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Roasted Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoes

Posted by on February 25, 2013

Disclaimer: I’m not contributing any new information to the arena of sweet potato roasting. This post is only a public service announcement that purple sweet potatoes exist and are delicious.

Here’s the story. I’m at the Asian grocery store looking at vegetables and I see a small aisle full of sweet potatoes and yams. After perusing a little bit, I decided to buy some so-called “purple sweet potato.” The outside appeared quite boring and tan (clearly not purple). When you cut into them the first time, you’ll be amazed. Freaking fantastic!

After more research, I discovered that you can find two types of purple tubers. One is the Filipino ube (or ubi), which can’t be found in the US. The other, which I purchased that day, is an Okinawan sweet potato. Like most brightly-colored foods, they’re good for you. That goes without saying, though, because they grow in the ground.

Note: Okinawan sweet potatoes do seem to rot quicker than you would expect from other tubers. Be sure to use within a few days of purchase, slicing off any unpleasant rotten parts.

You can substitute these sweet potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, in any recipe that calls for sweet potatoes. Below is a very basic recipe for roasted purple sweet potatoes, included just in case you don’t know the joy that is roasted sweet potatoes.


  • Purple sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

Scrub the skin of the sweet potatoes, rinsing under water. You can choose to leave the skin on, as I did, with no adverse side effects. I like the contrast in texture between the flesh and skin.

Cut the potatoes however you prefer. I sliced them thinly, but you can cube or even leave them whole. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. The less surface area the potatoes have, the longer they will take to cook.

Place the cut (or not) sweet potatoes into a baking dish, pour on some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, and then toss to coat the potatoes in oil. Season with more salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes if sliced thinly, about 30 minutes if cubed, and up to an hour if whole.

Remove from the oven and enjoy as a side dish. Too easy.

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes

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