By Latham Thomas

In the winter season, we yearn for a source of grounding in our lives: foods that provide tether to the earth. And while many of you may think of unhealthy options when you think “comfort-food,” root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, can provide us with that same warm and cozy feeling we long for on cold winter days (with significantly more nutrition).

With their unique root storage proteins, sweet potatoes not only have significant antioxidant properties, but also are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They also serve as a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Plus, the sweetness is soothing to the pancreas (for those of us – or, should I say – all of us with a sweet tooth).

Instead of just popping a sweet potato in the oven and having it baked, here’s a sassy recipe that will knock your (warm wool) socks off!

Gingerly Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime
Serves 4 – Prep time 20 min

2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tsp sea salt
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh peeled, grated ginger
1 tbsp minced shallot
1 small Thai or jalapeno chile, seeded and minced (optional)
3 tbsp earth balance or unsalted butter
2 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
sea salt and ground pepper to taste

1. Place potatoes in large saucepan fill with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Add salt and garlic, bring water to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (should be easily pierced by paring knife) about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile in small skillet, heat the oil before adding the ginger, shallot, and chile. Sauté until soft and fragrant, stirring frequently for about two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

3.When the potatoes are done, drain (retaining a slight amount of water for mashing consistency) and return them to the pot along with the garlic. Add the cooked ginger mixture, earth balance, maple syrup, cilantro and lime juice. Mash to desired consistency. Season a little with sea salt and pepper and serve.

Eat well and enjoy.