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Elyse Kopecky Has Perfected the Art of Cutting Sweet Potatoes

As part of her series on knife skills, Elyse shows the best way to break down a sweet potato for meal prep.

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Sweet potatoes are the heroes of the meal prep world: They’re great to process in large batches and hold texture and flavor all week after roasting on a Sunday. Here, Elyse Kopecky takes us from start to finish on cutting up sweet potatoes into even cubes ideal for roasting.

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[Part of the Mastering Meal Prep with Elyse Kopecky series]

Read the transcript:

ELYSE KOPECKY:

Another vegetable that I love to chop up a bunch of when I’m meal prepping is sweet potatoes or yams. These are for roasting. I make sweet potato fries, or I just chop them up into smaller squares if I’m doing power bowls and putting them on rice bowls and things like that.

So I’m going to teach you two different techniques and ways to cut a sweet potato. One of the most important things is to cut your pieces evenly shaped, evenly sizes, so that when you roast it, they cook evenly and they cook at the same temperature and the same amount of time. So these are kind of smaller size sweet potatoes, but I’m just going to show you just basic squares. So you want—these are pretty hard and you want a sharp knife to start with. You can leave the peel on, there’s actually a ton of nutrition in the peel.

You can peel them if you got pickier eaters, but definitely if you’re saving time, just leave the peel on there. And then I’m just going to cut it in half like this. So I have two halves and I’ll cut it again down the middle and you can trim off the ends if there’s any parts there. And then I’m going to try to cut even shaped squares like this. So now I have these bigger pieces that I’m just going to trim down into little squares or triangles. However, it’s not going to be perfect if you have an oddly shaped sweet potato, but just roughly you want them to be about the same size. If you have a bigger sweet potato, you can cut it into slabs. So then you have even heights of slabs, and then you can cut that down at a square.

So I’ve got these squares and you can make them smaller depending on what you’re using them for, but for roasting, they just need to be about bite size. And then another way is sweet potato fries. So for that, if I have a bigger yam, I usually cut it in half first, trim off the ends if they’re a little bit dry and then cut it in half, it’s a lot easier to cut slabs if you have a flat bottom as your base. You want to put that base down at the bottom and I’m going to cut little slabs across, and then I’ll cut those into small little fry shapes. So we want to cut this into smaller shapes, and then you’re going to take each of your slabs and cut it across. And you can use kind of a rocking motion. If you have a French style chef’s knife, and then you’ve got these nice little fry shapes. They don’t have to be perfect, but you do want them to be uniform in size and kind of skinny so they roast really nicely on all those edges. And then you’ve got these little fry shape, and that is how to cut a sweet potato.