Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oh So Sweet Potato

Ahhhh the beautiful sweet potato. Though rarely seen other than under a blanket of brown sugar and marshmallows at Thanksgiving, the sweet potato really should become a weekly family favorite.  The orange hue of this beauty lets you know that it's PACKED with vitamin A, also known as the power-punch-packing antioxidant, beta carotene.  Sweet Potatoes are absolutely loaded with beta carotene, as well as being rich in vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and iron.  Now, I may be one of the lucky few who enjoys the skin on my potatoes but, if you're someone who always removes the skin before cooking them, then... STOP IT!!!  The skin contains the greatest amount of health promoting, cancer preventing, antioxidant activity so, figure out a way to enjoy your potatoes with the skin on (I recommend starting with this recipe for my Sweet Potato Chips) and enjoy this fibrous food that will make you feel full while providing you with a ton of health benefits.

Shopping List:
2 sweet potatoes (often labeled as "yams" in the grocery store)

From the Pantry:
olive oil cooking spray

cutting board
cookie sheet
sharp knife

Consideration:  These "chips" will bake down in size considerably the longer they're in the oven.  Though your cookie sheet may seem rather full when you begin, by the time they're through, all the chips should crisp up nicely.

Preparation:  Thoroughly rinse skin of sweet potatoes, removing the ends and any indented black spots you see.  Slice sweet potatoes into about 1/8 to 1/16 inch rounds; basically, the thinner, the better the chips will crisp up in the oven.  Spray cookie sheet lightly with olive oil and spread out sweet potato rounds evenly.  Spray tops of sweet potatoes lightly with olive oil then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste (I add a little cayenne to mine sometimes too when I'm hankerin' for a little heat).  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place sweet potatoes in oven for 15 minutes.  When timer goes off, remove potatoes, flip over, repeat olive oil spray and seasonings, and bake for additional 15 minutes.  This dish really seems to delight friends because it's easy, fun, and super delicious (and few people know just how nutritious).  Enjoy sans condiments or with a side of ketchup.

There's really never enough of these to go around so, it's hard to determine a recommended serving size.  Sweet potatoes are virtually fat free, provide about 180 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 76mg of calcium in about a one cup serving.  So just remember,  you get tons of nutrients for relatively few calories, a natural source for dietary fiber, which is great for your digestive health, and a plethora of other wonderful enzymes and antioxidants that work harmoniously to promote health and wellness in your body.

Try and improve this recipe with your own flavor combos and let me know how it goes.  I bet this recipe with a little bit of parsley, garlic, or oregano might be delish but, it could also be the BOMB! with just a sprinkling of cinnamon.  The options are endless and I can't wait to try them all!!!


  1. I tried out this recipe this weekend actually. It was quite delicious even though I didn't have much success at creating the "crispiness" I normally associate with chips, but I had trouble getting my chips as thin as I wanted. Sweet potatoes seem to come in squiggly or curvy shapes usually, and I was surprised at how solid they were; cutting it wasn't easy. Suffice to say, I had a hard time cutting the chips uniformly and thin. Do you have any tips for achieving this? I was thinking afterwards that a grating plane might have come in handy.

  2. This is one of the trickiest elements of this dish - achieving the desired crispiness. In order for the chips to crisp up they must be thin enough and the temperature, high enough. Also, depending on how many you are trying to make at one time, you may need to leave them in for longer than just the recommended 15 min. per side. There are different items on the market such as potato slicers or potato cutters that can be helpful in getting uniformly thin chips but my recommendation is really just practice makes perfect. I have made this dish many times and I still end up with a few pieces that don't crisp up as well because of their thickness. A technique that has helped me is to cut the sweet potato into 2 or 3 smaller sections before I start to dice into thin pieces. I seem to have better control and therefore produce thinner slices.