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Simple But Hearty Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage

by | Jun 25, 2021 | Recipes

This Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage is simple, but hearty. It’s a predominantly savory dish that can stand on its own as an entrée or share the spotlight as a side dish. The earthy sweetness of the caramelized sweet potatoes is balanced by the rich, meaty Italian sausage. All complimented by a slight kick of heat from a generous pinch of crushed red pepper.

Plate of sweet potato and italian sausage hash

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Sweet potatoes are one of those foods that I never liked until I found the right way (for me) to prepare it. Every year at Christmastime as a kid, people would oooh and ahhh over candied yams and mashed sweet potatoes. The toasted marshmallows were a showstopper for sure—I mean who doesn’t love a toasted marshmallow?? But sorry not sorry, I found sweet potatoes to be too sweet and gag-inducing disgusting. I really wanted to like them, but a potato being sweet just didn’t jive with my childhood palate.

Over the years, I tried sweet potatoes cooked in other ways. It took time, but I finally found two ways that I actually liked sweet potatoes–fried and roasted. Then again, maybe my taste buds just grew up (I mean, I actually like broccoli now too…so it’s probably that). Whatever it was, I’m just glad I’m digging on sweet potatoes and can be one of the cool kids now.

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INGREDIENTS    SWAPS    TIPS & TRICKS    HOW-TO    RECIPE

Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage – Deciding Sweet vs. Savory

The common theme I found in dishes where I liked sweet potatoes is that there was always a savory element. For me, it seems that I need something to balance out the natural sweet of the potato. Riffing on that finding, I decided to see how a sweet potato hash fared with my tastebuds. What is a hash? It’s a dish of meat, potatoes, and onions that are fried up together in a skillet. Hashes can be served as a breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I first learned of a hash when my Grandma would make us corned beef hash for dinner.

For the hash that became my Sweet Potato Hash, I was envisioning garlicky notes to amp up the savoriness. I wanted to use a meat that already had a fattiness to it and would bring big flavor. I was looking for something bold and rich like bacon or breakfast sausage. We didn’t have any of either on hand. But we did have some sweet Italian sausage, so that’s what I started working with instead.

I also wanted to include something that would add a slight kick of heat. Over the years, I’ve grown fond of spicy dishes; especially with the combination of sweet and spicy. I thought about sriracha and other hot sauces, but ultimately decided on crushed red pepper. The crushed red pepper gives just enough heat to detect in the dish, but not overpower the sweet potato.

Closeup of sweet potato hash with italian sausage

This Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage Easily Pulls Double Duty

I loved this hash on its own, but wanted to see how it stood up as a side dish. So I tried it out with sunny side up eggs for breakfast. I piled the sweet potato hash on the plate as a base and then set the eggs atop the pile. And as that oozy yellow yolk poured down the sides of the hash, I knew I’d struck gold! I’m all for dishes that are not only delicious, but also sort of utilitarian because they end up saving me time (and sometimes money–hello leftovers!). So when a dish can pull double duty in my weekly menu line-ups here at home, it’s a sure fire winner in my book!

Gonna try out this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

Ingredients For Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage

  • Sweet Italian Sausage — Sausage is a fatty meat, which is great for bringing a richness to this dish. I also like that because there’s ample fat in the sausage, I don’t need to use any cooking oil in the dish if I brown the sausage first. This allows me to render the fat from the sausage and then use it for sautéing the veggies.
  • Sweet Potatoes — I find that sautéing the sweet potatoes is a great way to bring their sweetness forward enough to go up against a rich, fatty meat like sausage. Coating the sweet potatoes in the drippings from the sausage (in place of using olive oil) allows them to form a slight crust and give them a little bit of a burnt edge/fried potato texture and taste.
  • Onion — The onions do not cook long enough to caramelize, so here they help add another savory element to the dish instead.
  • Garlic — Fresh garlic gives this sweet potato hash a one-two punch of savory and a slight pungent bite.
  • Salt — In a lot of recipes, I will say to salt “to taste” because everyone’s preferences are different. I like to use kosher salt.
  • Crushed Red Pepper — The crushed red pepper is what is going to give this dish a twist. The sausage makes the dish savory, but the slight heat of the pepper is what truly makes you keep wanting more of this Sweet Potato Hash. Go heavy handed on the pepper or sprinkle it sparsely, it’s really up to you in the end of things. But please don’t leave it out!

Place setting and close up of sweet potato hash with italian sausage

Ingredient Swaps & Variations

  • Hot Italian Sausage – The recipe calls for sweet Italian sausage, but you could certainly swap it out with the hot kind. If I use hot sausage, I tend to dial back on the crushed red pepper I add in since the hot sausage already has crushed red pepper in it.
  • Sweet, Yellow, and Red Onions – Sweet onions, yellow onions, and red onions are all great with this dish. So use whichever you have on hand.
  • Garlic Powder – Fresh garlic will always be best , but you can use garlic powder instead. I suggest starting out with about ½ tsp of garlic powder. Then add more in gradually and taste after each addition until it’s to your liking.
  • Roasted Garlic – If you want to get a little adventurous, I think using roasted garlic in place of fresh garlic would be a delightful swap. This would also help reign in the pungent, slightly sharp flavor of garlic in the dish because roasted garlic is so much more mellow than fresh garlic.
  • Regular Potatoes – The star of this recipe is the sweet potato, but if you don’t like sweet potatoes or feel this dish is too sweet for your taste, swap them out for regular potatoes. I would suggest a waxy potato like a red, white, or Yukon gold.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

What to Avoid – Avoid over-salting. Using kosher salt helps me avoid over-salting my food because the salt grains are larger and easier to feel. This gives me, personally, better control when I’m using pinches instead of a standard measurement like a teaspoon. Whatever amount and kind of salt you decide to use, just remember to season and taste as you cook so you don’t over-salt your dish.

