Having healthy snacks available in the fridge makes eating healthy so much easier.
By preparing healthy snacks ahead of time and having them ready to go, your options in the fridge become easily accessible.
I love to turn vegetables into snack food and sweet potato hummus is my healthy snack food of the fall season.
Sweet Potatoes Versus Yams
Sweet potatoes are the root vegetables native to the Americas that are also known as yams in the United States.
The word yam came over from Africa. A true yam is a different root vegetable similar in appearance but in an unrelated biological family with a different texture and flavor.
The USDA didn’t help the misnomer, labeling orange-fleshed sweet potatoes yams, and the white-fleshed sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes.
In addition to orange and white flesh, sweet potatoes can be shades of red and purple. Any color sweet potato will work in the recipe.
What is Hummus?
Hummus in Arabic means chickpeas. The word hummus in the United States has come to refer to a dip or spread made with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon, and olive oil.
Hummus made with sweet potatoes shouldn’t be called hummus, but with all the other ingredients being the same as hummus, hummus is the best term for Americans to understand what you are eating.
I’m not too fond of the food world calling things something that they are not, but I think that the word hummus makes sense until everyone is eating sweet potato dip.
Why Make Sweet Potato Hummus
If you can’t eat chickpeas this recipe is for you.
For me, it’s a matter of abundance, using what I have on hand. I make regular hummus at other times of the year.
But in the fall, I have sweet potatoes everywhere. At the garden, I haven’t yet figured out how to harvest them without cutting into a few that we can’t sell.
Sweet potatoes make an excellent substitute for chickpeas. When cooked and mashed, they have a similar texture and pair well with the hummus ingredients of lemon, chili, garlic, and tahini.
How to Prepare the Sweet Potatoes
I like to roast whole sweet potatoes and then remove the skin after cooking.
You could alternatively cut the sweet potatoes into cubes and boil them in water, making sure to drain them well after cooking so you don’t add any extra moisture to your hummus.
The sweet potato cooking method is your choice. Roasting whole potatoes will take more time than cutting and boiling.
Make Your Own Tahini
Tahini is sesame seed paste. Buying tahini in the grocery store can be expensive. If you can purchase bulk sesame seeds and have a blender, I recommend making tahini.
The best place to buy the seeds is the bulk bins at the supermarket or an Asian market. If you can only find the tiny jars in the spice aisle, you should probably just buy premade tahini.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, roast ½ cup of sesame seeds in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 °F.
Add to the blender with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Pulse the blender and scrape the sides until the mixture is smooth.
Sweet Potato Hummus Ingredients
¼ cup of tahini
2–3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 large sweet potato, cooked, about 2 cups of pureed flesh
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
The Hummus Method
I make the sweet potato dip by hand. Mince, or press the garlic cloves until they are finely crushed. I like to use a fine Microplane grater to grate the garlic. It comes out like a smooth paste.
Then you only need to remove the skin from the sweet potato and mash everything together until it is well blended.
You could alternatively make this in a food processor. You then have to wash the food processor. Combine the tahini, olive oil, garlic, cooked sweet potato, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper and process until smooth.
When you are finished mixing everything, taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you think it is needed. Spoon the hummus into a serving dish. Serve with raw vegetable sticks such as carrots and celery, or with toasted pita bread, tortilla chips, or crackers.
Try Making Sweet Potato Hummus Yourself
In the fall if you have extra sweet potatoes try making sweet potato hummus.
It is easy to put together by hand if you don’t have a food processor. And it is the perfect healthy snack to have ready to eat in your fridge.
Julie Moreno is a chef and writer, now trying to get more people to cook their own food and understand where it comes from. She lives in the middle of California, where she’s learning to landscape with fruits and vegetables. Find her on her blog Food Demystified, Twitter @juliehouse, and Facebook @fooddemystified