Robin's Fresh Take: All About Yams

153020411

153020411

Sweet potato

Photo by: Elena Schweitzer

Elena Schweitzer

Now that it's November, I'm ready to, ahem, yam it up. We typically think of this root vegetable during the cool months and holiday season, but yams are sweet, nutrient-packed and available year-round. Learn all about this superstar veggie and my favorite ways to serve it. Plus: What's the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?
Sweet Potatoes Vs. Yams

First up, what's a yam? Lots of folks use yams while calling them "sweet potatoes." Grocery stores only add to the confusion -- the USDA requires the labels on yams to also say sweet potatoes. Here's how to tell the difference: Yams have copper skin and a deliciously sweet orange flesh, while sweet potatoes have yellow-gray skin and white to yellowish flesh. If you can't tell from the skin, poke your fingernail into the skin to see the flesh underneath (but don't tell the produce people I said so).

So, the difference between sweet potatoes and yams is simply variety. Not to confuse you (but in an effort to leave no stone unturned) true “yams” aren’t related to either one – they’re tropical root vegetables with a crisp, bland, white/yellow flesh (and they’re sold mostly in Latin grocery stores so you don’t see them as often).

The Nutrition Facts

Nutritionally, yams rule. Thanks to the orange flesh, yams are brimming with vitamin C and beta carotene, both powerful antioxidants. They also boast potassium and fiber and clock in at about 150 calories per cup.

What to Do With Yams

I love to substitute yams wherever you'd use regular potatoes. They work in all types of dishes, from baked to roasted to mashed with butter and sour cream. My favorite recipe is one I make year-round and it’s super-simple: yams with maple and mandarin oranges.

First, peel and cube about 2 pounds of yams and toss them with a little olive oil. Spread them out on a large baking sheet and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning. Bake the yams for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Then, drizzle the yams with maple syrup and arrange mandarin oranges (from a can or jar) all around the baking sheet. Bake for another 15 minutes, until yams are golden brown and fork-tender.

Enjoy!
TELL US: What's your favorite yam recipe?

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

You Might Also Like:

Next Up

Robin's Healthy Take: Zucchini

Robin Miller's healthy recipes for zucchini and summer squash.

Robin's Healthy Take: Football Snacks

Get ready for football season with Robin's healthy football snacks: black bean guacamole, chicken fingers and a broccoli-cheese calzone.

Robin's Healthy Take: Boardwalk Food

Robin Miller is on the boardwalk with her family and is sharing her tips for feeding your kids healthy snacks while on vacation.

Robin's Healthy Take: Healthier Chips

Deep-fried chips are out; healthy, baked chips are in, like Robin Miller's kale chips, maple sweet potato chips and curried potato chips.

Robin's Healthy Take: Egg Rolls

Take-out egg rolls aren't the healthiest fare, but Robin's lightened-up, baked-not-fried recipe is just the thing to soothe your cravings without busting your waistline.

Robin's Healthy Take: Coconut Shrimp

Robin puts a healthy spin on coconut shrimp for less than 200 calories per serving.

Robin's Healthy Take: Frittata Fabulous

Clean out the 'fridge and make a healthy meal at the same time. Robin Miller's artichoke and Parmesan frittata is fabulous for brunch or dinner.