In Season: Sweet potatoes are usually harvested in the early fall. Since they store well, they are available year-round in most markets.
What to Look For: There are two main varieties of sweet potato: the orange-fleshed sweet potato has sweet, bright-orange flesh that takes on a creamy texture when cooked. These sweet potatoes are sometimes labeled as yams. The yellow-fleshed variety is more mealy and less sweet than orange sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be long and tapered or squat with rounded ends.
How to Store: Store sweet potatoes loose in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month.
Roasting chunks of sweet potatoes caramelizes them -- they're great to eat all on their own or tossed with crunchy nuts, tangy cheese, and crisp watercress, as in this flavorful salad. A simple lemon-honey vinaigrette ties everything together.
Black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, red onion, and fresh cilantro are tossed with a super-simple lime vinaigrette. This side dish is excellent with roast pork loin, or even on its own.
Caramelized onions get a tangy-sweet kick from balsamic vinegar. Paired with Parmesan cheese, they make a luscious topping for simple baked sweet potatoes.
Sauteed onions, red bell pepper, and jalapeno are pureed with roasted sweet potatoes to make this nutritious soup. The garnish of diced apple glazed with curry powder and white wine vinegar provides a splendid contrast of flavor and texture.
Thick, oven-baked sweet potato wedges are a great accompaniment to casual meals such as roast chicken or meat loaf. An easy dipping sauce made from soy sauce, rice-wine vinegar, and toasted sesame oil makes the sweet potatoes especially irresistible.
Fluffy homemade focaccia bread is topped with creamy Gouda cheese, toasted walnuts, fragrant rosemary, and brown-sugar-glazed sweet potato slices. Serve this unique bread as a side dish with roast pork or turkey, or cut into small squares as an appetizer.
Inspired by stuffed cannelloni, this vegetarian dish consists of blanched sweet potato slices wrapped around pureed sweet potato and diced apple, topped with shaved Parmesan and toasted walnuts. The remarkably rich taste and vibrant appearance make it an impressive and nutritious addition to the meal.