A Weeknight-Friendly Trick for Fluffy Sweet Potatoes in Under 10 Minutes

It usually takes nearly an hour to get sweet potatoes light and fluffy in the oven. Here's a trick from Anita Lo's twice-cooked sweet potatoes recipe that cuts the time down to 10 minutes.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm</p>

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Welcome to Ready. Set. Cookbook!, a column where we share the cookbook recipes we earmark and turn to again and again on the busiest weeknights. These highly craveable recipes will help you get dinner on the table in under an hour.

It’s rare for me to find a recipe that gives me a fresh way to cook a common ingredient and even rarer for it to reveal an easier way to get dinner on the table. The Twice-Cooked Sweet Potatoes in Anita Lo’s cookbook Solo miraculously does both and it has become a weeknight staple in my house.

This is a brilliant vegetarian recipe. The dish takes the classic idea of a stuffed potato and turns it into a sweet-and-savory dish by using a sweet potato as its base and then piling it high with rich mushrooms and earthy kale. All three ingredients have strong flavors, but somehow, they all work in harmony, balancing each other out—with the hint of salt from some Parmesan helping tie them all together.

And the best part is that the recipe can be made in just 30 minutes. Here's the trick: The sweet potatoes are microwaved for 8 to 10 minutes. This is far less time than the hour or so it takes to bake them until tender enough to scoop and fluff.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm</p>

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Recipes for One Are Perfect for My Family of Three

Solo is premised on the idea of cooking for just one person, but that doesn't make it any less useful for larger family dinners. In fact, it's kind of ideal for families like mine that have an odd number of people—two parents and one kid. If I multiply the ingredients by three, I can make exactly enough for everyone without wasteful leftovers.

Do keep in mind that microwaving three potatoes does take longer than microwaving one. My general rule for multiplying this recipe is to add another five minutes to the microwave for each additional potato, then squeeze them with an oven mitt (they’re hot!) to see if they are soft or if they need a few more minutes. For more than three potatoes, you may have to cook them in batches to make them all fit.

How To Make Anita Lo's Twice-Cooked Sweet Potatoes with Kale, Mushroom, and Parmesan


  • 1 sweet potato or yam

  • 3 tablespoons fresh ricotta or mascarpone cheese

  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

  • 4 to 5 cremini mushrooms (or any fresh mushroom will do), fairly thickly sliced (about 1/3 inch)

  • Handful of washed kale (any kind— you can use the salad greens that come prewashed to save time)

  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • A pinch of fresh thyme leaves (substitute half that amount if using dried— a mini pinch)

<p>Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm</p>

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

1. Prick the sweet potato with a fork all over, then place on a plate and microwave on high until a knife easily pierces the thickest part, about 8 to 10 minutes. Preheat your toaster or regular oven to 350°F.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm</p>

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

2. Cut the sweet potato in half, then scoop out most of the interior into a bowl and mash with the ricotta or mascarpone, and a healthy grating (about a tablespoon) of Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This potato mixture does not need to be completely smooth. Stuff it back into the potato skins, then bake, drizzled with a little olive oil, until lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes.


Sometimes instead of adding the dollop of ricotta or mascarpone the recipe calls for in the filling—I’ll admit, it does make the dish decadent—I sometimes skip it since I rarely have them in my refrigerator.

Instead, I mix in some butter and extra Parmesan. This lets me skip the baking step and go straight to adding topping if I need to, bringing my total cooking time down to less than 15 minutes. It’s perhaps not quite as special as the original, but it’s still utterly delicious.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm</p>

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

3. In the meantime, prepare the mushrooms and kale. Heat a skillet on high, then add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mushroom slices in one layer and let cook for a minute until starting to brown. Then add the kale, garlic, and salt and pepper, and stir until wilted and lightly browned. Add the thyme, then stir once again.

When the sweet potatoes are ready, top with the mushroom-kale mixture. Finish with more grated Parmesan and eat.

From "Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One" by Anita Lo. Copyright © 2018 by Anita Lo. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. 

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.