Fall is Sweet Potato Time
Maybe it’s the falling leaves, or the chill creeping into the morning air, but for some reason, I’m craving sweetness. The Halloween candy displays have been up in stores for weeks, promising sugary oblivion. This is a good time to bake up a bunch of sweet potatoes. I want to fill my belly with warm, energizing foods, not junk. Sweet potatoes just do it for me.
Sweet Potatoes are Nature’s Candy
My Coop is sweet potato central, offering up this gorgeous pile of sweet potato varieties. Those purple ones in front are Stokes Purples, which I wrote about here, and made into a dramatic blue cookie.I used them in a tasty wrap sandwich here.
The white ones are my go-to when I am cooking for my gluten-free clients, and I use them to make noodles. Their pale color makes it easy to slip them in to thicken soups and bind savory cakes, when you can’t use grains.
But the classic burnished orange of the Garnet yam calls out to me in Fall. Maybe it’s the artist in me, looking for Autumn colors. That orange sure looks good on the plate.
Eat More Orange Foods
The sweet potato gets alot of love these days because of the fiber. Sweet as it is, even the low-carb people are on board. Sweet potatoes have unique storage proteins called “sporamins” that are being studied for their antioxidant activity. Of course, all that orange color comes from Carotenoids, which we know are excellent at protecting your cells, and which convert to much needed Vitamin A in the body. One cup of mashed sweet potato gives you over 100 % of your daily needs of Vitamin A, 52% of the Vitamin C, 50 % of the manganese, 36% of the copper, and good sprinkling of B-Vitamins and other minerals.
It Tastes Like Candy
For these tasty treats, I went to another plant-based source of sweetness, the onion. You may not think of the onion as a sweet food, but once you slowly saute them in olive oil, you will see them differently. Once the heat of the sulfur compounds in raw onions is dissipated, the pure sweetness underneath can come to the fore, and gentle heat caramelizes it for a natural sugar boost.
It was all so sweet that I needed to balance it out with some savory fresh thyme and some salt. That’s it. Simple. Walnuts add crunch and richness. Don’t even think about how good they are for you.These are creamy, if you want something more solid, add a cup of whole wheat bread crumbs.
Cheese lovers can always add a crumble of blue cheese or goat cheese, for a little tangy counterpoint.
This is comfort food, just a sweet, lush mouthful of orange candy.
Welcome Fall, with a stuffed sweet potato!
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Walnuts
- 4 small sweet potatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 pounds yellow onions chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan and cut a slit the length of the top of each one. Roast for about 30 minutes, until very tender all the way through, let cool.
- Place the olive oil in a large saute pan and add the onions, stir over medium-high heat until the onions start to soften and sizzle. Lower to medium-low and stir every 10 minutes for about an hour, and lower to low if they start to stick. Take your time, they should be caramel colored when done. If they are soupy at the end, raise the heat and cook them until they are very thick.
- Carefully cut an opening in each sweet potato and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl, leaving a bit behind to support the shell. Add the onions, salt, thyme and walnuts and mix well. Spoon into the potato shells. Bake for 30 minutes, let stand for 5 before serving.