A new look at sweet potatoes

  • Article by: MEREDITH DEEDS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 22, 2014 - 2:24 PM

Give this nutritious vegetable a taste beyond the Thanksgiving meal.

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Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato for healthy family. Photo by Meredith Deeds, Special to the Star Tribune

Photo: Meredith Deeds• Special to the Star Tribune,

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My husband and I have issues. Food issues, to be precise. I was raised by a California vegetarian and he was raised by meat-and-potato loving Nebraskans, who served a minimal amount of vegetables, mostly out of a can.

In the early years of our marriage, this dietary divide caused more than an occasional rift at the dinner table.

“What is that?” my husband would ask, pointing indignantly at a bowl of steamed squash. “Whatever it is, I’m not eating it.”

sThe mere sight of him culling carrots out of stir-fry would set my teeth on edge.

Like everything else about marriage, though, compromise is often the key to success. In an effort to become a good role model for our boys, he began to try new things and even came to appreciate them. Today he could be the president of the Brussels sprouts fan club, something I never would have imagined years ago.

I began to incorporate a little more meat into our weekly diet. The common middle ground, though, was definitely the latter half of the meat-and-potato duo, which we both could wholeheartedly embrace.

Not a hard thing to do. What’s not to love about this old-fashioned, honest, salt of the earth vegetable? Still, it’s not exactly on anyone’s “superfood” list.

The same is not true for sweet potatoes. This delicious member of the dark orange vegetable family is a distant relative to the potato and, for me, it’s a culinary loophole.

They are chock-full of immune-boosting and disease-fighting benefits. Just as important, they also meet the craving for wholesome, filling food that my husband and boys have.

I roast sweet potatoes, bake them, steam them and mash them in all sorts of dishes. Since I’m a big fan of the stuffed potato, I’ve also experimented with making the sweet potato into more of a main course by filling them with a variety of ingredients with different flavor combinations.

One combination that stands out is Chipotle BBQ Chicken-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.

The slightly sweet smokiness of barbecue sauce, combined with the smoky heat of the chipotle, are perfect foils to the sweet potato.

The chicken and a healthy helping of spinach make it a hearty meal —even for the meat and potato lover at your dinner table.

 

Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.

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