Mashed roasted sweet potatoes are the way to go

mashed sweet potatoes
© Melissa Breyer

This may be the perfect way to serve sweet potatoes; it's easy, delicious, and beautiful to behold.

Look, I know there are people who love their sweet potatoes whipped smooth and swimming in a sea of marshmallows. But for anyone looking for a more rustic alternative that is less sickly sweet, more flavorful, healthier, has a great creamy-chunky texture, is easier to make, and is so pretty, this is for you.

The method is so simple; you roast halved sweet potatoes for 40 minutes, and then you can mash them when they are ready, or stow them in the fridge for up to three to five days and mash them when you are ready.

I love this because the roasting method is extremely unfussy, as opposed to ways in which you might normally cook sweet potatoes before mashing. It also gives them a little extra caramelization for a deeper flavor, and it since it's a dry heat cooking method, it makes them a little less watery, which is a good thing for some of the soggier varieties.

For the ones shown above, I used a mix of garnet, Japanese, Hannah, jewel, and purple – all available at my local market. They all have different textures and flavor notes, and thrown all together it's just heaven. The softer orange varieties go pudding-y, the white ones retain more of their dense creamy shape, and the purple ones ... they are just so purple and so pretty.

(For my magnum opus on yams and sweet potato varieties, see: Which sweet potatoes should you buy.)

Mashed roasted sweet potatoes

  • 4 pounds of mixed sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), scrubbed and halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup milk or coconut milk or orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter or vegan butter or coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
2. Mix olive oil and maple syrup in a bowl and toss the halved potatoes in it, or rub it on with your hands, so that they are lightly coated.
3. Place them cut-side down on a light colored baking sheet (they may brown too much on a darker sheet), roast for 40 minutes, or until soft and just slightly caramelized on the bottoms. Remove from oven.
4.Put them in a bowl, breaking them up into very large chunks. I love the skin, but some skin may be tough – for a smoother version, you can slip some or all of the skin off (save it to make sweet potato skins later). Add liquid, and very lightly mash and stir with a masher, or even just a wooden spoon. You don't want to blend them all together, just enough so that there is some creamy parts and some chunks, with the colors remaining distinct. Season to taste

If eating a little later: Follow the directions above, but place them in a pot instead of a bowl and continue. When it's time to eat, reheat them for a few minutes, covered over low heat. Season to taste.

If eating the next day or beyond: Allow the sweet potatoes to cool, then cover them and store in the refrigerator for up to three to five days. When ready, heat the liquid in a pot, then add the sweet potatoes, and continue as with number 4 above.

Garnish with pomegranate seeds, orange zest, candied pecans, fresh herbs, whatever you like, even marshmallows, if you must. Makes around six cups.

Mashed roasted sweet potatoes are the way to go
This may be the perfect way to serve sweet potatoes; it's easy, delicious, and beautiful to behold.

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