I have to credit my coworker for this recipe idea. She came by my office (more like an over-sized cubicle) the other day and mentioned that she’d mashed together sweet potatoes and black beans, rolled them into balls and baked them for dinner the night before. I’m a big fan of bite-sized balls. Whoa- that sounds bad, but I loved the idea of black beans and sweet potatoes mashed together in crispy bites and decided to try making my own vegan version.
It took a bit of experimentation to get the consistency right- and I think there are probably a variety of ways you could make these. Here’s how I did it.
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 sweet potatoes (cooked)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cinnamon
salt (to taste)
2 cups panko crumbs (or whatever breadcrumbs you like)
1/4 cup flour (optional)
vegetable oil (for frying)
Scoop the insides out of two well-cooked sweet potatoes. You could cook these by roasting them in the oven, but it’s much easier and quicker to zap them in the microwave.
Blend the sweet potato and black beans together. You could mash them with a potato masher (or fork), or blend in a food processor. I blended mine, but I think I’ll try mashing them together next time for a bit more texture. Leaving some of the beans whole adds to the texture as well. Also, the sugars in the sweet potato release when blended which makes it a bit sticky to work with.
Add the spices and a bit of flour (if needed) to the mix to make it easier to work with (a bit like working with dough).
Form the mixture into bite-sized balls and roll it into the panko crumbs.
Heat your oil in a skillet, about a 1/4 inch in the bottom and drop the balls in when the oil is nice and hot.
Fry them until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the hot oil and place on a paper towel to drain.
You could eat these plain or with a dipping sauce of sour cream (vegan or non-vegan) mixed with a bit of lemon juice, which contrasts nicely with the spiciness of the balls.
Dip and crunch!
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