Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse root vegetable packed with flavor and nutrition. Skip the marshmallows, brown sugar or maple syrup. Simply simmer until tender, drain, mash and add a little butter or olive oil. Fresh chopped rosemary is a nice addition. Mashed sweet potatoes make a healthy side dish any time of the year and are a good basic to have in your cooking rotation.
Yams or Sweet Potatoes?
One of the oldest vegetables known to mankind, sweet potatoes are filled with magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, iron, copper and the antioxidant beta-carotene, not to mention fiber. Sweet potatoes are a healthy carb to add to your diet.
Sweet potatoes or yams? While many people use the term interchangeably, sweet potatoes and yams are two different root vegetables. What we buy here in the US are really sweet potatoes, not yams, so I am told. True yams do not grow in the US. More starchy and less sweet, you might find them at an ethnic grocer.
How to Cut Up Sweet Potatoes
Large, long and rounded with pointy ends, sweet potatoes can be a challenge to safely cut up for cooking. Here’s how to handle them while staying safe:
- First peel
- Cut them in half across the middle for a more manageable size
- Cut a slice off the long side to give you a flat edge
- Lay the sweet potato flat on your cutting board for stability
- Cut those pieces into long planks about a 1” wide
- Cut the planks into 1″ pieces
Simmer and Whip
Once all of your potatoes are cut into cubes, place them in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Add a little salt and bring them to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are very soft when pierced with a sharp knife tip. With the small size of the cubes, it won’t take long. Last time I made them it was ten minutes.
Drain, allow potatoes to steam dry for a few minutes in the hot pan, then mash with an electric hand mixer until creamy and smooth. Add a little butter or olive oil and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and serve. If you’d like more of a garnish, chopped, toasted pecans work perfectly.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or fresh thyme
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans garnish, optional
- Peel sweet potatoes. If they are large, cut them in half crosswise to make them more manageable. Trim a piece from the long side of the sweet potato to create a flat surface. Place the flat surface on the cutting board for stability and cut the potato into planks about 1″ in width. Then cut the planks into the same size diced potatoes.
- Place the potatoes into a medium saucepan or pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn down if needed once the potatoes are cooking. You don’t want to boil them (they will fall apart). Cook until the potatoes are very soft when pierced with a sharp knife tip.
- Drain the potatoes and place them back in the pan on the warm (but turned off) burner for a few minutes.This will steam off excess moisture. Mash the potatoes with an electric handheld mixer or an immersion blender with the whip attachment. Add butter or olive oil and rosemary. Serve warm.