One of my favorite ways to serve Japanese sweet potatoes is with a simple sesame soy glaze and roasted in the oven until the sweet potatoes are golden brown. That’s why I’m sharing this super easy, 7-ingredient, vegan recipe for Sesame Soy Glazed Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes, which you can get on the table in about 40 minutes. All you have to do is slice the sweet potatoes into wedges, mix together the Sesame Soy Glaze, drizzle it over the potatoes, then roast Japanese sweet potatoes in the oven until they are tender and delicious. Then dig in! Serve them as a side with veggie-burgers, sandwiches, or lentil patties. Make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce.
They’re not the orange sweet potatoes such as the Garnet or Jewel varieties we usually think of. Japanese sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) have a rich magenta skin with a cream-colored flesh that turns a soft gold when cooked. They have a texture that is simultaneously drier and creamier than orange sweet potatoes, and a dynamic earthy nutty sweetness that differs from the pure “sweet” sweetness of orange sweet potatoes. These qualities make Japanese sweet potatoes a versatile ingredient for many different recipes. In Japan, they are often used to make Yakiimo (Japanese baked potato), Daigaku imo (candied sweet potato) and even as a starch to make alcohol. Because of their drier texture, Japanese sweet potatoes are also perfect for roasting sweet potato fries in the oven since they get crispy and slightly charred unlike orange sweet potatoes that tend to come out squishy and soft due to their higher moisture content.
Interestingly, these potatoes are not native to Japan. The variety we refer to as “Japanese” sweet potatoes is native to Central and South America, where over 4000 varieties of potatoes are grown! This particular variety was brought to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan by China in the early eighteenth century, where it is still called karaimo (Chinese potato) today. The new crop quickly spread to the mainland and smaller islands, and is commonly referred to as satsumaimo (Satsuma potato) across Japan. The sweet potato became a staple of the Japanese diet that many people depended on for its durability through stormy seasons, cheap cost, and versatility in culinary applications. The popularity of these sweet potatoes in Japanese cuisine is why we refer to them as the “Japanese sweet potatoes” in the US today. Eager to try this recipe? Find them at farmers markets (I got mine at the Ojai farmers market), stores like Trader Joe’s (as Murasaki potatoes), Whole Foods, and Asian grocery stores.
These sweet potatoes are packed with several vitamins, minerals, and an abundance of antioxidants tied to their purple pigment. Japanese sweet potatoes are sources of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, fiber, potassium, and calcium. These sweet potatoes are also rich in plant compounds such as chlorogenic acid, which is a polyphenol antioxidant, and anthocyanins, a pigment in purple plants. They also have a lower glycemic index than orange varieties.
Mix up the best ever Sesame Soy Glazed Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes recipe featuring only seven ingredients than you can roast in your oven. Serve these roasted Japanese sweet potatoes as a side dish for your favorite veggie-burger or sandwich.
Make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce.
Keywords: japanese sweet potato
For other vegetable side-dishes, check out some of my favorites:
Lime Dill Roasted Asparagus
Sweet Potato Home Fries with Zucchini
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes and Tomatoes
Lemon Herb Grilled Artichokes
Sautéed Asparagus with Fava Beans
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