sweet potatoes

Sweet Potatoes, The American Gift to the World

      Sweet potatoes were not known in Europe until 1492 when Christopher Columbus brought them back to Europe from his trip to the “New World”, according to George Mateljan. For years I associated eating sweet potatoes almost exclusively with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and a very sugary sweet potato casserole. Then after discovering that I had a number of food sensitivities, including white potatoes, I began to prepare sweet potatoes much more often.

         Sweet potatoes are in a different food family from white potatoes, so most people can eat them, even those who are avoiding white potatoes. They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and the mineral manganese as well as a good source of copper, iron and vitamin B6. In addition, sweet potatoes are high in fiber. They have been classified as an “anti-diabetic” food according to George Mateljan and thus are suggested for those with blood sugar issues as a substitute for white potatoes. Besides, they taste great!

     I often eat baked sweet potatoes topped with coconut oil as a side dish for dinner. The sweetness of the coconut oil complements the sweetness of the vegetable. I also often make sweet potato fries by cutting them into fry shapes, coating with melted coconut oil and baking. One recipe that I love to prepare in the fall and winter months is Sweet Potato Coconut soup.


Source: Mateljan, G., (2007). The World’s Healthiest Foods.


Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

4 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 14.5 oz. can coconut milk

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 shallot bulb, chopped

1 teaspoon lime zest

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Juice of one lime

3 medium or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1 teaspoon dried cilantro or parsley


Saute the chopped vegetables in the olive oil until soft in a large pot. Add the broth, coconut milk, lime and salt to the pot and simmer the broth on low for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and turn the heat up to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the cilantro or parsley and puree the soup with an immersion blender. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with fresh mint.

Adapted from Rebecca Katz, One Bite at a Time.

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