the remaining garlic olive oil aside.) Season the potatoes with salt and roast on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper for 45 minutes, until soft. Let the sweet potatoes cool slightly, then slice in half and brush with reserved garlic oil. Cook the potatoes cut side down in a heavy skillet over medium heat, until browned and charred in some places. Transfer to a plate and reserve the skillet.

Place the torn leaves of 1 head radicchio in a bowl. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in the reserved skillet over medium-high heat and toss in 8 ounces merguez (or other spicy) sausage. Cook through, breaking up with a wooden spoon (maybe stir in some pepper or chili flakes if you have it!). Transfer the meat to a plate with a slotted spoon, reserving the skillet again. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon sherry, red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Drizzle over radicchio. Add reserved sausage to the radicchio and toss to coat.

Mix 1/3 cup Greek yogurt with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon water (to thin) then drizzle over plates and top with roasted sweet potatoes. Add sausage and radicchio mixture and serve. Makes 4 servings at 1 cup each.

Bonus: Divide 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint and 2 tablespoons toasted pecans among the plates.

About the Author

Lentine Alexis
Lentine is a curious, classically trained chef and former pro athlete. She uses her bicycle, raw life and travel experiences and organic ingredients to inspire athletes and everyone to explore, connect and expand their human experiences through food. She previously worked as a Chef/Recipe Developer/Content Creator and Culinary Director at Skratch Labs – a sports nutrition company dedicated to making real food alternatives to modern “energy foods.” Today, she writes, cooks, speaks and shares ideas for nourishing sport and life with whole, simple, delicious foods.


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