Who doesn’t love a hearty bowl of mashed potatoes? They’re the perfect complement to most grilled proteins. In fact, for many people, a trip to a steakhouse wouldn’t be complete without a side of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes!
They’re right up there with baked potatoes in terms of the perfect meat side dish.
However, mashed potatoes do contain a lot of fat and carbs, and they’re not exactly keto-friendly. So if you’re looking for that same comforting and filling dish minus the guilt, the best substitute would be a bowl of creamy mashed sweet potatoes.
We know what you’re thinking: sweet potatoes?? But they’re usually served sweet, right? How can they be a substitute for mashed potatoes?
Well, not to worry! Sweet potatoes are incredibly versatile, and their sweet flavor profile actually provides a great foil to savory ingredients.
Throw in a little bit of thyme, cinnamon, and all-spice, and you just might find your new favorite side dish right here.
- 5 medium sweet potatoes
- 3 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2-3 T. half and half
- 2 T. fresh thyme leaves
- 2 t. ground cinnamon
- 1 t. ground all-spice
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Whipped cream cheese**
- Walnuts halves, toasted
- Prepare the sweet potatoes by peeling the skin and cutting them up into cubes.
- Place cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover completely with cold water.
- Bring water to a boil and cook until sweet potatoes are fork tender, around 15-20 minutes.
- While potatoes are cooking, mince thyme leaves finely.
- Once potatoes are cooked, drain the water completely from the pot.
- Add butter, cream cheese, and half & half to the potatoes and mash with a hand-held mixer or immersion blender until smooth. For a thinner consistency, add half & half little by little while mixing until desired consistency is achieved.
- Once sweet potatoes are completely blended, stir in thyme leaves, cinnamon, and all-spice and mix until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with whipped cream cheese and/or toasted walnuts, if desired.
** To make whipped cream cheese topping, blend together 4 oz. softened cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of half & half, and a dash of cinnamon with an immersion blender until light and fluffy. Cover and store any leftovers in the fridge and use as regular cream cheese for other recipes.
Tip: Since you’ve going to be mashing the sweet potatoes, go ahead and cut them up into smaller pieces before boiling to reduce the cooking time drastically!
What does “fork tender” mean?
You’ve probably seen the phrase “fork tender” in quite a few recipes here and there. This phrase refers to any food (usually meat) that’s tough when raw, but through slow and long cooking, is rendered soft enough to be torn apart with a fork.
Are sweet potatoes good for you?
Heck yeah, sweet potatoes are good for you! A medium-sized sweet potato is packed with a ton of vitamins, trace amounts of nutrients such as iron, calcium, and magnesium, and contains approximately 2 grams of protein, 100 calories, and 0 grams of fat.
Plus, they taste so good.
How long to boil sweet potatoes?
While the boiling time to get sweet potatoes soft and tender varies with the size, it generally takes around 15-20 minutes to cook them through.
You can dramatically decrease the cooking time by poking the sweet potatoes with a knife, or by cutting them up into quarters if you’re going to make mashed sweet potatoes.
Are yams and sweet potatoes the same thing?
While a lot of people interchange yam and sweet potatoes, they actually aren’t the same thing!
Yams are native to Africa and Asia, and they have white, reddish, or purplish flesh. When cooked, they are also drier and starchier compared to sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are native to Central and South America, and they have yellow, white, orange, or reddish flesh. After cooking, firm varieties have waxy and firm flesh, while soft varieties have tender and soft flesh.
How to peel sweet potatoes?
Peeling sweet potatoes are similar to peeling regular potatoes. You can use a knife, but using a peeler is easier and faster. Use long, even strokes from one end to the other to remove the peel from sweet potatoes.
If you don’t have the time or patience to peel sweet potatoes one by one (guilty as charged), here’s a great little hack: boil the sweet potatoes until thoroughly cooked.
After cooking, submerge the cooked sweet potatoes in a bowl of ice water for around 10 minutes. The ice water will cause the flesh of the sweet potato to contract and easily slip away from the skin!
How to pick a good sweet potato?
When looking for a good sweet potato, there are three things that you should look for: color, size, and texture. Go for small to medium-sized sweet potatoes as large ones tend to be starchy.
Look for skin that’s firm, smooth, and even-toned. Finally, look for sweet potatoes that have a deep orange hue, as this denotes a higher amount of beta-carotene.
How long do sweet potatoes last?
The shelf life for your sweet potatoes will depend on whether they are raw or cooked. Raw sweet potatoes will last up to two weeks if stored in a cool, dry place with circulating air. Cooked sweet potatoes (boiled plain) will last around 5 days in the fridge.
Can I freeze cooked sweet potatoes?
Avoid freezing cooked sweet potatoes as much as possible, as freezing and thawing the sweet potatoes will affect the texture and taste.
Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Thyme
If you’re on the lookout for a healthier version of the beloved mashed potatoes, look no further! This quick and easy recipe will produce savory and delicious mashed sweet potatoes that make for a great substitute side dish.
They’re just as filling and hearty, and go great with just about anything you regularly pair with mashed potatoes, may it be your favorite steak or some grilled veggies.
What If I Don’t Have an Immersion Blender or Hand-Held Mixer?
If you don’t have an immersion blender or hand-held mixer, you can use a regular potato masher, the back of a wooden spoon, or even a ricer to get that smooth and creamy consistency. It might require a bit more elbow grease, but it will be worth the trouble!
Additional Toppings, Anyone?
You can play around with other toppings! If you don’t have thyme, you can use other earthy herbs such as rosemary or parsley. You can also use chives or green onions to give it a bit of crunch. Sage is another great choice.
Can I Use Dried Herbs Instead?
Yes, you can use dried herbs if you can’t get fresh herbs. However, keep in mind that dried herbs are more potent compared to fresh herbs.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll need around 2-3 times less dries herbs compared to fresh herbs. In this recipe, you only need 1 T of dried thyme to replace the fresh thyme.
Can I Leave the Skin On?
Yes! If you want a mashed sweet potato that’s a bit more rustic and has a bit more bite, leave the skin on. Plus, sweet potato skins are good for you!
What are you waiting for? Go ahead and whip up (pun intended) this delicious recipe for savory sweet potato mash! It’s good for you, it looks scrumptious, and it tastes like the holidays in a bowl.