Need holiday cooking inspiration? We asked our Nutrition team for their favorite healthy, seasonal recipes, and they delivered! We’ll be sharing them throughout the season, next up we have a recipe for healthier — but still sweet! — sweet potatoes, complete with warming holiday spices and a touch of heat.

Sofia Villagomez, Nutrition and Wellness Program SupervisorFrom Sofia Villagomez, Nutrition and Wellness Program Supervisor:

I love sweet potatoes, the color, the flavor, the breadth of possibilities for cooking them. This is the side dish I most enjoy in the colder months, and my favorite trick is adding just a little bit of chili powder for an extra highlight of the natural sweetness.

Healthier and Still Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter (dairy or vegan)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg + 1/2 teaspoon ginger + pinch of ground cloves and allspice)
  • Chili powder/paprika/cayenne to taste


  1. Wash the sweet potatoes with a slight scrub to clean any dirt off the skin. Depending on your taste you can remove none, some, or all of the skin before slicing each sweet potato in half or quarters. Benefits of leaving the skin on: increased fiber!
  2. Once each sweet potato has been prepped and cut in half or quarters, place in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes, checking with a fork every so often. Once the potato is easily pierced with a fork, it is done.
  3. Drain cooked potatoes and leave aside. In the same pot you just cooked in, melt your butter of choice with your brown sugar, being careful not to burn them. Return the sweet potatoes to the pot with butter and sugar and begin to mash them with a large spoon, fork, or potato masher. Once the potatoes are broken down add your orange juice and pumpkin pie spice and mix to incorporate. Note: if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice you can add individual spices (cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves) to taste.
  4. As a final step, if you are interested, add a small amount of chili powder, paprika, or cayenne powder and taste as you add to make sure you aren’t adding too much too quick.
  5. Serve warm or cold according to your preference.