An Ode to the Sweet Potato

Photo by Charleston’s TheDigitel under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Oh, darling sweet potato,
Sweet apple of the earth,
How I love thee.
You astound me with your flexibility:
I can bake you, boil you, mash you or broil you,
And always, you are delicious.
Where are the love songs for the sweet potato?
I sprinkle you on salads,
nestle you next to salmon or chicken,
or even eat you plain for breakfast. 
And you demand nothing of me.
You are cheap, hardy, and tenacious.
I can ignore you for weeks in the bottom drawer of my fridge
And you still appear fresh,
(unlike the greens and delicate herbs and berries you often you bunk with that are spoiled after mere days.)
You tolerate abuse.
I can leave you a little too long in the oven,
and you somehow become even more delicious.
My kid chucked you on the floor the other day, and though your tail chipped off,
you were largely unharmed and unchanged, and always, uncomplaining.
You don’t need a lot – maybe a splash of olive oil,
a sprinkle of salt.
Your sweet deliciousness blossoms through cooking.
You are the sweet ground apple of my eye.


My favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes these days:

I found this carmelized sweet potatoes with quinoa and greens recipe while trying to use up some kale, and it’s become a favorite.  I’ll admit my kids aren’t the biggest fans, but Nice Tall Guy approves. Keeps in the fridge for several days and makes for great leftovers-for-lunch.

My younger sister made mashed sweet potatoes with chipotle chili powder for Thanksgiving one year, and I’ve been hooked ever since. So much more interesting than regular mashed potatoes, in my opinion.

Most of the time, though, I just bake a bunch of sweet potatoes at the beginning of the week and use them on salads for lunch or dinner for the next day or two. Delicious!

Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese & Toasted Pine Nut Salad

I’m anything but a precise cook, so amounts are very approximate.

  • 2-3 sweet potatoes peeled and cut in chunks
  • goat cheese (a few ounces, depending on how cheesy you want it)
  • several handfuls of toasted pine nuts
  • salad greens (I like arugula, but whatever you have on hand…spinach, etc, will work)
  • olive oil
  • salt

Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt on a baking sheet. Bake sweet potatoes in 400 degree oven until soft and beginning to brown (20ish minutes.)  Flip potatoes half-way through for best results.

Once potatoes have cooled, toss with greens, crumble goat cheese and throw in toasted pine nuts.  I usually make a dressing with olive oil, white wine vinegar, a dab of dijon mustard, a dash of salt and pepper.  Yum!


4 thoughts on “An Ode to the Sweet Potato

  1. Thanks, Heather, for another great column in your blog. Really gets me inspired to start cooking more with the wonderful sweet potato. And your recipes sound great!! Lots of delicious ideas for this fall and winter. Love, Mom

  2. Heather: I love your ode to the sweet potato! The recipes sound delicious. I can see I’ve been missing out on something. –Aunt Candy

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