The veggie of the week is the beloved sweet potato! And if there is one thing that the sweet potato is not, it is a potato. The delicious tuber is actually part of the root vegetable family alongside beets, turnips and parsnips. While you may be most familiar with the golden kind, hundreds of varieties grown worldwide display an array of colours such as white, cream, yellow, reddish-purple, and deep purple. Though the flavour of the little tuber varies depending on the variety, it is a sweet addition to any meal.
Apart from being a flavourful addition to sweet and savoury dishes alike, the tubers generously contribute vitamins, minerals, and important plant compounds. For instance, they are a great source of vitamins A and C, which respectively are essential for healthy eyes and skin and a functioning immune system.
Furthermore, this colourful tuber has an equally colourful and intriguing history. While many foods spread around the world in the wake of Columbus and intensified European colonisation, the sweet potato seems to have departed the shores of its native Americas long before that. Scientists have found prehistoric remnants of the tuber in Polynesia from about A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1100, suggesting that it travelled from the Andes almost 400 years before Columbus. While its seeds could have drifted on seaweed or gotten lodged in the wings of a bird, the Polynesians were likely well-equipped to traverse the depths of the Pacific, sailing sophisticated, double-hulled canoes that could carry 80 or more people and be out to sea for months.
Sweet potatoes are very versatile. They can be cooked in a variety of ways – fried, baked, boiled or steamed – and they can be used in numerous dishes, desserts, mains and as tasty sides. The suggested recipe this week is using the sweetness of sweet potato to its fullest. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato Brownies
- 1 cup sweet potato purée
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup almond butter or peanut butter
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder or cacao powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/2 cup chopped raw pecans (or sub walnuts, but we liked pecans better)
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- To make sweet potato purée, halve sweet potato and brush the cut sides with oil (optional). Add to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 190 C for ~25-30 minutes or until tender to the touch. Move to one side of pan and wrap the parchment paper over top to steam. Let steam for 5 minutes. Then peel away skin and mash in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Adjust oven temperature to 176 C and line an 8×8-inch baking pan (or similar-size pan) with parchment paper. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add sweet potato purée, maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla extract, and avocado oil and stir to combine.
- Add cacao powder, sea salt, and baking powder and stir to combine. Then add oat flour and stir until a thick, scoopable batter is achieved.
- Transfer batter to your parchment-lined baking dish and spread into an even layer using a spoon or rubber spatula. Then top with pecans and chocolate chips (optional).
- Bake on the center rack 176 C for 28-32 minutes. The brownie edges should appear slightly dry and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out mostly clean (a few crumbs are okay, but it shouldn’t be overly gooey). Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
- Lift out of pan and slice. Enjoy warm or room temperature. Store leftovers covered at room temperature up to 3 days, in the refrigerator up to 5-7 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. These brownies are delicious on their own but elevated with a scoop of ice cream.