I don’t bash russet and Idaho potatoes. There’s nothing wrong with consuming white potatoes, but in comparison to their orange sister, the sweet potato wins on almost all counts. The orange color, like most bright-colored veggies, signals phytonutrients like beta-carotene and Vitamin A. Their fiber will also keep you full longer than white potatoes, and their sweet flavor could potentially fulfill some of those sweet cravings you have.
This recipe is a staple side dish at my house. Feel free to increase or decrease the yogurt and milk to reach the texture you desire. If you like spice, try a dash of cayenne. It’s a great flavor combined with the syrup.
A note about sweet potatoes: There are two related varieties, one with paler flesh and one with more orange flesh. Long ago, Americans began to call the orange version “yams,” even though yams are a completely unrelated tuber native to South America and rarely available in your typical market. Reach for the yam in most stores, and you’re walking away with an orange sweet potato, unless the tuber has shaggy brown skin.
Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
3 pounds sweet potatoes or yams
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
A dash of cayenne pepper, if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, scrub and thoroughly dry your sweet potatoes. Wrap the potatoes in foil and puncture them with a fork several times to avoid potato explosions. Or, place potatoes on a foil-lined sheet, either whole or halved, depending on size.
Cook until extremely tender, up to 90 minutes. The potatoes should give to the touch when squeezed.
Allow the potatoes to cool. Half them and scoop the soft flesh into a mixer or food processor. Note: This process does take awhile. If you choose to make the potatoes in advance, proceed through this step and store the potatoes in the fridge or freezer.
Add remaining ingredients, and process the mixture until it reaches the consistency you desire. If your potatoes have cooled too much, heat the milk before adding it to the mixture, or heat the finished potato mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.
Kate Jonuska is a freelance writer, photographer, food blogger and tech enthusiast who is also dining critic at The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs. (Thus the reason for no headshot here.) On the rare occasions when she's not cooking or eating, you'll find her hiking with her beloved dog, a corgi named Ein.