Ways to Use Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage Leftovers – I really like using leftovers of this hash in my breakfast meals. Often times I will top the hash with a couple of eggs cooked sunny side up or over easy. I also like using it in a breakfast burrito paired with scrambled eggs, red or green bell peppers, and some shredded cheddar cheese.

Recipe Notes

Storage – Store leftovers of this Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage in an airtight glass or plastic container in the fridge. If stored properly, the leftovers will last for up to 7 days.

Reheating – You can use either the microwave or the stove, you pick your poison so to speak. Personally, I think the best way to reheat leftovers of this hash is on the stove top. Reheating on the stove helps the potatoes keep their shape and texture a bit better than reheating in the microwave. The leftovers can be reheated in the microwave, but they will turn out a bit mushy compared to reheating on the stove top. But either way, the leftovers taste delicious so you do you, boo.

Freezing – I love leftovers, but after a few days of the same thing I get tired of even my most beloved dishes. I have frozen my leftovers of this Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage many different times, and in each instance it always thawed and reheated well. If you’re going to freeze your leftovers of this dish, be sure to do so in an airtight container. Leftovers will easily last 2-3 months in the freezer.

Servings & Nutrition – This recipe makes 4 servings as a main entree. Each serving has approximately 447 calories, 23 g of carbohydrates, 16 g of protein, 32 g of fat, and 8 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage

Step 1. In a large skillet over high heat, add sausage and cook until browned. Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside. Reserve 2 tbsp of sausage drippings to use for cooking the potatoes.

Step 2. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the rough outer skin of the sweet potatoes. Cut each sweet potato into long planks that are 1/2-inch thick. Then cut each plank lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick “sticks”. Then cross-cut the “sticks” every 1/2 inch to create your cubes.

Step 3. Remove the dried outer layers of skin from the onion. Then cut the onion in half, slicing through the root end of the onion (keeping this root part on each half of the onion ensure the onion stays together as you dice). Next, cut slices vertically with your knife perpendicular to the root end of the onion and the tip of your knife touching just before the root of the onion. This will ensure that you’re not cutting through the root end of the onion.

Then, with the blade of your knife parallel with the root of the onion, make slices horizontally while making sure to not cut through the root. Finally, with your knife blade parallel with the root of the onion, cut 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick slices vertically to finish dicing the onion.

Step 4. Slice the garlic into thin planks lengthwise. Then cut the planks lengthwise into “sticks”. Cross-cut the sticks finely to mince.

Step 5. Add the cubed sweet potatoes to the skillet and drizzle the reserved sausage drippings over the potatoes. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and stire to evenly coat the potatoes. Cook the potatoes until golden brown on the outside, stirring occasionally.

Step 6. Add in the onion, sausage, and a generous pinch of crushed red pepper. Stir to mix well and cook another 3-5 minutes to heat sausage through and soften the onions. Reduce the heat to medium and mix the garlic into the hash. Cover the skillet and continue to cook another 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Serve immediately.

Macro shot of sweet potato hash with italian sausage

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this with regular potatoes instead?

You can, though you will get a very different flavor profile. If you choose to not use sweet potatoes, be mindful of the amount of crushed red pepper that you use so that it doesn’t overpower whatever starch you do use to replace the sweet potatoes.

I don’t have any crushed red pepper. What else can I use to give this Sweet Potato Hash a bit of a kick?

Any hot sauce you have on hand will be good. I happen to like sriracha because I can taste the garlic and chilies in it instead of just getting heat. If you happen to have some fresh peppers like a poblano or a jalapeño, you could dice one up and toss it in for some heat.

Is there another meat you would recommend in place of the Italian sausage?

No worries, I’ve got you! If you can’t eat or don’t like pork, I would highly suggest replacing the sausage with steak. I would add a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet and let it heat through, then sear a steak a few minutes on each side to get a nice crispy outer crust. Then slice your steak into bite-sized pieces. After you cut up the steak, follow the recipe directions as shown below from Step 3 through the rest of the recipe. Note, you won’t have the fatty drippings of the sausage to coat your potatoes, so I would use olive oil in place of those drippings.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

Plate of sweet potato and italian sausage hash

Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

A simple but hearty hash of earthy sweet potatoes and rich, meaty Italian sausage that can stand on its own as an entrée or share the spotlight as a side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground Italian sweet sausage
  • 2 large sweet potato, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste

Instructions

1. In a large skillet over high heat, add sausage and cook until browned.

2. Reduce the heat to medium high. Then, remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside. Reserve 2 tbsp of sausage drippings to use for cooking the potatoes.

3. Add the cubed sweet potato to the skillet; drizzle with the sausage drippings and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir to evenly coat the potatoes.

4. Cook the potatoes until golden brown on the outside, stirring occasionally.

5. Add in the onion, sausage, and a generous pinch of crushed red pepper. Stir to mix well and cook another 3-5 minutes to heat sausage through and soften the onions.

6. Reduce the heat to medium and mix the garlic into the hash. Cover the skillet and continue to cook another 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Serve immediately.

Notes

Seasoning - Everyone's tastes are different, so for this hash I start out with a pinch of salt to bring out the flavors of the veggies and meat and a generous pinch of crushed red pepper to provide a little kick of heat. Use more of each to suit your personal preferences.

Serving Suggestion - This hash makes an easy meal on its own for lunch or dinner. It's also is great as a side dish and makes a delicious addition to sunny side up eggs to create a hearty breakfast.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 447Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 1117mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 16g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.

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Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
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