Did you know that you can eat sweet potato leaves? Not only are sweet potato leaves perfectly edible cooked, but they’re also safe to eat raw. Unlike regular potato leaves, sweet potato leaves are non-toxic because they do not contain poisonous glycoalkaloids such as solanine. Not just that, but sweet potato leaves are nutritious, with a nutrition value comparable to that of leafy greens such as spinach and kale.
What are sweet potato leaves?
As indicated by their name, sweet potato leaves are the leaves of sweet potato plants of the species Ipomoea batatas. They are also called sweet potato greens. In a culinary context, sweet potato leaves are classified as leaf vegetables like spinach, kale, chard, beet greens, turnip tops, mustard greens and pumpkin leaves. Sweet potato leaves nutritional value is similar to the nutrition of other commonly eaten leafy greens.
Are sweet potato greens toxic?
You can eat sweet potato greens, leaves and vine, safely, raw and cooked. While both the leaves and the vine are edible, only the leaves are commonly eaten. Sweet potato greens are not poisonous because, unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes do no produce toxic alkaloids (such as solanine in potatoes, potato skin and especially potato leaves, flowers and vine). While both regular potatoes and sweet potatoes belong to the same order, Solanales, they are a different genus and species – sweet potatoes are Ipomea batatas, while regular potatoes are Solanum tuberosum.
Sweet potato leaves recipe ideas
Sweet potato leaves salad
The simplest way to eat greens is to incorporate them into a salad. The same is true for sweet potato leaves. You can make a savory Mediterranean style salad from a handful of fresh sweet potato leaves, 250 grams of red cherry tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 100-150 grams of Feta cheese, one small onion, 100 grams of black olives or Kalamata olives, seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh extravirgin olive oil.
You can also make a warm grilled chicken breast salad with a handful of chopped sweet potato leaves, 100 grams of Gorgonzola cheese or Parmesan shavings, one small red onion, a handful of croutons, 200 grams of yellow cherry tomatoes, and a dressing of your choice. You can add walnut halves, almond flakes, pine nuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
You can also make a more unique salad using 100 grams of young sweet potato leaves, 150 grams of small fresh mozzarella balls (cherry bocconcini or mozzarella ovolini), orange segments from 2 medium sweet oranges, 50 grams of Valerian salad, and season with red Himalayan salt and 2 tablespoons of extravirgin olive oil.
Sweet potato leaves side dish
You can cook sweet potato leaves and use them as a greens side dish for any type of main course, whether it’s vegetables, meat or dairy-based. You can boil, steam or stir-fry sweet potato leaves and season to your liking. A personal favorite of mine is oven-roasted potatoes, topped with a small cube of butter, with a side dish of simmered down greens such as spinach or sweet potato leaves, and cheese shavings.
Sweet potato leaves lasagna
If you’ve ever made spinach lasagna, then sweet potato leaves lasagna is just a matter of substituting one ingredient. To prepare the greens for lasagna, just chop and fry one small onion in 1-2 tablespoons of oil, then add the chopped sweet potato leaves, or other greens, cook until soft and season plainly with salt and pepper. Prepare the bechamel sauce using butter, flour and milk, then assemble the lasagna.
I like to add a layer of bechamel sauce on the bottom of the dish, then a layer of cooked greens, a lasagna sheet and repeat. I finish off with a layer of greens topped with bechamel sauce and grated cheese. You can also add ricotta or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in between the layers for extra flavor.
Sweet potato leaves gnocchi
You can make a delicious sweet potato leaves gnocchi recipe easily. Boil a cup of sweet potato leaves and puree when done. Combine 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 large egg, 1 to 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes and the cooked and pureed sweet potato greens. Knead the dough until homogenous, then shape and cut into half an inch gnocchi. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi for up to 5 minutes, or until they rise to the top. Pair with a sauce of your choice, shredded tuna heated in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, or cooking cream.
Sweet potato leaves in soup
You can uses sweet potato leaves, or any other greens, in soup. For instance, peasant been soup. Chop an fry one large onion in 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until golden, then add 1 large grated carrot and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. Add 400 g of pre-soaked beans (soaked overnight or for 24 hours), or 2 cans of pre-cooked and drained cannellini beans and boil accordingly. 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add 150 g of chopped sweet potato leaves. Top with finely chopped fresh parsley or dill and season plainly with salt and pepper.
Other uses for sweet potato leaves
You can use sweet potato leaves to make tea, a savory stuffing for pastry or pies, or a leafy greens and crushed garlic mash such as spinach mash or nettle mash, which you can pair with polenta. You can incorporate sweet potato greens into soups, chili, savory pound cake recipes, omelet or risotto, or make a pesto-like sauce for pasta, gnocchi, tortellini or ravioli. Or use sweet potato leaves as a pizza topping (another great topping for chicken pizza is patience dock). Young leaves can be incorporated into smoothies the same way as kale, and are great paired with apple, banana and raw honey.
This post was updated on Tuesday / February 2nd, 2021 at 1:51 AM