Recipes included at this site do not appear in

A Worldwide Vegetarian Journey to Discover the Foods That Nourish America’s Immigrant Soul.


September 2016



Yam and Onion Grill
     with Piquant and Sweet Barbecue Sauce

 Sweet potatoes in Curried Coconut Sauce 

 Sweet potato, Kale, Tomato Frittata with Goat Cheese

Latin American Sweet potato and Rice Pudding




Some forty recipes using sweet potatoes, from appetizers to desserts, have been included in A Vegetarian Journey to Discover the Foods That Nourish America’s Immigrant Soul. They come from countries all over the world, countries that were introduced to this New World tuber by the explorers and subsequent traders. Sweet potatoes are enormously popular in

Organic Raw Sweet PotatoesAsia and in Africa. I remember well the day I brought home a dozen or so sweet potatoes. My husband was astonished and, of course, wondered why we needed so many sweet potatoes. “We’re testing a dozen or so African recipes,” I explained.

We are confident that sweet potatoes were domesticated in Mesoamerica between 5000-4000 BC but it appears from evidence found at a Peruvian archeological site that it may have been used for food in Peru as early as 8000 BC. Today only about three percent of the world’s supply is grown in the Western Hemisphere where the journey of the sweet potato began and where the per capita consumption is about six and a half pounds compared to a per capita consumption in Asia of about sixty-four pounds. Asian demand has turned this crop into a major agricultural export product; eight-one percent of the world’s demand is grown in China. There is evidence that the sweet potato was growing in Polynesia around 1000 AD, before it could have been introduced by explorers and traders. This strongly indicates a very early contact that, as yet, has not been confirmed by corroborating evidence. The old explanation that such foods were introduced to the islands of the Pacific in the guano of sea birds does not apply in this case since sweet potatoes are not grown from seeds but are asexually propagated by cuttings.


World agricultural statistics reveal that the sweet, dark orange tubers with sweet, moist flesh, which we call yams, are favored by North Americans and Australians, but by few others. The name yam was given to this variety in the 1930s by a Louisiana ad agency. True yams are a starchy tuber of Old World, not New World, origin which is scaly, hairy, a member of the genus Discorea, and not at all sweet. The dry, pale-skinned variety, known as sweet potatoSweet potato floweres, is the preference of most, especially in Asia and in Africa and for some recipes, I too prefer the starchy, less sweet taste.

You may have noticed that I use one word when referring to the root of Ipomoea batatas. Sweet potatoes are members of the Convolvulaceae, the family of the Morning Glory; it is not a potato, which is a member of the nightshade family. It is not uncommon for restaurant servers to ask if you want potatoes as a side with your meal. It is also not uncommon for them to then ask, “white or sweet?” The concept of white vs. sweet potato has not taken hold is New Zealand where it is called by


sweet potato flower, Ipomoea batatas.
botanical family – Convolvulaceae


 Potato flowers

its Maori name, kumara, nor in Sri Lanka where it is known as bathala. In the Philippines and in Peru it is called camote while it is boniato to the Spanish and the Uruguayans.   This is the reason I use one word for sweet potato; it is not a sweet potato. And, I am tenacious as a terrier about the difference between these two roots and about encouraging the more appropriate use of a one word name for this wonderful, versatile vegetable.






potato flower, Solanum tuberosum
botanical family – Solanaceae


TPT – 3 hours and 13 minutes;
2 hours = marination period

Again, the challenge of addressing the picnic scene as a vegetarian resulted in creativity. We often picnicked with friends and colleagues in the summer and even trotted the marinated vegetables to a park or the beach, always bringing enough to share. Just as long as you could put something on the grill with everybody else, “it was cool.” The wonderfully flavorful sauce, that I use for basting in this recipe, makes everyday vegetables and burgers taste really special when summer heat has “beat up on” taste buds. It is not dull but we have always thought it to be a comfort food.



1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion––finely chopped

1 large garlic clove––finely chopped

 1/2 cup commercially-available chili sauce

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce or



2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

 2 pounds long yams or sweet potatoes of as uniform diameter

     as possible

2 quarts boiling water

 2 large Spanish onions––sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds


In a saucepan set over LOW-MEDIUM heat, combine oil, finely chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is soft and translucent, allowing neither the onion nor the garlic to brown.



Add ketchup, apple cider vinegar, honey, Worcestershire Sauce, lemon juice, dry mustard, and ground ginger. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes.
Peel yams and slice crosswise or diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Drop into boiling water and boil for              10-15 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain thoroughly and rinse with cold water to stop further cooking.
Arrange parboiled yam slices close together in a 10-inch pie plate or other shallow dish. Pour 1 cupful of the prepared barbecue sauce over.
Arrange onion slices on top. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours. Turn once to make sure that all surfaces come in contact with the marinade.
Prepare a moderately hot charcoal fire of glowing coals.***
Grill marinated vegetables 4-6 inches above coals, turning as required.**** Baste often with remaining sauce.
Transfer to heated platter for serving.

Serve at once.


                                                                                              Yields about 6 servings
                                                                                                                                     adequate for 4 people                                        

 Notes:          *The sauce, which is easily doubled when required, can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for as much as          6 weeks.

**My recipe for this vegan Worcestershire-style sauce can be found in volume II, pages 683-84 of A Vegetarian Journey to Discover the Foods That Nourish America’s Immigrant Soul.

***This dish may also be prepared under an oven broiler when outdoor cooking is not possible.

 ****A wire barbecue rack or “basket” with tightly closing handle makes turning the vegetables easy
When required, this recipe is can be halved or doubled.

