Make: Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese

Don't add marshmallows (and unnecessary calories) to this traditional Thanksgiving side dish. Opt for this lighter, savory recipe instead.

You know what I love most about Thanksgiving dinner? The colors on my plate: orange sweet potatoes, fresh green beans, crimson cranberries and golden turkey. In and of themselves, these Thanksgiving Day staples are healthy; the pitfall lies in the preparation. So today, I’d like to talk about sweet potatoes, and how not to ruin them with unnecessary calories on Thanksgiving.

Ready for this? Do not—I repeat, do not—pair your sweet potatoes with marshmallows this year. Instead, use the natural sweetness of caramelized onions and some salty, punchy blue cheese, and I promise you’ll be just as satisfied with less guilt.

Sweet potatoes, onions and blue cheese are all easy to find in your grocery store, but you might be raising an eyebrow at the fresh sage. Sage is a super flavorful herb that can be found in any major grocery store. It will keep at least a week and the leftovers can garnish your turkey serving plate—beautiful and fragrant.

As for the breadcrumbs, you can use panko or plain breadcrumbs if that’s what you have on hand, just don’t use Italian style, as they have added herbs and spices. You can also make your own by toasting any type of whole-wheat bread (I used hamburger and hotdog buns that were starting to get a bit stale) in a 300 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until toasty and dry. Next, grind the toast into crumbs in your food processor; crumbs will keep in an airtight container in your fridge for weeks if not months.

Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese
Serves six

2 lb. (about five cups) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 white or red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 c. blue cheese crumbles
1/4 c. whole-wheat breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray an 8 x 8 inch or a 11 × 7 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Steam sweet potatoes either in a steamer basket on the stovetop or by microwaving them until fork tender. If microwaving, place potato cubes in a microwave-safe bowl and add 2 tbsp. water. Cover with a dinner plate and microwave 5 minutes or until fork tender, meaning the tines of a fork slide easily through the cube.

3. Next, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and cook onions for 15 more minutes or until golden.

4. In a large mixing bowl, gently stir together the potatoes, onions, sage, salt and pepper. Spread mixture into prepared dish.

5. Evenly sprinkle cheese across the top and follow by sprinkling the breadcrumbs.

6. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately or cover with foil, refrigerate and warm in a 350-degree oven before serving.

Per serving (about 6.3 ounces): 181 calories, 2.3 fat grams (including 1.3 grams saturated fat), 8 milligrams cholesterol, 330 milligrams sodium, 47.8 grams carbs, 6.9 grams fiber, 1.8 grams sugar, 4.3 grams protein.

>> Want more healthy Thanksgiving recipes? Check out our roundup here.


Becca Boyd is a wife and mom who teaches culinary courses to students at Radnor High School. She creates healthy and delicious recipes in her West Chester kitchen and blogs about them on her website, Home Beccanomics. See more of Becca’s recipe for Be Well Philly here.