If you like spinach, then you will love this sweet potato leaves recipe! Similar in taste and texture to spinach these green leaves provide a nutrient rich power punch in every bite. Sautéed sweet potato leaves are the perfect side dish for your next home cooked meal!
Why eat a sweet potato leaves side dish?
Sweet Potato leaves contain many important daily vitamins and nutrients to increase and maintain your health! Incorporating sweet potato leaves in your diet as a side dish is easy and delicious. As research continues, the importance of the sweet potato leaves for human health benefits grows, so start adding this superfood to your diet today!
A bit of history
The sweet potato has been an important crop to many cultures for hundreds of years. Today the sweet potato is eaten around the world, but consumption of the leaves is mainly seen in Asia and Africa with China being one of the main producers.
With the growing evidence that these leaves contain an excellent source of B vitamins, help to boost the immune system, and may help prevent cancer, then it is obvious that this veggie should be on dinner plates across the world.
Tips for maximum health benefits:
Harvesting: After about 45 days from planting, you can start to harvest leaves to eat. Look for dark green leaves to pick as they contain the most nutrients. Do not over harvest leaves as that can stress the plant and result in small root growth. Pick leaves about once or twice a month until it is time to harvest the roots. The leaves closer to harvest time are richer in fiber.
Storing: Sweet potato leaves are best to be eaten soon after harvesting. If you have more leaves than you can cook, store them in a plastic bag with vent holes and keep them in your crisper draw in the refrigerator. Make sure to eat them within a couple days, as they start to turn quickly.
Cooking & Preserving: Different cooking methods can effect the leaves nutrients as can different preserving techniques. From the research, it recommends steaming as the best method to retain the most health benefits from the leaves. Drying is the best method for preserving the leaves nutrients, but freeze drying is also another alternative.
Mise en place
Ingredients & recipe prep
- Ingredients: Sweet potato leaves, olive oil, sliced mushrooms, diced onions, shredded parmesan, pine nuts, clove of garlic, salt & pepper.
- Rinse: Take sweet potato leaves and gently rinse them using a colander. Try to use as little water as possible, so nutrients are not washed away. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Chop: Cut off the stems of the sweet potato leaves and dice them. Chop leaves into smaller pieces. Keep leaves in the crisper drawer until ready to use.
- Heat: As with any cast iron piece, warm up the skillet before using. Heat pan on medium heat for a few minutes. If you see smoke rising from the skillet, your heat is too high or it has been warming up for too long.
How to make a sweet potato leaves side dish
Sauté: Once the skillet is warm, add olive oil to the pan and coat evenly. Next, add onions and the cut stems to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat or until they are tender.
Add: Now take the garlic press and mince the garlic cloves. Then add the garlic with mushrooms to the pan. Let cook for about 2 to 5 minutes.
Steam: Add sweet potato leaves one cupful at a time to the skillet. Stir them into the mixture with each cupful to combine and coat the leaves. Put cover over skillet and steam until the leaves have wilted.
Flavor: Finally, remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the pine nuts and then top the sautéed sweet potato leaves with shredded parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!
If you have extra young or small leaves left, you can add them to smoothies! Use a cupful in your shake and you’ll be surprised that you can barely taste them, if at all! They make a great team with kale and spinach in a protein shake too!
Sautéed sweet potato leaves: tips & substitutions
Pair: Sautéed sweet potato leaves pair well with many proteins. They make a great side dish for grilled steak, roasted chicken, or baked salmon.
Substitutions: There are lots of ingredients you could choose to change up this quick side dish. How about adding cooked sweet potato chunks instead of mushrooms to the pan. Once you put the sweet potato leaves in, squeeze lemon juice over the them to help retain more vitamins and nutrients while they are cooking. Yum!
Sweet potato leaves: FAQ’s
The taste of a sweet potato leaf is mild which makes it quite a palatable veggie, even for those picky eaters! When sautéed the taste and texture is quite like spinach. Young leaves taste great in salads or eaten raw, as they are more tender.
If you are unable to eat the leaves right away, the best way to preserve the leaves and maintain the most nutrients is by drying. Use either a dehydrator, an oven, or the sun to dry leaves and keep in an airtight container to extend their shelf life. Leaves can be reconstituted and enjoyed in soups or stews.
When the sweet potato growing season is over in your area, leaves can be found in local or brand name Asian markets. Fresh leaves are sold year round at H Mart. Perhaps, you will be seeing them soon at your local Farmer’s Market!
More sweet potato posts
One Last Tip: Larger flakes of parmesan for this side dish are so much fun! If you don’t shred your own, you can find this type of parmesan already shredded in the artisan cheese aisle at your local grocery store.
Quick sautéed sweet potato leaves recipe
- 4 cups sweet potato leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup diced onions
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves
- Salt & pepper
1. Rinse sweet potato leaves in a small amount of water and pat dry.
2. Cut stems off of leaves; dice and set aside. Rough cut leaves.
3. Sauté diced onions and stems in olive oil over medium heat.
4. Once onions/stems are tender, add minced garlic and sliced mushrooms. Cook 2 minutes.
5. Add sweet potato leaves to pan and cover. Steam about 2 minutes or until they begin to wilt.
6. Add pine nuts, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Remove from heat.
7. Serve with shredded parmesan on top.
Depending on your personal preference, you could add as much pine nuts and parmesan as you like. Serves 2