Christina Clark 10 min. 10-60 min.

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These sweet potatoes are my family’s new favorite go-to meal! In all seriousness, we have been eating them more than once a week! And that’s saying something, because my family likes a lot of variation in our meals. But these delicious baked sweet potatoes are so easy, super healthy, delicious, filling, and versatile that even my son (who is not yet two and very picky) loves them because he can pick which toppings to put separately on his plate.

One of the best things about these loaded potatoes is that if you’re really in a rush, you can create them start to finish in 15 minutes by cooking the sweet potato in the microwave. In am not exaggerating–I timed it the other day for lunch, and from opening the fridge door to digging in took 15 minutes flat! Now, if you have the time, I would recommend baking them, because the slow roasting in the oven really brings out the sweet, juicy flavor. (Just writing this makes me really want one right now!!But they are still pretty darn good out of the microwave!

In my experience, most meals you can make in 15 minutes are either pre-packaged and usually full of preservatives (not to mention relatively expensive), or they are down right unhealthy, or they just don’t taste that great. But you will never need to resort to ramen noodles or hot dogs in a pinch again!

You can substitute any toppings you like, but the ones listed below are my personal favorites. Bell pepper, green onion, pineapple, or diced green chiles could also be really good. And I really hope you try the sauce! It’s a barbecue variation of the Utah/Idaho specialty “fry sauce”. This might sound like a strange addition to a baked potato, but trust me – it is SO good! And I must give credit where credit is due: thank you to my husband for contributing the sauce idea for this recipe – the sauce makes it!

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Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Barbecue Dressing

4 large garnet yams*
1 cup sliced olives
1 can black beans (1 3/4 cups cooked beans)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large avocado
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp barbecue sauce

If using the oven, preheat it to 375 degrees. Scrub, wash, and dry the sweet potatoes. Poke holes in them with a fork to allow the heat to escape. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, then check by stabbing them with a fork or toothpick, and bake an additional 15 minutes if not soft throughout.

If using the microwave, wash, dry, and poke holes in the sweet potato. Then cook it in the microwave for 5 minutes. Check and cook in additional 2-minute increments until done. (I have not tried cooking more than one sweet potato in the microwave at once.)

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, slice the olives if needed, drain the black beans, and warm up the corn in the microwave or on the stove in a little water. Grate the cheese and chop the cilantro. Halve the avocado, remove the pit and slice cross-ways both directions to cube the flesh. Then scoop it out into a bowl (or just make guacamole). Finally, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, and barbecue sauce to make the dressing.

When the potatoes are done throughout, carefully remove them, split, and top as desired. Enjoy!!

*The particular variety of root vegetables used in this recipe can be called yams or sweet potatoes depending on frame of reference and who you ask. They are labeled in grocery stores as “garnet yams” even though technically, real yams are not usually available in the United States. This variety works best because they are the best consistency as compared to other varieties, which may be too wet or too dry when baked.

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