MNF – Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potatoes Balls

MNF Spicy Sweet Potato balls

Thanksgiving will be here before we’ve had a chance to catch our breath – singly or together – so I’ve decided to spend the rest of this month on Thanksgiving recipes. Most of us have family traditional foods that we make every year and honestly believe it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them! I agree! When my sister and I make Thanksgiving, her Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing and Honey Cranberry Sauce along with her Chocolate Pecan Pie are permanent fixtures! As well they should be! I do my Artichoke Florentine, often one of my cheesecakes, popovers, and we always want to try something different.

So, if your family is willing to try some different – not necessarily leaving something traditional out, but maybe adding some thing new that just might become a new tradition.

Today’s recipe could be that one!

It was given to me by a friend whose mother came from New Zealand and I’ve made it often, not just at Thanksgiving. It’s simple and while I roll these balls in pecans (since pecans go well with the recipe, feel free to use any ground nut or sliced almonds, or sesame seeds (in case someone might have a nut allergy) or graham cracker crumbs or corn flake crumbs! You might even want to combine some ground nuts with some crumbs – there are tons of ways to individualize these – and you can make the balls a day in advance, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temp before baking.

Be sure to see the Tip from the Toque for an interesting sidelight on “sweet potatoes”.

Sweet & Spicy Sweet Potato Balls

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes or yams, boiled, cooled and peeled
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (or 1/2 tsp packaged ground nutmeg)
  • Finely chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds, almond slices or sesame seeds

Depending on whether you are using chopped nuts, slices or seeds, put your choice in a flat pie pan or plate and set aside. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350.

Placed cooked potatoes in mixing bowl and mash until fairly smooth. You don’t want big chunks here. Add salt and remaining spices and mix well with a large wooden spoon getting the mixture as smooth as possible.

With lightly wet hands (or lightly buttered hands), make balls using about a 1/4 cup measure for each one. Gently roll each ball into the coating (chopped nuts, etc.) and set on baking sheet. Continue until all potato mixture is used.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until hot. Serves 6-8.


A Tip from the Toque: We generally use the term ‘sweet potato’ for both tubers. Actually, the purple-skinned ones are yams … and the white or beige skinned ones are sweet potatoes! Both can be used interchangeably in any recipe. Eaten as a side dish, the yam (purple) is a tad sweeter and a little softer. The actual sweet potato is a little mealier (to my taste and bit blander). Price wise they are normally about the same. No matter which you choose, try to get them all about the same size and shape so they cook evenly.


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