BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In 2003, Louisiana designated the versatile sweet potato as the official state vegetable.

Roasted, mashed, grilled, stuffed, or fried, locals find a slew of ways to serve the tasty spud.

Generally, the state’s sweet potato season begins with planting between the first of April and June 15.

That said, the potatoes are typically available for purchase any time of year, and can come in handy as a refreshing treat during the hot summer months.

The Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission, which is an off-shoot of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, has several sweet potato recipes that are perfect for the season.

Four recipes are detailed below:

Caribbean Pork & Sweet Potato Salad

Image Credit: LSPC

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Lawry’s Caribbean Jerk Marinade with papaya juice, divided
  • 3/4 Pound boneless pork loin chops, sliced into thin strips
  • 2  Can (8 ¼ oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained (reserving 2 tablespoons of juice)
  • 1/3 Cup sliced green onions, including tops
  • 1  Small sweet potato, peeled, cut into chunks and parboiled or 1 can (15 oz.) sweet    potatoes, drained
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 Cup salted peanuts (optional garnish)

Instructions:

  • In resealable plastic bag, combine ¼ cup Caribbean Jerk Marinade and pork; seal bag and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
  • Remove pork; discard used marinade. 
  • In medium skillet, cook pork over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. In large bowl, combine pork, pineapple, onions, sweet potato, honey, reserved pineapple juice and remaining marinade; gently toss to coat. 
  • Sprinkle with peanuts before serving over a bed of chilled pasta. 

Makes 4 servings

Grilled Catfish and Yam Kabobs (by Holly Clegg)

Image Credit: LSPC

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. margarine
  • 1 1/2 pounds US Farm-Raised Catfish fillets, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into circles
  • 1/2 pound portabella mushrooms, cut into fourths
  • 1 red onion, cut into eighths
  • Additional vegetables optional

Instructions:

  • In a medium bowl, mix together orange juice, honey and margarine. 
  • Add catfish, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and onions. 
  • Marinate for 30 minutes. 
  • Skewer the marinated ingredients on metal skewers. 
  • Grill on medium for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender when pierced with skewer and catfish is opaque in color. 

Makes 4-6 servings 

Heavenly Yam Delight (By Holly Clegg)

Image Credit: LSPC

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 7  tbsp. margarine
  • 1 (8oz.) package fat free cream cheese
  • 1 (8oz.) container fat free frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
  • 2 (15 oz.)  can yams (sweet potatoes) drained or 2 cups fresh sweet potatoes, cooked and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
  • In large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, pecans and margarine 
  • Press into bottom of 13x9x2 inch baking pan 
  • Bake 20 minutes
  • Set aside to cool 
  • In mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar until creamy 
  • Fold in 3/4 cup whipped topping 
  • Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust 
  • In mixing bowl, beat sweet potatoes, sugar, and cinnamon until smooth
  • Spread over cream cheese mixture 
  • Top with remaining whipped topping 
  • Refrigerate 

Makes 16 servings

Galatoire’s Sweet Potato Cheesecake (by Galatoire’s)

Image Credit: LSPC

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2   cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4   cup sugar
  • 1/3   cup butter or margarine, melted 

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 3   packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1   cup sugar
  • 1/4   cup light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4   cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2   large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2/3   cup evaporated milk
  • 2   tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4   teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8   teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:

  • 2   cups sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/3   cup sugar
  • 1   teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter until combined.
  • Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a 9-inch springform pan. 
  • Bake until set but not brown, 6 to 8 minutes. 
  • Remove from oven, and cool.
  • Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. 
  • Add sugar and brown sugar, beating until smooth. 
  • Add sweet potatoes, eggs, evaporated milk, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg, beating until well combined. 
  • Pour into crust. 
  • Bake until edge is set, 55 to 60 minutes.
  • Whisk sour cream, sugar and vanilla to combine. 
  • Spread over warm cheesecake. 
  • Return to oven, and bake until just set, 5 minutes. 
  • Cool on wire rack. 
  • Remove side of pan, and chill for a few hours or overnight. 

Makes about 12 servings 

Click here for additional recipes from the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission.