Spicy Braised Sweet Potatoes

It’s hard to find a vegetable as well-rounded as the sweet potato. It’s delicious, it’s good for you, and its exquisite coral flesh could  inspire one to poetry…in the kitchen, that is.

Even Desi, who loves bananas and won’t concede that the sweet potato is a richer source of potassium (it is), loves to eat this superfood whenever I cook it up for him, which is perhaps not as often as I should.

But a recipe I came across recently, thanks to a colleague Michael who is also an avowed sweet potato fan, sent me running to the supermarket for some sweet potatoes. Michael swore that the recipe from the wonderful Martha Shulman, that had appeared in the New York Times, was one of the best he’d had. If you have never before browsed Shulman’s recipes for a rainbow of vegetables in the Times’ Nutrition section, you’re in for a treat.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is really simple, but it packs so much flavor that it’s hard to believe just a handful of ingredients can produce a taste so complex and rich. I served up this spicy sauced sweet potato dish with a pilaf I made by tossing together some quinoa with green peppers and caramelized onions. I’ll share that recipe with you in a day or two.

I didn’t modify the recipe at all, except to use less oil. I also used only cayenne, not paprika and cayenne, as Shulman does. It was delicious.

Here goes. Enjoy, all!

Spicy Braised Sweet Potatoes

(Slightly adapted from this recipe)


2 very large sweet potatoes (or 4 small ones). Peel and cube the potatoes in 3/4-inch cubes. Set aside.

1 large red onion, sliced thinly across

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp cayenne

 1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tsp olive oil


Heat the oil and add the onions with a pinch of salt. Saute until they turn translucent, about five minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cayenne. Cook, stirring, for about a minute or two until the tomato paste darkens.

Add the sweet potato cubes and toss well to coat with the spices. Add the white wine, enough water to cover the potatoes about halfway (I needed just over a cup), and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to a simmer, slap on a lid, and cook for about 40 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are really tender.

Add more salt if needed. Serve hot

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

9 thoughts on “Spicy Braised Sweet Potatoes

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    anthony stemke

    April 21, 2011 at 2:14pm

    My spouse loves baked sweet potatoes, I sneak boiled sweet potatoes into dals and such.
    This sweet potato recipe looks lovely, will make it for lunch.
    Thank You.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 21, 2011 at 5:04pm

    Delicious and colorful baked sweet potatoes.Nice presentation

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 21, 2011 at 5:06pm

    Braised sweet potatoes, quite new for me..

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 22, 2011 at 3:30am

    Sanyukta, thanks!

    Anthony, hope you like them!:)

    Hemalata, Usha, Thanks!

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    May 14, 2011 at 11:12pm

    This looks and sounds good. I love the image. I always have sweet potatoes on hand. Does anyone know how to make homemade baked sweet potato fries that are crispy, not soft???

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Brigan the Vegan

    June 3, 2011 at 11:35pm

    What kind of wine did you use? Many wines and other alcohols are not vegan, so I usually hesitate to use them in recipes. I’d love to know what kind of vegan wine you found so that I can pick some up and make these potatoes!Thanks!

Thank you for visiting Holy Cow! I love hearing from you, so take a moment to say hello or tell me what you thought of this post. Thank you!