Quick Stir-Fry Sweet Potatoes

This week's post comes from my neighbor, Ali Whittier. Ali is a St. Elmo resident and local competitive cyclist for Scenic City Velo and Privateer Cyclocross. A native of Iowa, she has a decade of experience in health promotion and community engagement, as well as health care communications.

Connect with Ali on InstagramFacebook or LinkedIn. Follow the Whittiers' cycling adventures at www.withthewhittiers.com.

I don’t remember eating sweet potatoes as a child. I grew up in Iowa which doesn’t have ideal climate for this heat-loving crop. It wasn’t until I moved to the south as an adult that I had my first taste – sweet potato casserole, of course. 

I soon realized casseroles and pies weren’t the only ways to use sweet potatoes. And they have some nutritional benefits, too. 

My husband and I are competitive cyclists, and we’ve been slowly refining our eating habits to include little to no processed foods. But we both work full-time in addition to training on the bike 5-6 days a week, so many nights we have little time to get a healthy dinner together.

After a little experimentation, we found a simple, quick way to prepare sweet potatoes that can be easily paired with a number of meals – or even as a dessert!

Stir-fry sweet potatoes in coconut oil
We learned chopping and stir-frying sweet potatoes in coconut oil was much quicker than boiling or baking them. And adding some spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (along with some butter and salt) help this side become a tasty treat.

Photos by Alli Whittier 

Photos by Alli Whittier 

All you need is a large pot (large enough to hold your sweet potatoes without much stacking), coconut oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a little bit of butter (we use Kerrygold) and salt. 

Here’s what to do.

Start by chopping your sweet potato(es) into small blocks.

  • The smaller, the quicker they’ll cook. It helps to pick out smaller potatoes and use a large, sharp knife – a small paring knife is not a good choice.

Heat up your pot when you’re almost done chopping.

  • Put a large dollop of coconut oil – you should use enough to coat eat chunk of sweet potato well to avoid sticking. I use a gas stove and keep it at a medium-high heat – keep an eye on your heat until you get used to what makes sense for your range.

dd your sweet potatoes and season them.

  • Make sure potatoes are well-coated with coconut oil, then add a decent amount of cinnamon (remember you can always add more, but don’t be afraid to add a good bit) and nutmeg and ginger – I use about ¼ of the amount of nutmeg and ginger (again, you can always add more).

Cover them, then check in a few minutes to stir.

  • After you let them cook to your preferred softness, consider turning up the heat and letting them “crisp” with the lid off for a couple minutes.

Finally, add a little bit of butter and salt to top things off.

  • This step was something we added months after making them without. It’s not necessary, but for us, the extra fat and salt is preferred (and they add to the delicious factor).

here you have it! We prefers ours with some over-easy eggs, any green veg and also with almost any type of protein. The sky’s the limit with this versatile side – enjoy!

Heather Cross