Caramelized yams or sweet potatoes, steam-baked in the oven, nothing added!

Was invited to a Friendsgiving this year and decided to bring “the sweet potatoes,” as I figured that’s easy. All I have to do is pop them in the microwave and then mash them with some vegan butter.

My perfect sweet potatoes! Actually, they are yams, but nobody’s checking!

Yes, I know that the traditional Thanksgiving thing is to douse the sweet potatoes in brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and marshmallows, but I have found that they are really quite nice simply mashed with vegan butter. Of course you could use dairy-based butter, if that’s your thing.

Problem is, once I thought about how large a batch of sweet potatoes I ought to be making, since this was for a group of 40 people, I imagined it would take forever to heat them all up in the microwave.

Ginormous yams, pretending to be sweet potatoes, right out of the oven, after removing the aluminum foil to take a look. Self

I’ve been making them in the microwave for 15 years, so doing anything different was outside my comfort zone. Yet, I wondered if maybe there’s a way to easily bake them in the oven instead? Then I could make one big batch all at once. I have a big deadline for work and I didn’t have time to do a lot of fussing with pulling multiple batches in and out of the microwave.

To my amazement, a Google search yielded the perfect “accidentally vegan” recipe. Steam baked sweet potatoes (or yams can be used). According to the recipe author, these self caramelize in the oven and don’t need anything added, not even vegan butter!

Skeptical, I decided to give it a try.

The recipe is from the five dollar dinners website. Steam-baked sweet potatoes.

To make these, all you do is put about a quarter inch deep of water in a baking pan. Clean the sweet potatoes or yams on the outside. Place them in the baking pan with a slit down the top of each one. Then cover the baking pan tightly with aluminum foil, and bake at 400° for one hour.

Dear friends, I must report, it worked beautifully! The self caramelizing thing actually does work! The yams tasted sweet, like they had brown sugar added.

Note the caramelized sugary water. That came from the sweet potatoes (actually: yams)!

The skins were nice and soft, so I mashed them up with the skins on, That made it easier for me. No need to peel them! Note the yams should be so soft that you can cut them like butter. If you have any pieces that are not soft. you can put them back in the oven to steam bake for a while longer until they are soft.

I was tempted to add vegan butter to these, “just because.” It almost seemd disrespectful to bring just plain sweet potatoes or yams to a gathering. Thanksgiving is supposed to be where you go all out with the decadence!

However, the caramelized yams masquerading as sweet potatoes really were so good, I put them on the table just like that.

Caramelized yams with nothing added, at the Friendsgiving Thanksgiving Table.

I was curious to see if people would like them and possibly ask for the recipe? Nobody asked for the recipe, but I did get quite a few compliments, people said they loved the sweet potatoes. 💓💓💓

They were a huge hit!

I believe this is how I will make yams or sweet potatoes from now on, at least for Thanksgiving. Caramelizing in the oven makes them taste so nice!

Hurray, and yum !!!

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