I recently helped judge the North Carolina Sweet Potatoes Recipe Contest, which was a delicious task, and with three finalists in each of three categories (kid-friendly, sugar-free, and vegetarian), a pretty filling one, too. We sampled everything from sweet potato cheese straws (a great party snack) to sweet potato mango cake to sweet potato “pasta.”
Here were two of my favorites, which also happened to be the winners in their respective categories.
The sugar-free category was tough—contestants weren’t allowed to add any additional sweeteners like honey or agave syrup, so at first taste each dish was lacking the level of sweetness we’re accustomed to. But these Sweet Potato Date Scones really won me over—incredibly moist and full of spices, this is something I intend to make at home. I also love that they’re drop scones, so there’s no need to roll out dough or cut out shapes.
In the vegetarian category, the Sweet Potato Linguine With Browned Butter and Sage blew me away. First of all, though it looks and tastes just like pasta, it actually isn’t—those are just long, thin strips of sweet potato cut to resemble linguine. Amazing! And second, not counting salt and pepper, this recipe calls for just three ingredients—sweet potato, fresh sage leaves, and butter. The most difficult part of the recipe is simply slicing the potato thinly enough (you should probably use a mandolin for this, but watch your fingers). Finally, this dish is gluten-free, too. Once I get over my fear of mandolins, I’m going to cook this recipe, serve it to guests, and see if they realize that they’re not eating pasta.
Want to get more sweet potato recipes? See the full list of contest winners and runners-up here.