Six Delicious, Vegan-Friendly Recipes Showcasing Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato curry in a bowl with white rice
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Sweet potatoes rank near the top of the list of many vegans' favorite food items. They are delicious, with a natural sweetness that perfectly complements more savory flavors, and they're filling and highly nutritious, packed with fiber, beta-carotene and vitamins A, B and C. When cooked, they also offer a delightfully rich and creamy texture that can be otherwise elusive in any dairy-free diet. These six vegan recipes starring sweet potatoes show the humble root vegetable's delicious diversity, proving it a vegan powerhouse for breakfast, lunch, dinner—and even dessert.

1. Sweet Potato Bean Burgers

Use cooked, mashed sweet potatoes and cooked, mashed beans (any kind you like, from a can or cooked from scratch) as a base for vegan burgers. Oats are a good, vegan-friendly binder for holding the burgers together. The basic recipe's versatility allows for any other vegetables and seasonings you desire and adjusting for taste and texture as you go. Try an Italian version with white beans, sun-dried tomatoes and olives, or Indian-spiced burgers with chickpeas, cooked cauliflower and curry powder. How about Mexican-influenced burgers with black beans, jalapenos and corn? Fry or bake the burgers, and serve them in a vegan bun or with a salad.

2. Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl

Buddha bowls might be trendy, but it's for good reason, especially if you're vegan. The concept is simple: Arrange servings of multihued cooked and raw plant-based foods in a big bowl; drizzle over a flavorful vegan-friendly sauce, and admire the dish's beauty as much as you appreciate its nutritional balance and complex flavors. Roasting the vegetables with herbs and spices is a great way to incorporate different flavor profiles. With roasted sweet potato cubes as the starch component, complementary additions include protein-rich roasted chickpeas, diced avocado, raw or sauteed baby spinach, raw red onion for some bite, and a drizzle of tahini dressing.

3. Sweet Potato Curry

Use premade curry paste and a can each of coconut milk and chopped tomatoes as the sauce for a vegetable-packed curry with plenty of sweet potato, and you have a satisfying vegan dish with a minimum of fuss. You can choose from a wide variety of curry pastes sold at the grocery store, making the recipe adaptable to different cuisines. Vary the curry by adding innumerable different combinations of vegetables, beans and pulses, along with cubed sweet potato. Try a Thai red curry with snap peas, a fiery vindaloo with cauliflower and peas, or Malaysian laksa with eggplant and rice noodles.

4. Sweet Potato Pancakes (or Waffles)

Bring sweet potatoes to the vegan breakfast table by transforming them into pancakes or waffles. A drizzle of maple syrup is all they need, but fresh berries or a compote are also delightful on top. Start with 1 cup of sweet potato puree, canned or homemade, in a large bowl. Stir in 2 cups oat flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 flax eggs, 1 1/2 cups almond milk and a pinch of salt. Optionally, flavor the batter with vanilla extract, citrus zest or pumpkin pie spice. Cook the pancakes or waffles with a little coconut oil or vegetable oil, in the same manner as regular versions.

5. Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Regular gnocchi are dumplings made from only three ingredients: mashed potato, flour and egg. Vegan sweet potato dumplings are even more simple, calling only for mashed sweet potato, flour and a pinch of salt. Combine approximately 2 cups flour for every 3 cups of mashed sweet potato, using your hands to form a soft dough. Roll balls of dough into long, thin sausages, and then cut the sausages into bite-sized dumplings. Press each dumpling with a fork to create sauce-grabbing grooves. Boil the gnocchi for 5 to 7 minutes, and serve them with a vegan-friendly sauce.

6. Sweet Potato Pie

A vegan version of a traditional sweet potato pie filling and vegan version of the pie crust come together to create a delicious dessert. For the filling, combine canned or home-cooked sweet potato puree with melted coconut oil, nut milk, rolled oats, ground flax, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. If you want more sweetness, add some maple syrup. Substitute purple sweet potatoes for a dramatically bright pie filling. Vegan pie crust options abound, but the simplest use just all-purpose flour, vegetable oil and water to form a shortcrust pastry. Bake the sweet potato pie in the oven as you would any nonvegan version.