24 Best Sweet Potato Recipes to Use Up Leftovers

by Katherine Sacks

2/14/20

While brightly-colored items like ube and starfruit might get the food trend spotlight, it seems interest in the lowly sweet potato is also on the up-and-up. Thanks to its versatile texture and flavor, and its high fiber and antioxidant properties — that make it a favorite of Paleo and Keto diet devotees —year-round demand for the sweet potato is on the rise.

In fact, Americans eat nearly double the amount of sweet potatoes today as they did 10 years ago. Farmers have increased production to meet this demand, harvesting nearly 40 percent more sweet potatoes in 2017 than they did in 2012. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “It has become the ingredient you can’t escape.” Restaurant menus feature the tuber twice as often as they did four years ago; you can find everything from sweet potato hummus and pasta to sweet potato waffles on grocery store shelves; and a whole slew of cookbooks are devoted to sweet potato recipes alone.

If you are one of those folks eating more sweet potatoes than ever, then you might find yourself with more of them than you know what to do with. We know that cooking a lot of one thing leads to leftovers, which often leads to waste. In order to cut back on that waste — waste of time, food and money — here are the best sweet potato recipes to use them up.

Raw Sweet Potato Recipes

Whether your CSA box included 5 pounds of sweet potatoes, or you bought a bunch on sale at the market, if you end up with an oversupply of the sweet tubers, there’s good news: they store very well. Keep them in a cool, dry area away from light and they will keep for several weeks. Don’t put them in the fridge — the cold and moisture will accelerate their decline. When you are ready to cook them, all you need to do is give them a good scrub. The peels are perfectly edible, and packed with nutrients. Then you can boil, roast or cook them in one of these many ways:

  • Sweet Potato Fries: The sweet side you can sub in with your burger, sweet potato fries are somehow so much better than the vanilla version. They are easier to make at home too. This New York Times recipe — which has more than 2,000 reviews! — is baked rather than fried, meaning no greasy mess.
  • Mashed: Mashed potatoes are good. Mashed sweet potatoes are better. Make them sweet with cinnamon and maple syrup, add savory flavor with garlic and rosemary. Mashed sweet potatoes also make a great topping for shepherd’s pie.
  • Hash: This is an easy breakfast (or breakfast for dinner) recipe that uses a lot of sweet potatoes. Dice the potatoes, roast along with other veggies, like mushrooms and onion, as well as your choice of protein (or not), and crack a few eggs on the top at the end.
  • Fritters: Whether you call them latkes, potato pancakes or fritters, sweet potatoes are a great vegetable to use for shallow-fried pancakes. Make them purely sweet potato, or use them in with a combination of other root vegetables.
  • Gratin: A mix of cream, cheese, herbs and sweet potato, sweet potato gratin an aromatic and comforting winter recipe. It makes a great Thanksgiving side; save any leftover sweet potato scraps to mix into mashed potatoes.

Cooked Sweet Potato Recipes

  • Soup: There are so many ways to use cooked sweet potatoes in soup. Add cubed, roasted sweet potatoes to a pot of minestrone or similarly mixed vegetable/bean soup at the end of cooking. Use baked or boiled sweet potatoes to make creamy sweet potato soup; this Food52 recipe adds Middle Eastern flavor by topping the soup with feta and za’atar oil. Or use a mashed sweet potato to thicken chili or other stews.
  • Curry: Indian kormas or curries are often made with a mix of vegetables, including sweet potatoes. Add cooked sweet potatoes into the curry at the end of cooking. You can also use sweet potatoes to make Indian fritters, called pakora.
  • Baked: What’s better than a baked sweet potato? A twice-baked sweet potato. Try Barefoot Contessa’s version, mixing thyme, shallots and Taleggio cheese into the filling.
  • Burritos: Cooked diced sweet potatoes are a great addition to burritos; freeze the burritos as an easy meal prep option for meals on the go.
  • Bruschetta/Sandwiches: Another great way to use roasted sweet potatoes is as a topping for toast or a filling for sandwiches. A favorite: Smear ciabatta with a creamy aioli, then top with sweet potatoes, pickled red onions and arugula for an easy delicious lunch.
  • Salad: The easiest way to use roasted and baked sweet potatoes is adding them to salad and Buddha bowls. Give it a try with the veggie bowl recipe below.

Cooking with Mashed Sweet Potatoes 

  • Sweet potato pancakes: Give your breakfast stacks a sweet kick by adding mashed sweet potatoes into the mix. You can also make gluten-free, two-ingredient pancakes by combining mashed sweet potato and egg — grab the technique from The Kitchn.
  • Quesadillas: Mashed sweet potatoes make a simple and delicious quesadilla filling. For the simplest version, spread the tortillas with mashed sweet potatoes, top with shredded cheese, fold in half and toast in a skillet. You can also add black beans, spinach, salsa and other fillings.
  • Sweet Potato Waffles: Add zest to your morning waffles with this Food52 recipe, which mixes mashed sweet potatoes, along with orange zest, ground ginger and coconut milk, into the batter for a flavorful waffle that can be served sweet (with maple syrup and pecans) or savory (try it with avocado and a fried egg).
  • Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Making homemade sweet potato gnocchi might seem tough, but the process is actually quite simple, especially if the potatoes are already cooked. This step-by-step guide to making gnocchi can help.
  • Oatmeal: Add a boost of flavor and nutrients to your breakfast bowl of oatmeal or other hot cereal (my favorite is in polenta!) by stirring in a spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes.

