Sweet potatoes get a lot of attention as a popular side dish at holiday meals. But fans of this root vegetable will be happy to learn that sweet potatoes are not only a seasonal dish. This local Mississippi crop is actually a versatile food item that can be featured year-round, and at every meal of the day.

Looking for great recipes that introduce new, delicious ways of cooking with sweet potato? Here are five simple recipes to try out in 2021.

1. The perfect baked sweet potato1

It’s like a regular baked potato, but with more flavor. It’s also an incredibly simple side that you can customize based on your preferences. Gather the following ingredients:

4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean

4 Tbsp butter

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Additional toppings as desired (sour cream, chives, maple syrup, etc.)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven warms, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, place cleaned baked potatoes onto the sheet, and poke each sweet potato multiple times with a fork. Place in the oven and baked until tender, usually 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then cut open the top of each potato lengthwise with a knife. Place 1 Tbsp butter inside each potato and allow to cool. Season with salt and pepper, and add any other toppings you want to include before serving.

2. Sweet potato cobbler2

This straightforward dessert will become an instant favorite in your home. You’ll need the following ingredients:

8 c. sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

lightly salted water

2 c. white sugar

4 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 dash ground cloves

1⁄2 c. unsalted butter

1 double crust pie crust

2 Tbsp milk

1 Tbsp sugar

1⁄4 c. chopped pecans

Start by placing sliced sweet potatoes in a saucepan filled with lightly salted water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for seven minutes, or until sweet potato slices turn tender but still firm. Drain the pot, saving 2 cups of the water to use for later.

“In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add the 2 cups of water and mix in the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves,” says Alex Lowery, Communications Specialist for Farm Families of Mississippi. “Continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then add the butter and allow it to melt. Once melted, pour this mixture over the sweet potatoes, then continue cooking over medium-high heat until the syrup bubbles over the potatoes.”

Once the saucepan starts to bubble, transfer mixture to an 8×10 baking dish, cut pie crust lattice style, and place decoratively over the top of the cobbler. Brush the crust with milk, then sprinkle with sugar and pecans and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

3. Roasted, candied sweet potatoes3

This sweet, carmelized creation makes a lovely side dish to a main entree, or you can choose to save it for dessert. You’ll need the following:

5–6 medium sweet potatoes

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp water

1/4 c. pure maple syrup

1 c. packed light or dark brown sugar

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, peel and slice sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch-thick slices, like coins. Place these in a greased 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle with salt.

Create your sauce by melting the butter, then combining butter with water, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Heat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring gently until it starts to boil. Boil for two minutes, then remove from the heat and add vanilla extract. Pour over sweet potatoes, stirring to make sure they’re covered on all sides, and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with salt, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

4. Protein-rich sweet potato smoothie4

Sweet potato smoothies are simple to make, and you can customize them any way you would like. For a great base recipe, gather the following:

1 1/2 c. almond or cashew milk

1 c. cubed, peeled cooked frozen sweet potato

1/2 frozen banana

1/2 cup fresh or frozen zucchini pieces

1 serving vanilla plant-based protein powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp almond butter

“The beauty of the smoothies reside in their simplicity: Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients, add them into a blender and blend until smooth,” says Alex Lowery, Communications Specialist for Farm Families of Mississippi. “For best results, start blending on a low setting, then finish on a high setting for the creamiest texture. Pour into glasses and serve.”

5. Mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon and honey5

In just half an hour, you can make a version of mashed potatoes that offers some extra eye appeal, and some bold new flavors. You’ll need the following ingredients:

•3 to 4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

•1/2 c. salted butter

•1/4 c. honey

•1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

•1/3 c. milk

•1/4 tsp salt

Place cubed sweet potatoes into a large pot, fill with water, and cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and simmer until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain the sweet potatoes in a colander, then transfer to a mixing bowl and add in butter, honey, cinnamon, and milk. Mash using a potato masher, or blend using a hand mixer on a low setting. Add salt to taste, then serve.

Sweet potatoes aren’t just for the holiday season anymore. With these fun, innovative recipes, you’ll turn your friends and family into sweet potato super-fans!