Sweet Potato Cakes with Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce


Do you ever flip through a cookbook and a recipe catches your eye but you wonder how to turn what looks like an appetizer into a full hearty meal for your family?

Fritters and patties are such a great way to get veggies incorporated into your family’s diet with little effort and a whole lot of fun. These sweet potato cakes are in rotation in our house as an easy, flavorful weeknight meal. The original recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Yotam Ottolenghi from his book, Plenty.

I’ve mixed in cilantro and plenty of cumin to add flavor. Instead of all purpose flour, I’ve made this successfully before with both rice and spelt flours. These flours impart a nice nutty flavor and are good for you too.

The preserved lemon sauce adds some zing as a drizzle on top. Lemons are so flavorful and abundant right now. My favorite variety are Meyer lemons which grow like wildflowers here in Berkeley. They taste both sweet and tangy. If you can find them at your local market, give them a try.

Better yet, if you’ve grown a bounty, preserve them so you can enjoy all year round. Preserving lemons are easy and they are so wonderful to have on hand. I use them quite a bit in my recipes. They taste great in salads, dressings, and sauces. I’m using up the last of my preserved lemons, hoping to make a new batch soon with my preserved meyer lemon recipe.

If you don’t have lemons to preserve or buy, don’t sweat it. Simply add lemon juice plus a little zest to the sauce. It will taste just as fabulous. You can also use the sauce as a veggie dip or substitute thicker greek yogurt to serve on a crudite platter. I sometimes add fresh herbs such as mint or a small garlic clove for an extra punch of flavor.

This whole meal will come together in an hour (or less if you are speedy). If your family insists on protein, serve sausages on the side balanced with some greens and crusty bread. Add a poached egg on top to keep it vegetarian. There are “plenty” of options! Enjoy 💚

Version 2

Sweet potato cakes with preserved lemon yogurt sauce

Adapted from: Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty

Serving: 4

Free from: tree nuts, peanut, sesame, egg, dairy, gluten (* see below for options)

For the cakes: 

  • 2 1/4 lbs peeled sweet potatoes or yams, cut into large chunks( about 3 med sweet potatoes). *see notes below 
  • 2 tsp soy sauce or tamari (*gluten free)
  • scant 3/4 cup spelt or rice flour (*gluten free option)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 small garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • avocado oil, for frying- about 2-3 tablespoons

For the preserved lemon-yogurt sauce: 

  • 3/4 c full fat yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 preserved lemon(pulp removed, skin rinsed & pat dried)- finely diced plus a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice or 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus 1 tsp grated zest or to taste
  • salt and pepper

Using an insert, steam the sweet potatoes in a medium/ large pot covered,  until completely soft, about 15-20 minutes.  Drain and let cool.

To make the sauce: Whisk together all the ingredients until smooth: set aside.

Once the sweet potatoes have cooled, set into a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except the avocado oil. Mix everything together by hand until the mix is smooth and even. Do not over mix.

The mixture should stick together. If it’s too runny, add more flour.  Using a small ice cream scoop, portion out single cakes onto a cookie sheet. Flatten down with your hand or the back of a spoon to create a disc. Make sure all discs are similar in thickness.

Warm a non-stick pan on med-high heat( you can use cast-iron if it is well seasoned). Add 1-2 tablespoons of avocado oil.  Using a spatula, transfer the discs from the cookie sheet to pan. Fry the cakes for about 6 minutes on each side or until you get a nice brown crust, adding more oil if needed. Place cakes on another large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to soak up excess oil.

Serve hot or warm on a bed of greens or sprouts with yogurt sauce drizzled on top or on the side.

*Notes: I use yams for this recipe which have a dark orange, sweeter flesh. Sweet potatoes and yams are sometimes referred to as the same vegetable.

6 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Cakes with Preserved Lemon Yogurt Sauce

  1. I adore sweet potatoes (especially Garnet yams), but tend to prepare them the same way all the time. Thank you for this fresh & tasty inspiration Shahla! Plus, I can use my Meyer lemons in this too. Win-win 😉

  2. i’m always looking for new ways of using preserved lemon! This is such a nice and simple sauce idea that i’ll definitely try and drizzle on EVERYTHING.

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