When you’re trying to come up with dinner ideas that keep everyone from fussy three-year-olds to hungry 12-year-olds happy, there aren’t many things that meet the mark – especially when you want things to be healthy and quick, too.
That’s where sweet potatoes are a real lifesaver. Not only do they cook more quickly than regular potatoes, they’re also packed full of vitamins A and B. Add to this that they’re a great source of fibre and low GI and it’s easy to see why they earned their superfood title!
Whether you want to add them to a meal as a side or use them as one of the main ingredients, here are three great ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your family’s midweek dinners.
Creamy Roasted Vegetables
You’re going to read this and think it couldn’t possibly be filling enough for dinner, but you’d be amazed! This recipe feeds four, so scale up or down depending on how many hungry mouths you’re feeding.
You’ll need two large sweet potatoes, two courgettes, a handful or two of cherry tomatoes, an aubergine, an onion, and a tub of crème fraîche. For the seasoning, make sure you have a vegetable stock cube, some oregano and either rosemary or thyme.
For the prep: you’ll need to chop all the veggies into smallish cubes – about 2 cm (chop the cherry tomatoes in half). To save time, do this the night before, put them in a tub and fill with water, then keep them in the fridge overnight so they’re ready to pop into the oven.
Once you’re finished chopping, spread the veg out evenly over some oven trays – you’ll probably need two or three. Make sure it’s in a single layer so that everything gets a chance to cook.
Douse generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Next, crumble the stock cube over the vegetables, then add a tablespoon of oregano and rosemary to each tray.To make sure all the vegetables are evenly covered with the oil and seasoning, get your hands in there and mix everything up – trust us, it’s quicker and more effective than using a spoon!
Bake at 180°C for around 35-40 minutes, then test the sweet potato is soft. Spoon the crème fraîche on to the baking tray; it will mix with the vegetable juices to create a creamy sauce.
Serve with crusty garlic bread.
Sweet Potato Fries
For a healthier alternative to regular chips, mix things up with some sweet-potato fries. The key is to cut the chips roughly the same size to make sure they cook evenly – thin 'boat' shapes rather than traditional square chips tend to work better.
Once they’re sliced, put into a mixing bowl and cover with a generous amount of olive oil. If you’re feeling fancy, you could also substitute this for garlic- or chilli-infused oil to give extra flavour. Add some salt and pepper and two teaspoons of paprika.
Spread evenly on a baking tray and cook at 200°C for about 20 minutes.
If you’re short on time, a great alternative is the McCain Shake Shake Sweet Potato Fries. They come with a sea-salt and three-pepper sachet that you shake around in the bag before baking.
Baked Sweet Potato with Mackerel and Natural Yoghurt
If it’s too hot to face putting the oven on, this is a great alternative. Cooked in the microwave, sweet potatoes only take between four and eight minutes (depending on their size).
Prick the skins well before popping them in on full power. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, flake some cooked smoked mackerel into a bowl. Chop up some spring onions (chives also work nicely) and add them to the fish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Mix with natural yoghurt until all the fish is well covered. Once the potatoes are cooked (test that they’re soft with a knife), cut in half and add some butter.
Spoon on the fish mixture and serve with salad and cherry tomatoes on the side.
a collaborative post with McCain