A Sweet Recipe for Your Thanksgiving Table

November 25, 2014
Fintrac Inc. Janet Okumu Osundwa shows off some recently harvested orange-flesh sweet potatoes in Kenya.

We asked for your help spreading the word about global hunger this November by sending us your favorite sweet potato recipes and your response was incredible! We received unique recipes from across the United States and even a few from other countries around the world.

The votes are in and our panel of judges has picked six winners. If you’re looking for a last-minute dish for your Thanksgiving table this year, consider one of the winning sweet potato recipes below. Thanks to everyone who participated!

You can still help spread the word this Thanksgiving that global hunger is solvable and that the world is making progress in ending it. Share a sweet potato photo from your Thanksgiving along with a note on what you’re thankful for this year. Just add the hashtag #feedthefuture to your post to join the conversation.

Happy Thanksgiving!


And the winners are... 

Best Overall:

Most Creative:


First Place - Best Overall 

Sweet Potato Latkes (Virginia)

Submitted by: Eric Boyle

“Every year, I challenge myself to incorporate different cultural traditions into our family’s Thanksgiving meal. For example, one year I made South Asian food for Thanksgiving, which included sweet potato chutney as a side dish.

In 2013, Thanksgiving and Hanukah were on the same day, so we made a meal based on Jewish tradition. The dish I made that year was Sweet Potato Latkes. I took a recipe from epicurious.com and then altered parts to make it my own.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 2 green onion tops, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper (paprika)
  • Other spices to taste
  • 3/4 cup sunflower oil  (or any vegetable oil)
  • Sour cream or cranberry sauce (preferably cranberry chutney)

Directions:

  • Stir together potatoes, onions, flour, eggs, salt, pepper, and other spices.
  • Heat oil in a deep nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.
  • Working in batches of 4, spoon 1/8 cup potato mixture per latke into oil and flatten with a slotted spatula. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Transfer latkes with spatula to paper towels to drain.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream or cranberry chutney (or both!) to taste.

Second Place - Best Overall 

Sweet Home Sweet Potatoes (Indiana)

Submitted by: Andrea Mayfield-Witt

“My name is Andrea and I am a stay-at-home-mom who recently started a small blog called Vermilion Lane where I share my recipes, parenting ideas and crafts. I am so excited to share this recipe that I created especially for the Feed the Future sweet potato recipe contest. I have included a link to a video about why I made it and how to make the recipe with ease.

I grew up with the scent of sweet potatoes dancing around my mother's kitchen as well as my nana's kitchen and great-grandmother’s too. Making sweet potatoes, fall through winter, is a tradition I hold dear. Pies, soups, mashed, roasted, boiled and baked—you name it, we ate it that way. I consider it an honor to share that rich heritage with my children through hearty recipes like this one called Sweet Home Sweet Potatoes. I combined several recipes of generations of women in my family to make a new one. It is roasted sweet potatoes in yellow bell pepper cups topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, and raspberry balsamic jam drizzle. Yum!

I am inspired by the work Feed the Future does to bring sustenance to people all over the world. Your herculean efforts inspire and motivate me to spread the word that hunger exists for millions. But most importantly, share the knowledge that by working together in small ways, every day, this mountain of hunger we face is moveable. It is changeable; one child, one sweet potato at a time.”

Ingredients:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cut in ½ inch cubes)
  • 5 yellow bell peppers (tops and seeds removed)
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6 ounces (approx.) goat cheese
  • 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of a half lemon (approx.)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place sweet potato cubes in a large mixing bowl. Add extra virgin olive oil and mix with spoon or hands until well coated. Sprinkle salt and pepper over sweet potatoes and mix throughout.
  • Spread sweet potatoes on large non-stick baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  • Stir halfway through roasting time.
  • Place yellow bell peppers in baking dish. Pour roasted sweet potatoes into large mixing bowl.
  • Turn oven down to 400 degrees.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop sweet potatoes into bell pepper cups. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. (Loosely cover with a sheet of aluminum foil if tops begin to over darken while roasting.)
  • During the last 10 minutes of roasting, begin to make balsamic jam drizzle.
  • Simmer raspberry jam, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice in small sauce pan over lowest heat setting for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove sweet potato stuffed peppers from oven and immediately pour hot balsamic jam drizzle over top.
  • Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds, parsley and goat cheese on top.
  • Enjoy!