Baking with Mashed Sweet Potatoes 

Sweet Potato Peel Recipes

  • Potato Peel Chips: Although you don’t need to peel sweet potatoes, some people don’t like the texture of the potato flesh and skin combined, and if that’s you, you still don’t need to throw them away! Instead, toss with a little oil, salt and spices (think cinnamon, cumin and/or paprika), and bake until crispy. These make a great snack and can be tossed into a salad or sprinkled on top of oatmeal for a sweet crunch.

How to Preserve Sweet Potatoes 

  • Freeze: To stock up on sweet potatoes, you can freeze them for up to 12 months. Cook the potatoes first, either by boiling, baking or baking and then mashing. Cool completely, and store in an airtight container in the freezer.
  • Dehydrate: Create your own sweet potato chips by thinly slicing the sweet potatoes — either with a mandolin or sharp knife — and drying them out in an oven set to the lowest temperature or in a dehydrator.
  • Can: Keep your sweet potatoes ready throughout the year by canning them. Using a light simple syrup helps keep them flavorful without being too sweet.   
bowl of roasted sweet potatoes, spinach, sunflower seeds
Roasted Winter Vegetable Bowls with Couscous, Romesco Sauce, and Tahini Drizzle, “The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook: Kid-Friendly, Plant-Based Recipes” by Jenn Sebestyen

Recipe: Roasted Winter Vegetable Bowls with Couscous, Romesco Sauce, and Tahini Drizzle 

Jenn Sebestyen, “The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook: Kid-Friendly, Plant-Based Recipes”

Yield: 4 servings

This is one of my favorite recipes in this book. The combination of flavors and textures exceeded my expectations, and now I find myself craving a big bowl. It may seem like a lot of steps, but they are all easy and can basically be done at the same time. The romesco sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Have the kids whisk up the dressing to save you one extra step.

Ingredients
For the roasted vegetables:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
8 radishes, halved or quartered if large
1 red onion, halved and sliced
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

For the couscous:
1½ cups (355 ml) water
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup (175 g) dry couscous

For the spicy toast pumpkin seeds:
½ cup (70 g) raw shelled pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

For the tahini drizzle:
⅓ cup (80 g) tahini
1 tablespoon (20 g) pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

For the bowls:
4 cups (120 g) baby spinach
1 recipe Romesco Sauce (page 166)
1 recipe Tahini Drizzle (see below)
2–4 tablespoons (28–60 ml) water, to thin

Method
For the Roasted Vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss well. Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet in one even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, stir vegetables and spread back out in one even layer and then roast for 10 to 15 minutes more.

For the Couscous: Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat, and add the olive oil and salt. Pour in the couscous and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. When all the water is absorbed, fluff with a fork. Stirring with a spoon may create clumps; a fork is best here.

For the Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: Line a small plate with parchment paper and set aside. Heat the olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne, and garlic powder in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring gently. When you start to see it sizzling, add the pumpkin seeds. Stir frequently until the seeds are toasted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the pumpkin seeds to the prepared plate. They will continue to crisp up as they sit.

For the Tahini Drizzle: Add the tahini, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar to a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add water 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time until desired consistency is reached.

To assemble the bowls: Place 1 cup (30 g) of baby spinach in a bowl, top with one-quarter of the couscous, one-quarter of the roasted vegetables, a generous dollop of Romesco sauce, 2 tablespoons (18 g) of Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, and a tablespoon or two of Tahini Drizzle.

TIP: While the vegetables are roasting, you can make all other components of the dish so that everything is ready to go when the vegetables are done.

NOTE: Don’t be afraid of the cayenne in the Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds. The seeds will taste spicy right out of the skillet, but when eaten with the other bowl ingredients, the flavors will complement each other and tone down the spiciness.

Swap It!
Make this dish gluten-free by using 1 cup (173 g) of quinoa, cooked according to package directions, in place of the couscous.

Recipe: Romesco Sauce

Jenn Sebestyen, “The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook: Kid-Friendly, Plant-Based Recipes”

Yield: about 3 cups (700 ml)

This sauce is like a pesto in texture but made with peppers. Many versions are thickened with leftover bread, but here I’m using panko bread crumbs because they’re a pantry staple and they help create that wonderful pesto-like texture. My version is smoky and a little sweet, and it pairs well with a variety of dishes. Try it on pasta or rice. Use it as a dip for garlic bread or quesadillas or simply drizzle it over roasted vegetables.


Ingredients

1 jar (12 ounces, or 340 g) roasted red peppers, drained
1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) fired roasted diced tomatoes, drained
½ cup (73 g) raw almonds
¼ cup (13 g) panko bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon (7 g) smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar

Method
Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Process until mostly smooth. It should resemble a pesto in texture, so it won’t be totally smooth.

First Published in 2019 by Fair Winds Press, an imprint © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.
Text © 2019 Jenn Sebestyen

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