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Steamed Purple Sweet Potatoes

DAN BUETTNER: Purple Sweet Potatoes + Veggie Champuru + Gallo Pinto + Minestrone Soup
DAN BUETTNER: Purple Sweet Potatoes + Veggie Champuru + Gallo Pinto + Minestrone SoupNathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
15 mins
Prep Time:
5 mins

Chef notes

One of the pillars of the Okinawan diet, Okinawan imo is a supercharged purple sweet potato, a cousin of the common yellow-orange varieties that has been an island staple since the 17th century. Despite its saccharine flavor, it does not spike blood sugar as much as a regular white potato. Like other sweet potatoes, it contains antioxidants called sporamin, which possesses a variety of potent anti-aging properties. The purple version contains higher levels than its orange and yellow cousins. This superfood is high in complex carbs, has a surprisingly low glycemic load and packs the antioxidant punch with anthocyanin (the compound that makes blueberries blue). Okinawans typically serve sweet potatoes steamed, which perfectly renders their creamy texture and sweet flavor.

Technique tip: The potatoes can be boiled rather than steamed, but they will lose some of their essential nutrients in this process.

Swap option: The best place to find purple sweet potatoes are Asian markets, but they are also sold through online grocers. If this proves difficult, you can swap in any other type of sweet potatoes.


  • 1 pound purple sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • One (13.5-ounce can) or carton organic coconut milk


Steam potatoes for 10-15 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and let rest with lid on for 3-4 minutes.

In a large bowl, mash sweet potatoes lightly with coconut milk.