Third Place - Best Overall 

Sweet Potato Bacon Casserole (Haiti)

Submitted by: Yves-Laurent Regis

“In the Caribbean, we know the sweet potato very well: this sweet, tuberous root with its rich sweet flavor and mildly starchy texture. Usually, in Haiti, it is boiled and served with other vegetables, green leaves including sweet potato leaves, yams and/or plantains. However, the sweet potato can also be eaten in savory as well as sweet dishes. The sweet potato is widely eaten by the whole population. The sweet potato is very versatile and can be cooked in various ways.

Sweet potato is a very nutritious food to consider in a diet diversification effort. Colleagues from the Nutrition Security Program are pleased to enter the contest and to share the following recipe. “

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound potatoes
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 ½ cups full cream
  • 10 oz. chopped bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Directions:

  • Peel and slice the potatoes into medium-sized slices.
  • Boil the sweet and regular potatoes in lightly salted water until half cooked. 
  • Lightly brown the bacon and onion in the hot oil. 
  • Preheat your oven. 
  • Dice the garlic. Butter a casserole dish, alternate slices of sweet potatoes and potatoes, garlic, bacon and onion mixture. The top should be a layer of potatoes.
  • In the same pan used for the bacon and onion, pour the cream and garlic cloves and heat for 2 minutes without letting it boil. 
  • Pour the hot cream in the casserole dish. 
  • Cover with aluminum foil and cook at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

First Place - Most Creative

Sweet Potato Milkshakes (Vermont)

Submitted by: Deirdre Holmes

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon or lime
  • Any spices you like, such as cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and/or mint (optional)

Directions:

  • Bake washed but unpeeled sweet potatoes in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for approximately 45 minutes or until soft on the inside.
  • Allow to cool, and remove skin (this will slip right off).
  • In a blender or food processor, combine milk, ice cubes, lemon or lime juice, and maple syrup. Add any additional flavors you like (I put in a few pieces of crystalized ginger).
  • Puree mixture until smooth. Adjust for desired consistence by adding more milk or more ice cubes.
  • Pour into glasses. Garnish with a sprig of mint (optional), sit back and enjoy.

If you can resist drinking it all at once, pour the remaining milkshake mixture into popsicle molds and freeze. You’ll have a mighty fine “creamsicle” – made with only real food ingredients and all the nutritional goodness of the sweet potato “superfood.”


Second Place - Move Creative

Curried Sweet Potato Patties with Ginger (Virginia)

Submitted by: Monica Brinn

“When I was living in Charles Hill, Botswana, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I had to get creative with my food. I did not have the usual wealth of produce available, so I had to learn how to integrate the locally grown vegetables into my cooking. Sweet potato and butternut squash were in this repertoire.

This recipe is great because you can make and eat the patties right away or cook and freeze them individually, to be had later. They are equally tasty hot or cold. They can be made bite-sized as a canapé or full-sized. They can be eaten on their own, as a side dish, in a roll with mayonnaise or chutney, under a poached or fried egg. The possibilities are endless!

The measurements in this are all very rough and doubling or tripling the amounts can easily increase the quantity. Experimentation will find the right balance for you.”

