With their bright violet color and dense nutritional profile, you're going to want to grab a bag of purple sweet potatoes ASAP.
There's nothing wrong with eating an orange sweet potato—they're high in beta-carotene, which may ward off certain types of cancer, heart disease, and signs of aging. But don't be afraid to mix it up a bit with its different hued cousin, the purple sweet potato.
"A purple sweet potato looks a lot like your everyday orange sweet potato from the outside but has darker skin and is purple on the inside," says Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D., author of The MIND Diet. Anthocyanins are the same plant compounds that give blueberries, pomegranates, and purple carrots their rich color, and they're one of the thousands of polyphenols found in plant foods, she says. (These powerful antioxidants are just one of the reasons you should eat more different colored vegetables.)
"While there's plenty of fiber and vitamin C in purple potatoes, the unique nutritional feature is what makes it purple—anthocyanins," says Moon. That's something orange sweet potatoes don't have. While both beta-carotene and anthocyanins are great, you're probably not eating a ton of blue and purple foods on the regular. So swapping in purple potatoes is a great way to up your anthocyanin intake, she says. (It could surely rival the Blue Majik food trend on social media).
What's more, purple sweet potatoes tend to be slightly less, well, sweet, than orange potatoes, so they work really well in savory dishes. (Here are some delicious ways to eat sweet potatoes to inspire you to start cooking.) Bonus: Their pretty purple color actually gets deeper when cooked.
Meal prep purple sweet potatoes by baking them—poke with a fork, wrap in foil, and bake for 90 minutes at 325°F. You can eat them immediately or cool them in the refrigerator to use in smoothies, oatmeal, or a blended soup later. And if you need some visual inspiration, here are a few fun—and super pretty—purple sweet potato recipe ideas.
Purple Sweet Potato Tart
Photo: The Laws of Bliss
This bright purple dessert is vegan, gluten-free, and free of any refined sugars. Plus, it's packed with "superfoods," like maca powder, coconut milk, medjool dates, and naturally sweet maple syrup. For some added antioxidants and flair, top with blueberries.
Get the recipe: Purple Sweet Potato Tart
Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes
Photo: Kitchen of Eatin
There's nothing wrong with going simple, especially when simple means light, bright, and absolutely delicious. Pepper and fresh rosemary bring an herby, spice note to these cubed, roasted purple sweet potatoes. Drizzle olive oil on top to add some healthy fats to your fiber-filled side dish.
Get the recipe: Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes
Purple Sweet Potato Soup
Photo: Life Is But a Dish
There's nothing quite as warming as a creamy, blended soup on a chilly fall day, amirite? Even better: A soup that combines the healthy purple potato trend with the gorgeous unicorn food trend. (BTW, here are few more ways to get your unicorn fix.) Throw in some homemade turmeric-dusted croutons for crunch and pretty presentation.
Get the recipe: Purple Sweet Potato Unicorn Soup
Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes
Photo: Green Evi
Mashed potatoes are a festive fall staple on most tables, but who says you can't modernize Thanksgiving a little? These mashed potatoes got a colorful twist with the use of purple sweet potatoes, smoked carrots, and a tahini drizzle. You can even treat this dish as a side or as a dip, perfect for crackers or pita bread. (You could also try using heirloom carrots for an even bigger pop of color and boost of benefits.)
Get the recipe: Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes with Smokey Glazed Carrots
Purple Sweet Potato Pancakes
Photo: Sweet Sundays
The great thing about these pancakes is they aren't overwhelmingly sweet, as many breakfast stacks can be. The purple sweet potatoes have a starchy, more savory flavor that shines through and balances the sweetness of the maple syrup. (For a dose of caffeine and color with your pancakes, try these matcha green tea pancakes.)
Get the recipe: Purple Sweet Potato Pancakes