Call me old-fashioned, but as far as I’m concerned the classic baked potato doesn’t need any updating or sprucing up. Melted butter, gooey shredded cheese, crunchy bacon bits, sour cream, fresh chives: It’s a perfect formula. Let’s leave it be, eh?
If you want to get creative with your baked potato, I’d recommend turning your attention away from the Russet and focusing instead on its orange-tinted cousin, the sweet potato. Obviously you can go the traditional bake and load with toppings route:
Or, as it turns out, the good-for-you-tuber works impressively well as a stand-in for many of your favorite gluten-heavy junk foods. Pizza, tacos, garlic bread, you name it—a baked sweet potato can make it healthier and just as tasty. It can even upgrade your beloved avocado toast.
Related Reading: Easy Weeknight Dinners for Our 15 Favorite Fall Ingredients
It’s tough breaks, toast, but apparently just because your name is in the title doesn’t mean you have to show up to work anymore. As it turns out, those looking to abstain from bread needn’t give up their beloved, trendy toasts: Baked sweet potato slices are more than up for the job. Seriously, this non-toast toast crushes the breakfast game as a vessel for savory mashed avocado and slices of soft-boiled egg. (Or, if you want to get a little fancy-brunch with it, try this poached egg, cucumber, and smoked salmon variation.) Get the Breakfast Sweet Potato “Toast” with Guac and Eggs recipe.
8-Inch Chef's Knife, $89 from Made In
A sharp knife ensures even slices.
Speaking of the many ways baked sweet potatoes can be used to replace bread, why not give these mozz, parm, and garlic butter-slathered slices a go the next time you’re craving cheesy garlic bread? Just ignore the Italian food purist over in the corner giving you side eye, you know good when you taste it. Get the Cheesy Garlic Sweet Potatoes recipe.
Taco-bout thinking outside of the shell. Forget the whole corn vs. flour tortilla debate, baked sweet potatoes have that combo crisp exterior-soft interior texture on lock. Plus you can knife and fork it so you don’t have to do the filling-and-toppings-spilling-out-as-you-bite-from-side-to-side dance. Get the Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes recipe.
If you like the idea of giving taco night a baked sweet potato makeover, you’re going to love how the concept works for pizza night. Go classic with the toppings as they do here—zesty tomato sauce, basil, and gooey mozz—or experiment with more off-the-beaten-path flavors like roasted figs, prosciutto, and balsamic. Plus the mini rounds work perfectly as cocktail party finger food (so file them away for when we can have those again). Get the Sweet Potato Pizza recipe.
Sweet potato in a healthy bowl, sure. But sweet potato as more or less the “bowl” for your healthy bowl? Now that’s interesting. Here, a blend of crispy roasted chickpeas and spinach (along with a drizzle of tahini) are poured over savory-sweet baked potatoes to create a real get-you-through-the-worst-of-winter kind of dish. Get the Chickpea Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes recipe.
“Toad in the hole,” “eggs in a nest,” “one-eyed Jack,” “egg in the middle”—whatever you call it, rest-assured that this breakfast classic is just as delicious (if not heartier, and a bit less basic) when the traditional bread is replaced with a baked sweet potato. That this recipe adds a drizzle of Sriracha and crumbled bacon to the mix only improves matters. Get the Baked Sweet Potato and Egg Boats recipe.
Forget pie, this sweet potato and peanut butter ice cream mashup is here to open your eyes to the tuber’s dessert potential. You can get as creative as you want with toppings, but there’s no going wrong with this rendition’s indulgent (and vegan!) homemade chocolate sauce. Get the Vegan Peanut Butter Sweet Potato recipe.
Header image courtesy of Annabelle Breakey / Photodisc / Getty Images