Note: All curry powders are different, so the amount must be personalized to have the right level of spiciness for your taste! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 very large sweet potatoes or yams (or more smaller ones or one small or medium butternut squash)
  • 1 small or medium onion (or half of a large one), finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger (approximately), grated or finely minced (no need to peel)
  • Pepper, finely chopped (if you wish this to be spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (Masala may also be used)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg
  • Flat-bottomed pan/skillet (non-stick or cast iron are ideal, but not necessary)

Directions:

  • Peel the sweet potatoes and grate. Add a teaspoon of salt and toss them around.
  • Put the grated potatoes in a mesh sieve or a colander and set that over a bowl to allow the moisture to drip out. Otherwise, just leave them in a bowl.
  • Heat about a tablespoon of oil (you can use part butter here if you have it and want to) in the pan over low-medium heat.
  • Add the onion and a pinch of salt and toss the onions to coat.
  • Slowly cook the onions and allow them to brown but not burn. (Trick: As there are brown bits on the bottom of the pan, add a splash of water and they will come up coating the onions with that flavor! Note: This caramelizing process is not absolutely necessary, but will complement the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.)
  • Once the onions are cooked, add the garlic and ginger (and pepper). Cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Mix the curry (or Masala) in a small dish with an equal amount of water and stir to make a paste.
  • Add this paste to the onion mixture and cook until the water cooks off and you are left with a paste of onions, garlic, ginger and curry.
  • Remove from heat and transfer into a large mixing bowl. By now, the water should be draining from the potatoes. It is best to try to get them as dry as possible. Either wrap the grated potatoes in a clean towel and twist to wring out the water or take a handful at a time and squeeze out the water.
  • Place the ‘wrung out’ grated potatoes in the bowl with the curry and onion mixture. Thoroughly mix around to coat it all.
  • Add the flour and toss to coat.
  • Beat the egg(s) and add to the mixture. It is often best to use your hands to make sure that the eggs and flour have been distributed evenly. It shouldn’t be pasty, but you want to be able to make patties. (If it feels too dry or too wet, add a bit of flour or an additional egg to adjust.)
  • Using your hands, shape patties out of the mixture. Set the patties on a flat surface and make your way through the rest of the mixture.
  • Finally, add a dusting of flour on both sides of the patties to help bind them and to brown. Wash your hands, which will be a mess! Heat oil to cover the bottom of the same flat-bottomed pan, although it is best to clean it to avoid burning any residue. (Trick: You will know when the oil is hot enough to cook when a pinch of flour sizzles when you drop it in. Don’t let the oil start smoking or burn. If that happens, pull the pan off the heat for a moment to cool off.)
  • Cook the patties in the hot oil. Put them in the pan, a few at a time. Don’t crowd the pan. Let them cook on one side until they are nice and golden brown. This should take 3-5 minutes, but will depend on the pan and the heat. If they start to burn, turn down the heat. (Trick: Resist the temptation to smash the patties or turn them before they are ready. Let them cook and they will bind together better!)
  • Once the patties are golden on one side, gently turn them and cook until golden on that side. Remove from heat and put on a paper towel or cooling rack. Repeat until all are cooked. These are really nice with a dollop of mango chutney, achar and/or Greek yogurt on top. (Trick: Once they are cooled all the way, they can be wrapped individually and put in the freezer. The frozen patties will defrost for reheating in the pan within an hour or so. They can also be microwaved from frozen or heated in an oven.)

Third Place - Most Creative

Yam Jelli (Canada)

Submitted by: Lisa Kong

“I came to develop this "yam jelli" recipe to feed my four-year-old daughter healthy snacks. She was born with severe anaphylaxis. Even if she touched a cookie (that had traces of eggs, dairy, soy, nuts) and licked her fingers, she could go into an anaphylactic shock. She is not allergic to regular jellies (sugar) but the effects of refined sugar and processed foods were more obvious on her more than other healthy kids. So, I tried steamed, baked and fried sweet potatoes, which she doesn't hate but doesn't like either. However, she loves the chewy sweet potato jellies. The texture is just like jellies and is very sweet from concentrated natural sugars. The added perks are that they are portable and last for two weeks in an airtight bag.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato

Directions:

  • Steam sweet potatoes with peels on for 30 minutes or until a chopstick can run through.
  • Peel and cut into 1-centimeter slices.
  • Lay the slices flat and dry for 48 hours, or 10 hours at lowest temperature in a food dehydrator.
  • Enjoy!

Editor’s Note: Did you know sweet potato and yams are two different vegetables