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Plant-Based Monday: Purple Sweet Potato

We love us some taters. Especially when they have a gorgeous colors like these Purple Sweet Potatoes do. Today we’re talking about why these vibrant babes deserve a seat at today’s plant-based Monday table. 

Purple sweet potatoes are a bit self explanatory. They are a sweet potato with a standard dull exterior but bold purple flesh that has a rich, sweet flavor. They tend to be a bit denser than a regular sweet potato, which may require a longer cooking time to soften up. There are a few different varieties of purple sweet potatoes: the Stokes purple sweet potato, Okinawan purple sweet potato, and the Ube.

The Stokes sweet potato originated in the Americas and is sold commercially here. It has a purple tinted skin and a deep purple flesh. The Okinawan sweet potatoes originated in the North and Central Americas, but were brought back over to Asia where they became a staple in Japanese dishes. They are distinguished by their beige colored skin and dark purple interior. Finally, the Ube is actually a purple yam that is most commonly found in the Philipines. An Ube can be identified by its brown, bark-like skin with a similar purple flesh.

We recently listened to a talk about the Japanese culinary concept called, Washuko. One of the pillars in Washuko is the concept of the five colors. This pillar focuses on featuring all different colors in a dish in order to create a more nutritionally balanced and beautiful plate. The different colors of foods typically represents different nutrients, especially when looking at fruits and vegetables.

In this case, purple sweet potatoes have a nutrient called anthocyanins that give them that vibrant color. Anthocyanins have been linked to lowering risk of cancers, lowered risk for cardiovascular disease, and has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Purple sweet potatoes are also high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.

Purple sweet potatoes can be used in similar ways that you would prep any old potato. They are great baked, roasted, mashed, in soups, or as fries. Store them in a cool dark area and they will last for weeks. Try them out in recipes like:

Have you had purple sweet potatoes before? They are so vibrant, making them super fun to prep for kids or anyone looking to electrify their meals with splashes of color. Let us know your favorite purple sweet potato recipes in the comments below!

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