Ah, the humble sweet potato – the most versatile root vegetable (in my opinion). On the outside, it looks underwhelming, but when you boil it, roast it, or sautee it, the possibilities are endless! While I have been struggling with health issues over the last few months, my diet has had to change. As a result, I no longer consume many of the processed foods and snacks that I used to enjoy. However, I really don’t miss those foods at all, mostly because I found ways to make delicious food using vegetables and fruits in unique ways.
Sweet Potato 101
Whenever someone changes their diet, people tend to ask “how are you getting enough of this or that?” The answer is simple – there is a lot of misinformation about nutrition and, in many cases, people have a skewed version of what they think is healthy or adequate when it comes to protein, minerals, etc. Many of the key nutrients your body needs are easily obtained by eating legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Take the sweet potato for instance – according to the Center for Nutritional Studies and USDA, if baked sweet potatoes (no salt) made up half of your diet, you would get a multitude of your daily required nutrients, including fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B. Yes, really – all those nutrients from sweet potatoes!
If you are thinking that a simple, unsalted sweet potato a day would get boring pretty quickly, you are right, but that’s where the incredible magic of sweet potatoes comes in. You can put them in almost everything. I have made muffins, bread, pizza, veggie burgers, brownies, hummus, and numerous other delicacies by incorporating sweet potatoes into the recipes instead of processed carbohydrates, fat, and sugar. In most cases, after a little trial and error, the results are absolutely delicious and more satisfying than processed foods.
Tip: When possible, try to use the potato skin in recipes, as a lot of the nutrition comes from it.
To give you a taste of sweet potato magic, here is a recipe for sweet potato brownies. I loosely adapted this recipe from Deliciously Ella’s version. Depending on your dietary needs, you may also like to try her recipe. For me, I made them without oils and using gluten-free flour.
Sweet Potato Brownies [vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, nut-free]
½ cup gluten-free flour (e.g., Cup4cup)
½ cup oat flour
12 large medjool dates (soaked in hot water)
8 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
6 Tablespoons cacao powder
2-3 Tablespoons oat milk
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium to large sweet potatoes (baked, boiled, or roasted)
2 Tablespoons date sugar
1 tsp maple syrup
3 Tablespoons cacao powder
3-4 Tablespoons oat milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 F
- Cook the sweet potatoes (I used the microwave, but an instant pot works well too)
- Mix gluten-free flour, oat flour, cocao powder, salt, and baking powder together
- puree dates and applesauce
- mash the sweet potatoes
- Add the sweet potatoes, date/applesauce puree, and oat milk to the dry ingredients
- Mix until combined (add more oat milk if necessary, but batter should be thick)
- Bake for 30-35 minutes
- Cool for 15 minutes (yes, they must cool!)
- Blend icing ingredients and spread over cooled brownies
I hope you enjoy these brownies. Even if you don’t, that’s okay too! I would encourage you to play around with the recipe until you find the texture and taste that you like. I think every person has their own preferences when it comes to brownies (who hasn’t heard the cakey vs fudgey argument before?!). In any case, the important thing is to try incorporating simpler, cleaner ingredients into your recipes.