This purple sweet potato recipe uses Stokes sweet potatoes that are smashed, drizzled with melted butter and herbs then roasted until super crispy. The perfect potato side dish with a stunning appearance!
Sometime over the last year I was introduced to purple sweet potatoes.
I’m pretty sure it was from one of the bajillion health related podcasts I listen to but all I remember was hearing about the added health benefits found in purple sweet potatoes and I was sold.
On my next trip to the grocery store I grabbed a few of what was labeled “Stokes” purple sweet potatoes and I haven’t looked back since.
Loving traditional sweet potatoes in everything from sweet potato cookies and sweet potato steel cut oats to sweet potato mac and cheese and harissa sweet potato hash, I definitely shocked myself at how easily I’ve since brushed them aside when it comes to my favorite dinner side dish.
Purple sweet potatoes just blow regular sweet potatoes out of the water and if you give this roasted smashed purple sweet potato recipe a try, I think you’ll easily see why.
WHAT ARE PURPLE SWEET POTATOES?
First things first, purple sweet potatoes are just like any other potato in that they’re a tuber/root vegetable.
You can bake and cook with purple sweet potatoes just like you would other potatoes.
If you’re baking the potato whole, it’s recommended to cook purple sweet potatoes a little bit longer to really soften the flesh.
That said, they can be boiled, mashed or steamed just like regular potatoes as well. Here’s an easy way to enjoy mashed purple sweet potatoes. And, of course, you can make crispy purple sweet potato fries too.
Besides their stunning purple color, taste is what really sets these potatoes apart from the rest. Their flavor is rich and creamy and when cooked properly, they become candy-like.
Purple sweet potatoes are well suited for incorporating into baked goods because of that trademark sweetness. These ube bread rolls are a delicious traditional recipe to try.
A bit confusingly, purple sweet potatoes can go by a few different names. Let’s break it down…
STOKES PURPLE SWEET POTATOES
This is a specific variety that was originally cultivated in North Carolina by a farmer who was gifted some purple potatoes and apparently liked them so much that he decided to grow his own.
The patented name “Stokes” came out in 2006 and has been sold commercially since.
Stokes potatoes (what’s featured in this recipe and pictures) have a bright purple flesh and purple tinted skin.
OKINAWAN SWEET POTATO
Also known as the Japanese sweet potato, Okinawan sweet potatoes have a skin that’s more white/cream colored compared to the Stokes variety. Their flesh is comparably purple.
These potatoes are also sometimes called “Ube” but that’s not technically a correct label.
Ube are actually a yam not a tuber originating from the Philippines and very rarely found in the United States.
WHAT MAKES THEM PURPLE?
The gorgeous deep purple color is the result of anthocyanins.
I’ve written about this specific type of flavanoid a bunch before in reference to tart cherries (you can read about some of their amazing health related contributions in these tart cherry oat bars).
Anthocyanins are responsible for giving fruits and vegetables their natural red, purple and blue colors. So anytime you see red cabbage, purple potatoes, plums, cherries, etc. you can thank anthocyanins for that!
Those lovely colors provide much more than just a pretty appearance too. They’re packed with antioxidants and one of the reasons that initially drew me to purple sweet potatoes.
In addition to the antioxidants, purple sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium and are also lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes.
HOW TO MAKE THIS ROASTED PURPLE SWEET POTATO RECIPE
With just four basic ingredients to this recipe, it’s incredibly simple.
- 2 large Stokes purple sweet potatoes
- melted ghee (or butter – use a good quality unsalted grass-fed variety)
- fresh rosemary
First, trim the ends off the potatoes then cut into 3/4″ – 1″ slices.
Gently lower the slices into a pot of salted boiling water for about 15 minutes until they’re tender but not mushy/falling apart.
Drain the sweet potato slices on some paper towels to remove any excess water.
Next, place the potato slices on a baking sheet and using the back of a fork, firmly press down on each slice to smash the potatoes and flatten into discs.
Mix the melted ghee, chopped rosemary and garlic in a small bowl and spoon the mixture over top each smashed potato slice.
Place the baking sheet in a preheated oven and broil for about 10 minutes until the edges and tops are crispy and browned.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper once out of the oven and serve hot.
Boiling like we do in this smashed purple sweet potato recipe before broiling results in the best of both worlds: a center that’s soft and moist with crispy caramelized edges.
The ghee brings an added savory decadence to each bite and these are truly a stunning side dish in both flavor and appearance.
CAN I USE JAPANESE SWEET POTATOES?
If you can’t find the Stokes purple sweet potato variety (they do have a season so finding them all year round isn’t always easy), Japanese sweet potatoes can be substituted.
Japanese sweet potato flesh will still have the same bright purple color, the skin will just be whiter rather than purple.
They can be cooked and prepared the same way as in this recipe.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THESE SMASHED PURPLE SWEET POTATOES
Looking for more potato ideas like this purple sweet potato recipe?
TRY ONE OF THESE:
And don’t miss my roasted purple sweet potato web story for more info on this recipe!
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! I’d love to know how it goes. Leave a comment below if you have any questions. Tag @runningtothekitchen on Instagram & Facebook.
Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes
- 2 large Stokes purple sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons ghee or butter, melted
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to high broil.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim ends of sweet potatoes then cut into 3/4" – 1" thick slices.
- Gently lower potato slices into boiling water and boil, covered for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender but not mushy. Remove to a paper towel and drain.
- Stir the melted ghee, rosemary and garlic together in a small bowl.
- Place the potato slices onto a large baking sheet. Gently press down on each slice using the back of a fork until slightly smashed.
- Spoon the ghee and herb mixture over each smashed potato slice. Transfer to the oven.
- Broil for 10-12 minutes until edges and tops of the potatoes are crispy.
- Season each smashed potato with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.