North Carolina’s Number 1 Vegetable – Sweet Potatoes

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It’s a fact, according to the North Carolina Sweet Potato Grower, since 1971, North Carolina has been the #1 sweet potato producing state in the United States. Home to over 400 sweet potato growers, the state’s hot, moist climate and rich, fertile soil are ideal for cultivating sweet potatoes, averaging at nearly 60% of the U.S. supply.

Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, the more often you eat sweet potatoes, the better you’ll feel. Along with their delicious sweetness and mild flavor, sweet potatoes are chock full of nutrients.

As stated by the USDA some of the health benefits of sweet potatoes include;

  • VITAMIN A – When eaten with the skin on, one medium sweet potato contains over 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, which plays a role in vision, bone development and immune function.
  • FIBER – Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, which can contribute to feelings of satiety, or feeling “full” and can aid in digestion, by helping to help keep you regular. Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, and some types of cancer (a disease associated with many factors). A medium sweet potato baked in its skin has 4 grams of fiber, more than a packet of instant oatmeal.
  • POTASSIUM – Sweet potatoes contain potassium. Diets containing foods that are a good source of potassium and that are low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
  • CARBOHYDRATES – Sweet potatoes are made of complex carbohydrates that are released at a steady pace for a constant source of energy, so no sugar highs or lows to worry about.
  • CALORIES – A medium sweet potato (approximately 2 inches in diameter and 5 inches in length) contains about 100 calories when baked in the skin.

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes (about 2¼ pounds)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 500° F. Peel potatoes; cut each lengthwise into quarters. Place potatoes in a large bowl; coat with cooking spray.
  2. Combine sugar, salt, and peppers, and sprinkle over potatoes, tossing well to coat. Arrange potatoes, cut sides down, in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 500° for 10 minutes; turn wedges over. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown.

Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 153, Fat 0.4 g, Protein 3 g, Carbohydrates 35 g, Fiber 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 166 mg.

Spinach and Feta Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into  ⅛-inch thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 1 (5-oz.) bag fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup 1% low-fat milk
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1.5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about ⅓ cup)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Layer sweet potatoes in slightly overlapping concentric circles on bottom and upsides of plate, cutting slices in half to fit (rounded side up) around the sides. Coat potatoes with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until potatoes are slightly tender. Place pan on a wire rack. Increase oven temperature to 375°F.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add oil and onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add spinach; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.
  3. Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through egg whites) in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Arrange spinach mixture in crust; pour egg mixture over spinach. Sprinkle with feta. Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Let stand 5 minutes; cut into 8 wedges.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 203, Fat 9 g, Protein 13 g, Carbohydrates 18 g, Fiber 3 g, Cholesterol 197 mg, Sodium 393 mg.

Crock Pot Beef and Sweet Potato Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 90% lean ground sirloin
  • 4 cups (¾-in.) cubed unpeeled sweet potato (about 1¼ lb.)
  • 2½ cups unsalted beef stock
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup unsalted tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-oz.) can unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

Directions

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add beef to pan; cook, stirring often, just until crumbled and mostly browned, about 3 minutes. (Beef will not be fully cooked.) Remove from heat.
  2. Combine sweet potatoes and next 11 ingredients (through black beans) in a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in beef. Cover and cook on LOW 7 hours. Stir in ½ cup cilantro. Ladle chili into 8 bowls; top with cheese and remaining cilantro.

Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 349, Fat 12 g, Protein 25 g, Carbohydrates 35 g, Fiber 8 g, Cholesterol 64 mg, Sodium 655 mg.

Southwestern Sweet Potato Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Directions

  1. Combine vegetable broth, the water, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and salt in a 3½- or 4-quart slow cooker (see Tip). Stir in corn and beans.
  2. Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours. Use a potato masher to coarsely mash the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle individual servings with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 202, Fat 1 g, Protein 7 g, Carbohydrates 42 g, Fiber 8 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 491 mg.