1/6 SERVING – PROTEIN = 4.9 g.; FAT = 2.1 g.; CARBOHYDRATE = 54.7 g.;
                                                             CALORIES = 246; CALORIES FROM FAT = 8%                                                                 




Shakarkand Razgulla

TPT – 40 minutes


We like to serve this as a side dish for a Southeast Asian meal that includes dal or another lentil dish such as lentils masala or lentils with garlic or a highly seasoned dish like eggplant, lentil, and chili stew. I sometimes add the shredded leaves of Chinese broccoli, guy lan, or broccolini, a hydrid of broccoli and kai lan which grown year round in Arizona and California. The use of jalapeño chili sauce in this recipe is, perhaps, unorthodox, but we feel it allow greater control over the “heat” than do fresh chilies.


1 1/2 cups water
1 large garlic clove—very finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder*
1 teaspoon garam masala seasoning*
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon jalapeño chili sauce, or to taste
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into
3/4- inch chunks
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 light, sulfite-free coconut milk
1 organic lime—cut into 6 wedges

In a large skillet set over MEDIUM heat, combine water, very finely chopped garlic and ginger root, garam masala, salt, and jalapeño chili sauce. Allow to come to the boil. Reduce heat to LOW-MEDIUM.

Add chopped sweet potato and celery. Cover and allow to simmer until tender—about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove cover and allow to simmer and reduce for about 8 minutes more. Reduce heat to LOW.
Add coconut milk and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes more. Turn into a shallow, heated serving bowl.

Garnish with lime wedges. Serve at once.


Yield 6 servings
adequate for 4 people

Note:            *If you prefer to make your own curry powder, it is quite easy to create a mixture to your own taste. See mine in A Vegetarian Journey to Discover the Foods That Nourish America’s Immigrant Soul, Volume II, p. 320. Use it as a starter and go from there. My favorite garam masala recipe can be found in volume I of my vegetarian journey on pp. 678-79.

 1/6 SERVING – PROTEIN = 1.0 g.; FAT = 0.8 g.; CARBOHYDRATE = 8.7 g.;






TPT – 16 minutes


There are few vegetables which Italians do not use in frittatas and there are few vegetables with which frittata lovers will not experiment. This fascinating combination is a case in point and it results in a truly divine frittata for a light summer evening’s supper.


1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 shallot cloves––finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded sweet potato
1 cup finely shredded and well-rinsed kale
1 small tomato—peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tiny pinch ground sweet marjoram
4 large eggs––well-beaten*
1/2 ounce goat cheese with honey—diced
1 tablespoon grated (about 1/2 ounce) pecorino
Romano or Parmesan cheese, as preferred

 Preheat broiler to about 350 degrees F.


In a 9-inch skillet,** set over MEDIUM heat, heat butter and olive oil. Add finely chopped shallots, shredded sweet potato, finely shredded kale, and diced tomato. Sauté until shallots are soft and vegetables are crisp-tender, allowing neither the shallots nor the other vegetables to brown.

Season with black pepper, and sweet marjoram. Stir.

Stir in beaten eggs and diced goat cheese, spreading evenly over pan surface. Cook, undisturbed, until set. Wrap pan handle with aluminum foil, if necessary, to protect it from burning. Sprinkle the frittata with grated cheese and place under preheated broiler until lightly browned. Be careful not to scorch eggs.

Slide out of skillet onto a heated round serving platter.Frittata with Vegetables and Chicken

Serve at once, cut into wedges.

 Yields 4-5 servings
adequate for 3-4 people

 Notes:          *Four eggs make a thin frittata, quite adequate for 3 people. This is easily increased proportionately as needed using the same 9-inch or a 10-inch skillet

although it will require a longer cooking

period and produce a thicker frittata.

**We use a non-stick-coated skillet which we further coat with a non-stick lecithin spray coating to facilitate the release of the frittata for serving.

1/4 SERVING – PROTEIN = 8.5 g.; FAT = 9.0 g.; CARBOHYDRATE = 6.5 g.;



Dulce de Comote y Arroz

TPT – about 3 hours and 48 minutes;

                                                                                          2 hours = refrigeration period


Another rice pudding? Yes, another rice pudding, but a very different one which may have originated among the indigenous peoples of Colombia!! At one time we just called this dessert “m–m–m–m–m pudding.” It is one of those sweet dishes that is whipped up in Latin America by homemakers and restaurants alike. Everybody knows it; everybody prepared a variation of their own; and nobody really knows the origins, other than “de me madre o de me nonna.”


2 1/2 cups skimmed milk
1 tablespoon brown rice or white converted rice,
if preferred
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup cold skimmed milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 small sweet potato or yam––peeled and grated
2 tablespoons almond meal or finely ground
Light cream or half and half, if desired

In the top half of the double boiler set over MEDIUM heat, bring milk just to the boil. Stir in rice. Place double boiler inset over simmering, but not boiling, water and cook, covered, until rice is very soft––about 1 1/4 hours.

In the work bowl of the food processor, fitted with steel knife, or in the container of the electric blender, combine corn starch and cold milk. Process until the corn starch is in suspension.   Add hot milk and cooked rice with sugar, grated sweet potato or yam, and almond meal.   Process until yam and rice are uniformly chopped, but not pureed.
Pour into a clean saucepan set over LOW heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the consistency is quite thick––about 20 minutes.
Apportion into individual serving dishes or into one large serving dish. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow pudding to set.
Serve with cream, if desired.

Yields 4-5 servings
                                                                                                adequate for 4 people                                                                                                                                                

Note:            This recipe may be doubled, when required.
1/5 SERVING – PROTEIN = 5.9 g.; FAT = 3.6 g.; CARBOHYDRATE = 28.4 g.;

 Stop back again next month and I’ll introduce you to
some very nutritious and satisfying casseroles with sweet potatoes
from my files.



Please note that all food value calculations are approximate and not the result of chemical analysis.

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