Healthier sweet potato side dishes for Thanksgiving


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Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away. For many of those celebrating, that means it’s sweet potato time. The holiday favorite often turns up in the form of sweet potato pie or prepared with maple syrup and marshmallows. And no one’s arguing that those iconic side dishes aren’t delicious, but they are also loaded with calories that render sweet potato's benefits moot.

Sweet potatoes are already sweet, so they really don’t need extra help in that department. They are also quite good for you — better for you than regular potatoes — because they are rich in calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

We’ve rounded up some healthier sweet potato side dishes that will still wow everyone on Thanksgiving without bringing blood-glucose levels up. You do want room for that pumpkin pie, don’t you?


Sweet potato wedges

Take 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary. Stir and set aside. Take 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean, and cut into wedges. Arrange them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with the oil and herb mixture, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until slightly brown.


Half-n-half mashy pots

This one’s a no-brainer and a nice compromise, especially for those who don’t care for how sweet these nomtastic potatoes are. If you typically use 4 large potatoes, simply use 2 large sweet potatoes and 2 large Russet potatoes (or whichever you prefer), or three of each and so on. You get the idea. Rather than whole milk, use fat-free milk, and don’t throw in that entire stick of butter, even if you are cooking for an army. Go easy and taste; add more as needed. Let people add more butter afterward — they can sacrifice their waistlines on their own. Don’t forget the salt, either!


Roasted sweet potatoes

Take any vegetable and roast it and you can’t really lose. Same goes for sweet potatoes. Wash and peel and cut up into cubes. Arrange in a baking pan or a Pyrex bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add 4 cloves of garlic (minced) and salt, pepper and oregano to taste (1 tablespoon of oregano should do, but some of us like to get more heavy handed with it, which is fine).

Mix things up in there so all your cubes are covered in seasoned goodness, and bake that baby at 350 for 20 minutes. Pierce a few cubes with a fork or knife; if it smoothly goes through, they’re ready to go. If not, pop them in for another 5 to 10 minutes and keep checking.


Oh yeah, au gratin

Remember this lightened-up recipe for potatoes au gratin? Well, simply substitute those Yukon golds with sweet potatoes, and voila! If you want to get fancy, add some chopped spinach, Swiss chard or kale. Simply layer it in between the onion and potatoes. Nom nom nom and no diabeetus.