When I walked into the barn at Stick and Stone Farm last Wednesday eve, the mood was beyond cheerful. It was downright merry, and it seeped into my bones. I swear it was on account of the sweet potato greens. The farmers and farmhands were giggling and chattering like squirrels praising the Indian Summer, blessed with one more day to collect acorns for winter storage.
Sara, the superwoman who organizes the weekly farm-share (community supported agriculture), asked me “so what will you do with the sweet potato greens this week?” I racked my brain…
“Sweet potato greens? You mean, the leaves that grow on top of the sweet potatoes?” Farmer Lucy chuckled and confirmed with a big grin and a proud “yes!”
I snatched a spade-shaped leaf from the box and shoveled it into my mouth. My palate reeled with a surprise: this was a wholly new and unexpected flavor! A new ingredient entirely. I had never tasted anything like it before.
What Do Sweet Potato Leaves Taste Like?
Sweet potato greens are crisp and fresh, but snappier than spinach. They have a punch that’s floral beyond belief and reminds me of the taste I sometimes catch in my mouth when I walk by an overly perfumed body. Except this wasn’t distasteful at all. I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen!
Sweet Potato Leaves Health Benefits
Sweet potato leaves and stems are full to the brim with micronutrients! Here are just a few of them:
- Antioxidants: protects your cells and keeps them healthy
- Vitamin A: great for immune system support
- Vitamin C: supports skin, vein, and bone health
- Riboflavin: helps the body breakdown and absorb nutrients
- Fiber: excellent for digestion!
- Calcium: important for strong healthy bones
- Magnesium: supports muscle and nerve function
- Iron: helps out body story and use oxygen
How to Cook Sweet Potato Leaves
When cooking sweet potato greens, they resemble spinach more brightly, with crunchier and more substantial stems.
- Raw: Add them to your salads with a sweet dressing to balance out their bitterness.
- Sautéed: When in doubt, simply sautée with butter, garlic, and a little salt. You can’t go wrong!
- Boiled: Add them to a soup for pops of green color and added nutrients.
Recipe Ideas for Sweet Potato Leaves
Treat sweet potato leaves just like you would spinach. They’re insanely versatile for everyday cooking. Here are a few ideas:Print
Maple-Sauteed Sweet Potato Greens
This simple recipe is a must-try for the sweet-potato-green-newbie, like me! There are few quick meals more satisfying to me than popping a runny yolk over a bowl of heaping greens. Consider topping yours with a poached egg, or sunny side up!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 large bunch sweet potato greens
- 1/4 cup water
- 1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and sauté just until the edges begin to brown.
- Add the greens and cover the pan with a lid. Steam until the leaves start to wilt, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the maple syrup, red wine vinegar, and salt. Cover again.
- When the greens are completely wilted, like spinach, remove them from the heat.
- Serve warm, or cold the next day for a refreshing salad.
- Serving Size: 6-8