It's time for a new orange-fleshed vegetable obsession.


As the season marches slowly toward winter, the over-the-top love for pumpkin-spiced everything begins to lessen its grip. Since the rollout of pumpkin-flavored beverages and baked goods now begins in early September, most people have had plenty of time to nurture their gourd fixations.

Enter the sweet potato, vegetable harbinger of the official holiday season and an actual, well, vegetable. The sweet potato is starting to get its due in scented products, dessert — even beverages. Some enterprising brewers have even taken to putting the root vegetable in the bottle. And a traditional Korean drink — a sweet potato latte, no less — incorporates the real deal in a spicy-sweet, creamy cup.

And sweet potatoes on the Thanksgiving table are practically a requirement, aren't they? Though many will trot out the pumpkin pies (and there's nothing wrong with that) and some may even choose to roast other squashes, such as butternut, kuri or even acorn, sweet potatoes are a much more classic turkey sidekick.

The knobby, naturally sweet, sweet potato is perfectly healthy on its own with a spot of butter and a touch of salt. It's also perfectly decadent when mixed with cream and the traditional wintry spices that are so prevalent this time of year.

For your Autumn table, we've provided three sweet potato-centric recipes. One is a twist on a traditional sweet potato recipe, a candied yam-style dish (but it's made with Coca-Cola). For those who prefer smoky and spicy over syrupy sweet, there's a chipotle gratin that can be made and served right in the skillet. And, for an easy-to-serve and self-contained side (or even vegetable-focused main dish), there's a recipe for twice-baked sweet potatoes, laced with cream-cheese, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Coca-Cola Candied Sweet Potatoes

Skillet Smoky Sweet Potato Gratin