By Melissa D'Arabian, Associated Press
Sweet potato slices are the latest rage in the avocado toast trend. If you are at all involved with Pinterest, you know this already. Pop slices of unpeeled sweet potato in a regular old toaster and then top it with healthy goodies—like the very popular avocado—for a breakfast or snack filled with slower carbs and healthy fats.
I'll admit, I was skeptical. But I decided to take one for the team, and get to the bottom of this sweet potato toast craze for the benefit of us all. I love the idea of getting some extra vitamins (mostly A and B6) and minerals (mostly potassium and magnesium) with my morning meal, so why not?
Here is what I found: I discovered that the sweet potato really will cook in the toaster, if you let it go through enough cycles. However, a few of my slices got dried out with all that toasting, and sides turned an unpleasant shade of dull brown in some cases.
I tried thinner slices, but they just turned hard or fell apart. My solution? Slice potato into 1/4-inch toasts and give them a quick turn (30-60 seconds) in the microwave wrapped in a damp towel. This process barely started cooking the slices while also infusing them with the smidgen of moisture that made all the difference. The toasts still took 3-4 toasting cycles to cook, but retained their color and pleasant texture.
On a purely subjective front, our household preferred using these little toasts to hold sweet items like pear or banana slices with yogurt or almond butter—like little handheld fruit pies.
Savory versions worked best when they were combined with spice and acid to offset the sweetness of the potato—eggs with hot sauce, avocado with chili oil and lime, shredded pork curry, for instance were extra tasty. But once we left the hot zone, we found ourselves noticing the sweet potato flavor too much to not regret the absence of bread.
Dip your toe into this sweet potato toast craze using our family's favorite—a super-simple pear and yogurt combination that reminded us all of a heavenly sour cream apple pie. Feel free to swap out toppings, or even toast up a bunch of toasts and serve with a (spicy?) dip at your next party.
Sweet Potato Toast With Pear Slices and Yogurt
Start to finish: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 toasts
1 long orange-fleshed sweet potato, clean and unpeeled, sliced into eight 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup reduced fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 pear, thinly sliced
ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
Lay a damp paper towel on a microwave-safe plate and lay out the sweet potato slices. Cover with a second damp paper towel. Microwave until slices barely begin to soften and turn brighter orange, about one minute. Blot with paper towel to remove any extra moisture. Run the slices through the toaster cycle until the potato is softened, but not flimsy, about 3-4 cycles. Let the slices cool a few minutes. Top with yogurt, pear slices, a sprinkling of cinnamon, a drizzle of maple syrup and a tiny pinch of salt. Pick up a mini-pie or two with your hands and enjoy for breakfast, snack or even dessert.
Other topping options: almond butter, banana slices and chia seed; peanut butter and honey; avocado, lime juice, hot sauce and cilantro; hardboiled egg, tomato slices and chopped cooked turkey bacon.
Cook's note: Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are often called "garnet" sweet potatoes or "yams" in American grocery stores.
Nutrition information per serving: 40 calories; 1 calories from fat; 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 1 mg cholesterol; 58 mg sodium; 8 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 2 g protein.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."
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Banner image: This Nov. 22, 2016 photo shows a recipe for sweet potato toasts made with slices of sweet potato, covered with pear and yogurt and topped with a pecan in Coronado, Calif. ( Melissa d'Arabian via AP)