Happy Meatless Monday! Whether you’re staying on track with good eating habits, feeding kids, or having a party, this versatile sweet potato fritter recipe will do the trick. Sweet potatoes are rich in skin-loving beta-carotene, which is especially good news during the winter when we might be losing some of our glow. Also, since so many people appreciate a few morsels that are golden fried to perfection now and then, this is a worthwhile recipe to add to your repertoire.
How To Fry At Home
There are two things to remember when making sweet potato fritters, and they both have to do with frying. Frying can be tricky for the home cook, partially due to our aversion to cooking with what we perceive to be an excessive amount of oil. But, I’m here to tell you: in order to fry things well, it’s necessary to use plenty of oil. Also, the oil must be hot enough before adding the food to the pan. An ample amount of hot oil will ensure that the fritters—or any food—cook evenly. If you’re hesitant about using oil, try shaping the batter into cakes and using just enough oil to film the bottom of a non-stick skillet.
The second thing to remember concerns the type of oil. I recommend using ghee or coconut oil in this recipe, but olive oil will also work. Generally speaking, ghee is my favorite cooking oil, both for its flavor and its high smoke point. In cases where the flavor of ghee isn’t appropriate, I look to coconut oil. When it comes to olive oil, I love the flavor, but I’ve hesitated to use it for frying in recent years due to uncertainty over its smoke point. However, recent research suggests that unadulterated, high-grade, extra virgin olive oil is great for frying. The trick here is to find a trusted source. Butter also has a wonderful flavor, but the milk solids burn and cause food to cook unevenly, which you definitely don’t want to experience when frying.
It’s All About The Sauce
Sweet potato fritters are all about accompaniments. Don’t skip the sauce! The recipe below includes a tahini sauce and an easy yogurt sauce variation. Once you’ve got the fritters and the sauce, the possibilities are many. Add them to a pita along with other vegetables as a delicious alternative to falafel, or wrap them in leaves—kale, collard, and romaine all work beautifully.
Sweet Potato Fritters With Tahini Sauce (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes–1 hour
Total Time: no more than 1 hour 20 minutes
For the fritters:
- 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- sea or pink Himalayan salt (to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1-2 Tablespoons chickpea flour
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ghee, coconut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil for frying as needed
For the tahini sauce:
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon sea or pink Himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For garnish (optional):
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- lemon wedges
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a thin-bladed knife. Place them on a lined roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour, shaking the pan once or twice, until tender.
- While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make the tahini sauce: use a food processor to grind the sesame seeds into a crumbly, mealy texture (this should take around 3 minutes). Add the garlic, salt, and cumin and mix again. Slowly add the olive oil, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary. The mixture will be very thick. Add the lemon juice, followed by the water, and process until you reach a creamy consistency. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and add more water if you’d like a thinner sauce.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrots, garlic, ground cumin, coriander, fenugreek, ginger, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
- When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, mash them with a fork and add them to the carrot mixture along with the onions, chickpea flour, and lemon juice. Mix until well combined (the mixture will be thick and sticky).
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the oil in a large, deep non-stick saucepan over medium heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoons of the fritter batter into the pan, being careful not to overcrowd. Cook for 3-4 minutes total, until golden brown. As the fritters finish cooking, place them on a paper towel covered dish in the warm oven.
- Serve with tahini sauce and garnish with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges if desired.
Additional Cooking Notes
- If you don’t have time to make tahini sauce, you can also serve these sweet potato fritters with yogurt sauce. Simply add a little salt, pepper, and lemon juice to plain yogurt and you’re good to go.
- Sweet potato fritters are also delicious with poached eggs, or paired with other vegetables and wrapped in kale, collard, romaine leaves, or a pita, and drizzled with tahini or yogurt sauce.
Photos by Shiraz Leyva