For many years now, sweet potatoes have been reigning high as one the world’s most trendy and popular superfoods.
From golden and crispy sweet potato fries to creamy sweet potato mash, it’s hard to imagine a time when they weren’t a commonplace side dish.
But, have you ever considered adding this fashionable root vegetable to your breakfast?
At home and on the go
For a low-carb toast, just slice a potato up lengthways, pop it in the toaster and add your favourite sweet or toppings. Sweet potato rostis make a hearty yet healthy side for your morning eggs, while sweet potato hash is a one-pot-wonder that’s easy to make with a simple mix of sweet potato, kale, bacon, onion and bell peppers, all with a few eggs cracked on top.
Some of the UAE’s top cafes are championing the sweet potato breakfast movement as well.
The “something smashing” breakfast at Jones the Grocer offers a jazzed-up version of sweet potato topped with avocado, feta, chili, lime and two poached eggs.
As Dubai Fit Foodie, aka Gbemi Giwa, once wrote: “The humble sweet potato is giving sliced bread a run for its money and I’m not mad at it.”
Meanwhile, Sanderson’s, the colourful, sustainability-focused cafe in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai, has taken the idea of swapping bread for this delicious bright orange vegetable a step further with its innovative sweet potato breakfast pizza. Topped with avocado, rocket, tomato and a baked egg, it’s a true revelation. Or, if you prefer your breakfasts a little bit more dessert-like, the sweet potato pancakes at Soul Santé Cafe, Dubai’s wholesome vegan hotspot, are sure to hit the spot.
Health benefits of sweet potato
Dubai nutritionist Laura Holland, author of the enlightening health book, Your BeUtiful Body, is also a big fan of having sweet potato for breakfast.
As for how much sweet potato one should eat, that will vary from person to person. It’s important that we eat a wide variety of food for optimum nutrition, so Holland says adding them twice a week to your breakfast or another meal would be a good guideline to follow. Sweet potatoes are not ideal for people who develop kidney stones, as they contain oxalate, which can combine with calcium and lead to kidney stones. Those who are diabetic would get the best nutritional benefits by combining sweet potatoes with leafy greens, to help balance out their sweetness.
While we can probably thank the no-carb, gluten-free and paleo diets for the initial creation of the sweet potato trend, you’ll be pleased to know that this wheat-free hack is not only nutritious and tasty, but also super easy to prepare at home. If you’ve ever experienced the mess and faff that comes with making cauliflower-crust pizza, you’ll know that not all gluten-free alternatives are so simple to recreate.
Sweet potatoes are cheap, plentiful and huge, meaning that just one can yield multiple slices of toast, or a whole pizza for one.
For more #sweetpotatotoast topping ideas, just search for the hashtag on Instagram. As Giwa writes, “Just like sliced bread you can top your sweet potato toast however you like, think PB & J, sunny-side-up, honey etc.”
The slices stay firm and, according to Giwa, carry many flavors well, so it’s fine to go crazy with as many toppings as you like.
How to make sweet potato toast
- Cut off two “slices” from a giant sweet potato, each about a centimeter thick (The thicker they are, the longer they take to cook, obviously. But the thinner they are, the less stable they are to carry toppings when you eat with your hands).
- Toasting will take some experimenting. As nutritionist Laura Holland puts it, “It’s all in the quality of your toasting skills!” So be vigilant. Pop the slices in a toaster, setting it either high or medium, depending on how hot it runs.
- Run the slices through at least twice, if not three times, stopping when they begin to char (the slight charing can be seen in the photo from Jones the Grocer). Careful of your fingers, they will be hot!
- Top with: Almost anything. Guacamole, avocado and poached egg, almond or peanut butter, a slice of turkey bacon and a dash of maple syrup, ricotta and strawberries, or anything else you would put on a piece of toast.
Ann Marie McQueen
Ann Marie McQueen is the founding editor-in-chief of Livehealthy and host of The Livehealthy Podcast. She is a veteran Canadian digital journalist who has worked in North America and the Middle East. Her past roles include features editor for The National, trends writer and columnist for the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media, and correspondent for CBC Radio.