Big Little Recipes

Sweet Potato Yogurt Is Good With Everything

October  6, 2020

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else—flavor, creativity, wow factor. Psst: We don't count water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (specifically, 1/2 cup or less of olive oil, vegetable oil, and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Today, you’ll just need two ingredients.


There is no shortage of fruit-flavored yogurts in American supermarkets. Blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, cherry, peach, lemon, lime, pineapple, coconut, apricot, pomegranate, passion fruit, strawberry, strawberry-banana, strawberry-rhubarb, strawberry-kiwi, strawberry-mango, just to name a few.

Where are all the vegetables?

If you look close enough, you might stumble upon a few. Years ago, Blue Hill created beet, butternut squash, parsnip, tomato, and carrot flavors. Likewise, Kroger has offered fruit-vegetable combos like apricot-butternut and blueberry-cucumber.

Of course, there’s infinite precedent for homemade, not-fruit yogurts around the world. Indian raita “can be eaten by itself, kind of like a savory side, or used as a sauce,” Priya Krishna writes in Indian-ish. She goes on to share a range of raitas, from basic to squash to potato to cucumber.

The last—yogurt plus cucumber—is a can’t-beat combo in countless cuisines, often with lively additions like garlic, spices, and herbs. Think: Greek tzatziki, Turikish cacik, and Persian maast-o khiar.

Photo by JULIA GARTLAND. PROP STYLIST: SOPHIE STRANGIO. FOOD STYLIST: DREW AICHELE.

Naz Deravian shares a recipe for maast-o khiar in her book Bottom of the Pot, as well as a slew of other vegetable-based yogurt dips, like maast-o musir (with shallots), borani-yeh kadoo (with summer squash), and borani-yeh laboo (with beets).

Whatever the mix-in may be, one thing stays the same: Vegetables let yogurt be yogurt. Because ripe fruit is sugary—and often further sweetened with cane sugar, fructose, among other friends—the tartness, the tanginess, the essence of yogurt gets shushed. Sweet, but not too sweet, vegetables bring all the same color and flavor and seasonality, without hogging your attention.

Enter sweet potatoes, a starchy, pumpkin-y vegetable that, come fall, I would prefer to not go a week without. When roasted then pureed—a prep task I repeated many, many, so many times when I worked as a baker—sweet potatoes become effortlessly smooth, silky, and yogurt-like in texture. There’s a reason this mush is spoon-fed to toddlers. It’s one-ingredient comfort food.

And it gets even better with thick Greek yogurt. The spuds’ namesake sweetness—and caramel-y complexity from a visit to the oven—are a just-right counterpoint to zingy yogurt. Just swirl the two together for this Big Little Recipe.

Keep a batch of sweet potato yogurt in the fridge and top it with granola (especially this peanut butter one). Or smear it inside tortillas for scrambled-egg tacos. Or slather on toast with smashed avocado and a squish of lemon. Or swoosh it beneath garlicky roasted broccoli and squiggle tahini on top.

Sweet potato yogurt can be anything you put your mind to. But if I’m honest, I most often eat it by the spoonful, straight from the container, standing in front of the fridge.

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Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

3 Comments

Rosalind P. October 13, 2020
Looks great! Tried it on a family member for breakfast, with a little maple syrup. Big hit! BTW I use the microwave for sweet potatoes sometimes, oven sometimes. Microwave works well if you're in a hurry. Also, for just one potato, i use my toaster oven. Hate to heat up that big oven cavity for that small item.
 
Didi October 12, 2020
I steam a lot of sweet potatoes in InstaPot. I also make frozen treats for my dog by spooning them directly into silicone mold trays, straight out of the skins!
 
Foodiebo October 7, 2020
That is interesting; I will definately try a small serving.