Sweet Potato and Pistachio Cakes

Serves 4 (makes 12 little cakes).

Note: These little gems are crunchy and nutty on the outside and sweet and creamy inside. Serve with a green salad. To make ahead: The cooked sweet potatoes and the sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. The assembled and coated cakes can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before frying, or frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost and let come to room temperature before frying. Adapted from "Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen," by Kathy Patalsky.

For the cakes

2 medium sweet potatoes (11/2 lb. total), peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes (about 5 c.)

• 1/4 c. raw, hulled pumpkin seeds

• 1/4 c. raw, shelled pistachios

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more as needed

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

• 1 to 2 tbsp. virgin coconut oil

For the sauce

• 2 tbsp. tahini

• 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. maple syrup (preferably grade B)

• Pinch fine sea salt

• Pinch freshly ground black pepper


For the cakes: Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a wide, deep skillet. Fill it with enough water to barely cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, so the water is gently bubbling all over. Cook, uncovered, until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender but not falling apart, 10 to 12 minutes.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, combine the pumpkin seeds and pistachios in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Pour into a wide bowl.

For the sauce: Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, and pinches of salt and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.

Once the potatoes are tender, drain and return them to the skillet. Stir in the salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until they dry out and start to brown very lightly on the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer them to a large bowl, let cool for a few minutes, then lightly mash about half of them with a fork, and stir to combine. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Use your hands to scoop up 12 equal portions (about 3 tablespoons each) of the sweet potatoes and gently press them into small, round, plump cakes. Heavily coat them in the nut mixture, lightly pressing the coating into the cakes; try not to handle them too much because they are still soft, and you don't want to smash them.

Set a paper-towel-lined plate next to the stove.

Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add enough of the cakes to fill the skillet without overcrowding. Working in batches as needed, pan-fry the cakes just until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Add some or all the remaining coconut oil between batches if the pan becomes dry.

Once they're browned, use a spatula to transfer the cakes to the paper-towel-lined plate. Serve warm, with the tahini-maple sauce spooned on top or alongside.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 320 Fat 15 g Sodium 430 mg

Carbohydrates 42 g Saturated fat 5 g Protein 8 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 7 g