I’m not here to convince you they’re healthy. That work’s been done. The studies are in, the data has spoken. (To do your own research, just Google “sweet potato benefits.”)
This post is about showing you a quick and easy way to work this superfood into your daily or weekly routine, without having to use a microwave (yuk) or stand hungry outside an oven for an hour waiting for one to bake or roast the traditional way. Those are the kind of lackluster, real-world conditions that torpedo our best-laid plans to stick to a healthy eating plan.
If you read my first post in this series titled 2016 New Year’s Resolutions: Pixie Dust and Fairy Farts, you also know that we are moving beyond talking, reading and overthinking things. I am here to help you remove obstacles to “done.”
Get ready to shred.
If you want to actually check the box on eating more sweet potatoes, instead of just *thinking* about it, you need to take these actions:
- Get a food processor. Notice I didn’t say “buy” a food processor. If you don’t have one of your own, or can’t afford to invest in one right now, go to your mother’s house (or your grandmother’s house, or your auntie’s house, or your sister’s house, etc.) with your bag of sweet potatoes in tow. Unless you come from a family of horrible cooks all across the board, the odds of not finding someone close to you who has one is very small. If that fails, find a neighbor or a friend who won’t mind letting you come over and borrow theirs. (Bring plenty of gallon ziplocs.) If THAT fails, get or use a sturdy hand grater. Though I can almost promise you will hate that last option, because it adds significantly more time, effort and scraped knuckles to the process. And seriously, it’s never been cheaper to get your hands on a decent food processor, like this best-selling $29.99 Hamilton Beach Food Processor sold on Amazon, so my advice is to skip the takeout and Starbucks for a month until you’ve saved enough money. It’s well worth it. (You can also find inexpensive models at any Walmart or Target.)
- Purchase garnet yams at your local supermarket. If you can’t find those, try jewel, or ask the produce person to show you the sweetest variety they carry. (I normally love the white-fleshed Japanese yams, especially when roasted, but have found the texture too mealy when shredded.) Note that even though yams and sweet potatoes are technically two distinct vegetables, markets in the U.S. use the label interchangeably.
- Shred, season and bag the yams as explained below. Store them in your refrigerator, uncooked, for use throughout the week.
- Follow the cooking instructions below. It takes 5-7 minutes to cook these from scratch. Alternatively, you can pre-cook these the night before and then set them to reheat while you’re showering and getting dressed in the morning, or once you get to work. (My longtime readers know that I’d rather blow hot breath on food to warm it up rather than use a *shudder* microwave, but I leave it up to you to reheat it however you want. My reheat method of choice is my HotLogic, which I reviewed in this earlier post where it faced off against the office microwave.)
Just so we’re clear, this is your end goal by Sunday evening:
If you don’t have these shredded potatoes bagged and ready to go by the start of a new work week, this plan will likely fail.
Let me explain.
You already wake up rushed and cranky on Monday morning to begin with, just by virtue of it being Monday, and not Friday evening, which is where you wish you could turn back the clock. Tuesday? Worse. Because by then you’re wallowing in self-loathing from some crap you ate on Monday because you didn’t have your meal plan act together, and now you’re too deflated to consider “redemption by hitting the refresh button.” By Wednesday and Thursday, you’re just trying to make it through the end of the week, and by Friday you’re too busy thinking about drowning your diet-and-fitness-failures in a glass (or four) of Moscato and some pizza. Saturday you wake up bloated with a dairy, wheat and wine hangover, stumble and fart your way through your workout (if you even do it at all), and resolve to do better next week.
See? I’ve already done the work for you, to spare you the headache and bitter disappointment.
So…no. There is no “next week.” Next week is so last year. This is 2016. Which means next week is now. Next week is THIS SUNDAY. Plan accordingly, call your auntie in advance, line things up, and get to the grocery store by Saturday. No excuses. This is what works.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from Michelle Tam’s cookbook Non Nom Paleo. I took her basic recipe, then substituted my own blend of spices, and also increased the quantity measurements since I like my potatoes to pack a LOT of flavor. You should feel free to do the same. (I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking a curry version with some cumin and curry powder.) This is a very loosey-goosey recipe, not meant to be followed exactly. Adjust the seasonings to your liking. By the way, if you don’t have Nom Nom Paleo in your cookbook collection, you are missing out. Food porn at its finest. (Thanks, Michelle!)
7-Minute Sweet Potato Hash
2-4 sweet potatoes (amount depends on how many people you’re feeding)
1 Tbsp (or to taste) seasonings of choice (among my favorites are Spanish smoked sweet paprika, Takii brand umami powder, herbs d’provence, onion powder, garlic powder)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. ghee or other high-quality fat for sautéing (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, etc.)
- Rinse sweet potatoes, and trim off the ends.
- Shred potatoes in a food processor as shown, using the shredder disc and “S” blade. You may have to cut the potatoes in half to fit them into the chute.
- In a large bowl, mix in the herb seasonings of your choice with the shredded potatoes. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat the ghee or other fat over medium heat in a large frying pan, and add enough potatoes for a single layer. Stir fry the shredded potatoes for one minute to evenly coat, and then flatten a single layer of the potatoes over the entire cooking surface. (Be careful not to keep the heat too high, or the bottom will scorch.) Cook covered for 5 minutes.
- Turn the potatoes once, and cook for another minute. Serve warm.
- PALEO: Serve with a fried or poached egg, sliced avocado, and top with Sriracha or other hot sauce.
- PALEO: Serve with salmon mash, sliced avocado and top with Aji sauce (recipe coming!). Salmon mash is nothing more than a drained can of skinless/boneless wild alaskan salmon added to a hot pan of previously-sauteed diced shallots, minced garlic, grape tomatoes, and the condiments and seasonings of your choice.
- VEGAN/VEGETARIAN: Serve with sautéed onions and peppers, tofu scramble, avocado slices, and Sriracha or other hot sauce.