Crisp and Sweet Japanese Yams

I’m sure you’ve seen oblong, reddish/purple skinned vegetables at your local health food store or farmer’s market. They are usually sitting in the bin directly next to the sweet potatoes.

You may have even mistaken it for a sweet potato at some point. But, once it is cut open and you see the cream-colored flesh, you quickly realize that this is NOT a sweet potato. The flesh is drier and much paler.

What is this mystery veggie?

It’s a Japanese Yam! Also known as a mountain yam. It’s native to the regions of China and Japan that are much colder than where most yams can survive.

This hearty root vegetable has a tuber that stores nutrients and energy to help the plant grow and thrive in cold harsh conditions.

It’s also a superb winter food, and the best season to eat it is during fall through spring.

But, on a more important note, it’s totally delish.

I put this veggie to the test on a few of my nephews’ super picky palates.

One by one they said, “What is this? It’s soooo sweet? Did you add sugar, Aunt Fanny?”

Nope, didn’t add sugar, and yes it’s sweeter than a sweet potato.

They loved it.

If you haven’t tried this delicious cool weather veggie yet and you want a satisfying and sweet side dish, taste it for yourself.

Here a simple and easy recipe.

Sweet and Crispy Japanese Yams
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Seasonal Eating
Cuisine: Food is Medicine
Serves: 3-4 servings
  • 3-4 Japanese yams, cleaned
  • 2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Celtic Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Wash the yams and remove any dark spots from the skin
  3. Cut into bite-sized pieces
  4. Lightly coat with olive oil
  5. Season with sea salt and black pepper
  6. Cover a baking tray or roasting pan with parchment paper
  7. Place the cut yam pieces onto the baking tray cook uncovered for 25 minutes
  8. Turn the yams and cook an additional 20-25 minutes