Sweet potatoes are much more than a bright orange alternative to more conventional types of potatoes—and that distinctive color is a clue to what makes this food so special. Similar to carrots, the orange coloring of sweet potatoes is a sign of the vegetable’s high concentration of beta-carotene, a nutrient that supports eye health and can benefit your skin.1

That’s not all sweet potatoes have to offer. They’re a nutrient-rich source of many different vitamins and minerals, making this beautiful starch a common-sense addition to your dining table. If you’re looking for ways to adopt a healthier diet in 2021, you can start by using more sweet potatoes in the foods you make at home.

Sweet potatoes aren’t just a healthy staple of your diet—they’re also a versatile vegetable that can be cooked many different ways. Here’s a look at some of the most popular ways to feature sweet potatoes at your dinner table.

Sautéed and served as a hash

Sweet potatoes for breakfast? It’s not just possible—it’s delicious. The most common breakfast entree featuring sweet potatoes might be the sweet potato breakfast hash, where you can sauté sweet potatoes in oil with onions, bacon, or other flavorful ingredients, and serves the has alongside, or even underneath, eggs cooked in your preferred style.

It’s a more colorful upgrade over traditional potato hash, and the sweetness of sweet potatoes blends well with the savory flavors of other breakfast staples.

Roasted and served as a side

Like many types of root vegetables, sweet potatoes taste great when roasted in an oven. You can adopt a simple method of roasting sweet potatoes with a little salt, pepper, and oil, or you can mix sweet potatoes with other vegetables to create a roasted medley.

“Roasted sweet potatoes are a great side dish at lunch or dinner, and the caramelization from the roasting can enhance their sweetness,” says Alex Lowery, Communications Specialist for Farm Families of Mississippi.

Mashed and whipped

If you prefer your potatoes mashed and whipped in a traditional style, you can take the same approach with sweet potatoes. Use salted butter to bring out the flavor of your potatoes, and choose between a savory or sweet style. Savory mashed sweet potatoes can feature sage, chives or other herbs as a side for lunch or dinner, or a sweet version can come topped with marshmallows or even a drizzle of maple syrup.

Blended into smoothies

The sweetness of sweet potatoes makes this vegetable an easy addition to smoothies—especially if you’re seeking a seasonal flavor profile. Try our cooked, blended sweet potatoes in combination with bananas, cinnamon, almond milk, almond butter, coconut milk, or vanilla—or experiment with your own approach to see what you like best.

Looking for a high-protein snack or meal substitute? Add protein powder to your sweet potato shake, bulking up the nutrients in this smoothie.

Baked and loaded with toppings

A loaded, baked sweet potato is as much a culinary feat as it is an eating challenge. Sweet potatoes should be baked in aluminum foil the same way you might cook a regular potato.2 The difference comes when choosing how to load it up with toppings—which can feature a different approach than other loaded baked potatoes you’ve enjoyed in the past.

“Butter is a staple ingredient, as is salt and pepper. From there, you can experiment with different methods, opting for traditional toppings like sour cream and chives, or going farther off the beaten path,” says Alex Lowery, Communications Specialist for Farm Families of Mississippi. “Sage, thyme, cinnamon, and turmeric are all popular seasonings for baked sweet potatoes. You could also try topping with mint leaves, or drizzling maple syrup inside the potato itself.”

Sweetened and served as dessert

Baked sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows are a staple in the fall and winter months, but this isn’t the extent of this vegetable’s contributions to dessert. You can also use pureed sweet potato to make a sweet potato pie—a Southern staple, and a close cousin to pumpkin pie. Another fresh-from-the-oven option is sweet potato crumble, which features a sweet streusel crumble on top, and goes well with ice cream.3

Whether you’re looking for sweet or savory entrees and sides, sweet potatoes make it easy to add nutrient-rich veggies to your diet without sacrificing flavor. Stock up on sweet potatoes at your local farm or co-op today!